[ilds] Mr. esposito

james Esposito giacomoesposito72 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 24 16:19:35 PDT 2016


Not in the Quartet he didn't. James Esposito

On Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 1:05 AM, Denise Tart & David Green <
dtart at bigpond.net.au> wrote:

> James,
>
> Keats died of tuberculosis at the age of 25.
>
> Yes, it is easy to read too much into things. A writers subconscious is a
> remote galaxy hard to explore. However, we do know a lot about Durrell's
> reading matter and his literary and spiritual influences. Nonetheless,
>  your words remind me of a poem:
>
> "To think about poetry
> While writing poetry
> Can lead to bad writing.
> Being immersed in washing up
> Is enough.
> Thinking may not add
> But subtract;
> Like taking one's consciousness
> Too seriously."
>
> Teaching English Lit for enjoyment rather than critical analysis or
> endless deconstruction, now there's a new thing. I have often wondered if
> Shakespeare would appear so brilliant had he not been subjected to 400
> years of critical analysis by thousands of people?
>
> But James I am sure glad I am not a practising academic; they sure cop it
> on this list-serve. I am surprise professor James Gifford has not abjured
> the world and gone into the shadows.
>
> David
>
>
> Sent from my iPad
>
> On 25 Mar 2016, at 9:32 AM, james Esposito <giacomoesposito72 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> I perhaps did not make myself clear on the subject of Durrell's
> relationship to the modernists. Of course he was well aware of the Eliots,
> Huxleys, etc, but what I meant was that we should not necessarily assume
> 'the anxiety of influence' - the fact that there are echoes of Eliot etc in
> Durrell's work does not allow us to infer that he deliberately set out to
> imitate them or to make obvious references to them - merely that, as a
> (still) apprentice writer in the first 2 novels he was setting out his own
> stall, not theirs.
> And as for Keats, if I remember correctly, he got killed.
> As for the mud bricks, I think it's completely far-fetched to read
> political persuasions into the fact that Durrell referred to a basic
> building material. They were just mud-bricks, not political slogans.
> I think there is far too much time and effort spent on trying to analyse
> what Durrell may or may not have ingested into his writer's subconscious.
> It may be an amusing pastime for academics, but they should be teaching
> their students how to enjoy texts and not how to tear them apart. It isn't
> 'hunting of the snark' territory.
> James Esposito
>
>
> On Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 12:14 AM, Ric Wilson <Ric.Wilson at msn.com> wrote:
>
>> Cheers to your perspective! That was a surprise and well received.
>>
>> Ric Wilson
>>
>> ________________________________________
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>> Today's Topics:
>>
>>    1. Re: Wordspinners (james Esposito)
>>    2. Re: Wordspinners (James Gifford)
>>    3. Re: Wordspinners (Bruce Redwine)
>>    4. Re: Wordspinners (Kennedy Gammage)
>>
>>
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> Message: 1
>> Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2016 12:06:45 +0200
>> From: james Esposito <giacomoesposito72 at gmail.com>
>> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>> Subject: Re: [ilds] Wordspinners
>> Message-ID:
>>         <CAFcAaFdZUhWx0_oSertAyjKsiafWRVne=
>> worc8PFbe2NbU4aAg at mail.gmail.com>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>>
>> I do not have access to "Deus Loci" - I first became aware of Durrell's
>> "Minor Mythologies" in Pine's book "Lawrence Durrell: the Mindscape" where
>> he says:
>>
>>
>> A further characteristic of Durrell?s understanding of the nineteenth
>> century was his refusal to build his house exclusively on the plane of
>> ?high? literature, and his insistence instead on pursuing it through major
>> and minor modes. Thus his own adventure novel *White Eagles over Serbia*,
>> written in the Buchanesque style of so much of his early reading, combines
>> elements of the detective story and the grail quest. (In the *Quartet*
>> Darley criticises the writing of the much-envied Pursewarden: ?what is
>> missing in his work - but this is a criticism of all works which do not
>> reach the front rank - is a sense of play? - *Quartet* 670.) It is a genre
>> he much admired, for example relishing the Quixote-Panza relationship of
>> Wodehouse?s Wooster and Jeeves (we have already seen him imagining himself
>> as a new Wodehouse). He saw Wooster in descent from ?the great Knights of
>> the Romance pattern?, saying ?he is a knight in the sense that he is a
>> gentleman absolute. He can do no evil. It is the terrific responsibility
>> of
>> wasting time amusingly that exhausts him so? <#_ftn1>? a remarkable
>> insight
>> into the preoccupations of the one-time dandy faced with all the burdens
>> of
>> decadence. (In the same frame of mind he might have held the image of
>> Scobie as ?Popeye the Sailor Man? and Nessim as the ?chevalier sans
>> peur? ? *Quartet
>> *549.) In the same essay, ?The Minor Mythologies?, Durrell made the case
>> for considering the characters of minor fiction in the same critical
>> bracket:
>>
>>
>>
>> The myth-making faculty is busy at many different levels; a critic
>> interested in the creative process may find more food for thought in a
>> Stephen Daedelus [*sic*] than in a Jeeves.Yet he should be prepared to
>> acknowledge them both as part of the broad flood of a nation?s literature
>> flowing out towards the future, to the sea. Many readers might think it a
>> waste of time but how delightful a book on the minor mythologies of the
>> age
>> could be made if one could persuade a serious critic to consider its
>> figures... Holmes, Jeeves, Dr Fu Manchu, Captain Blood, Bulldog Drummond,
>> Raffles, Bones, Captain Nemo, Frankenstein, Dracula. <#_ftn2>
>>
>>
>>
>> Durrell himself displayed this ability to give due attention to major and
>> minor, firstly in the creation of his own ?minor? canon in works like
>> *White
>> Eagles* (which he regarded as ?makeweights?) or in some of the apparently
>> inconsequential characters of the island books. Secondly, in his ?major?
>> works, Durrell, like Kipling, brought the great and the insignificant into
>> close and urgent contact (he called the *Quartet *?such a strange mixture
>> of sex and the secret service!? *SP* 120), so much so as to make us
>> enquire
>> at what point a character gains or loses cardinal significance: for
>> example, the nameless loader who appears and disappears within one
>> paragraph of the *Quartet* after the supposed death of Capodistria
>> (*Quartet
>> *76- 7), or Krov, the ?slave-prisoner? of General von Esslin (*Quintet*
>> 877-83), take on a vital role illustrative of some mythological level far
>> out of proportion to their social or narrative function, precisely because
>> that function is not part of the cultural values Durrell shared with the
>> nineteenth century. Durrell employed this kind of simplicity as a means of
>> communication ? one he particularly valued in the ?minor mythologies? ?
>> because it made the reader an accomplice at the deepest level of
>> story-telling at which the primitive, as opposed to the sophisticated,
>> method of narrative is revealed as the more effective bonding mechanism of
>> society: <#_ftn3> think of Pater?s Marius: ?his life had been so like the
>> reading of a romance to him?, <#_ftn4>or, as Groddeck put it in *The Book
>> of the It*, ?read [my letters] as though they were travel books or
>> detective stories?. <#_ftn5> It was thus possible to engage not only in
>> narration but also in analysis without the reader becoming aware of the
>> ulterior project.
>>
>> Writing of Wells?s *The Time Machine* and Rider Haggard?s *She* which,
>> Durrell said, embodied for the Victorians ?the great popular myths of the
>> age?, he made a case (in the latter instance by tracing that myth through
>> the Prester John legends to de Mandeville) for these and other ?great
>> folk-metaphors? (Frankenstein, Dracula and Jekyll/Hyde), that ?their
>> literary ancestry stretches far back into the age of the magicians and
>> miracles?. <#_ftn6> This resort to the *merveilleux* and the miraculous is
>> one of the trademarks of the baroque novelist, and was an integral part
>> not
>> only of Durrell?s technique but also of his faith in the novel. He made a
>> critical connection between gothic narrative and the myths of magic,
>> showing us that the modern juxtaposition and interaction of science and
>> art
>> is merely another form of an all-embracing philosophy told, like so much
>> of
>> Buddhism, through the visions and spectacles of everyday life. Quotidian
>> activity, rather than the characters who enact it, has its own characters.
>>
>>
>>
>> Thus it is easier to spell out the ?miracle?, the successful d?nouement,
>> if
>> it is already anticipated as part of the reader?s act of faith within the
>> act of reading <#_ftn7> It would only be with the *c?sura* after the
>> *Quartet* that this faith hit the rocks of Durrell?s despair. To the genre
>> of adventure in *Kim* we can add Durrell?s childhood introduction to the
>> works of Dickens and, on the evidence of *Pied Piper of Lovers*, Henty,
>> Ballantyne and Dumas (*PPL* 124, 192). Durrell?s library contained several
>> examples of Buchan?s work, together with volumes of Baroness Orczy and
>> Anthony Hope <#_ftn8> and he often referred to Wodehouse as an important
>> example of subversive humour ? a technique he put to use not only in the
>> ?Antrobus? pictures from diplomatic life but also in the structure and
>> texture of *The Revolt* (indeed, as I shall demonstrate in Part 4, there
>> is
>> an organic connection between the two types of writing).
>>
>> Milan Kundera makes the point that a novel requires four special
>> ?appeals?:
>> those of ?play?, ?dream?, ?thought? and ?time?, <#_ftn9> and it is
>> important to note that it is the combination of seriousness of intent with
>> lightness of touch which gives Durrell?s fiction its onward drive: while
>> he
>> is capable of arresting our attention with some lapidary insight into the
>> human condition, the dynamic in the reader?s mind is the question ?what
>> happens next??. The book must be a place of intellectual excitement which
>> is leavened by the idea of life-as-a-game.
>>
>> -------------------------------------
>>
>> Apologies for such a long quote but some on this list may not have Pine's
>> book, which I understand is hard to find in the second edition.
>>
>> I would only add to that that I don't agree with Professor Gifford about
>> Durrell writing "Panic Spring" "to emulate the formal effects of the high
>> modernists". In my opinion, he wrote it (with a pseudonym) as an attempt
>> to
>> make a Greek-island novel using the tools available to him, which did not
>> include any deep understanding of the modernists, high or low.
>>
>> Maybe I'm ill-versed, but I don't get the rhetoric about the mud bricks.
>>
>> James Esposito
>>
>> ------------------------------
>>
>>
>>
>> On Sun, Mar 20, 2016 at 8:03 AM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com
>> >
>> wrote:
>>
>> > Hello all,
>> >
>> > It's worth noting that thanks to Charles Sligh's excellent editorial
>> work,
>> > we have Durrell's thoughts on the matter in "The Minor Mythologies"
>> (Deus
>> > Loci NS 7 1999-2000). He's certainly not dismissive of "lowbrow"
>> > entertainments. Sligh notes it as a "multiform, anti-departmental
>> approach
>> > to literary production," and I think I'd go along a long way with that.
>> And
>> > after all, Old D wrote the last 3 volumes of The Quartet at top speed.
>> And
>> > for money too... Even early on he wrote to emulate the formal effects of
>> > the high modernists in Panic Spring, and under a pseudonym, which
>> certainly
>> > wasn't a good plan to make easy money fast.
>> >
>> > I'd note that the same Hope Mirrlees who gave the world the remarkable
>> and
>> > experimental "Paris: A Poem" also wrote the fantasy novel
>> Lud-In-The-Mist.
>> > I think we'd be foolish not to see a careful mind at work in both texts
>> > just as we'd be foolish to exclude the material exigencies of their
>> > production. Then again, I've written critical work on comic books...
>> >
>> > I'll stand by the mud brick in this case, even if I don't roll in the
>> muck.
>> >
>> > All best,
>> > James
>> >
>> > Ps: great to have your contribution James (Esposito)!
>> >
>> > Sent from my iPad
>> >
>> > On Mar 19, 2016, at 2:17 PM, Denise Tart & David Green <
>> > dtart at bigpond.net.au> wrote:
>> >
>> > Having written commercially myself, I think it is easy, at least for me,
>> > to write with more than one head, so to speak. Writing for magazines and
>> > journals to a deadline for pay, sometimes good pay, requires a different
>> > mind cast to producing a a good poem; that comes from another place. As
>> a
>> > writer Durrell was across multiple genres and wrote for diverse
>> audiences
>> > but I agree with Bruce that whether dashing off a potboiler, a travel
>> book
>> > or a great novel cycle, the strength and beauty of Durrell's poetry
>> comes
>> > through them all, yes even Sicilian Carousel, an underrated book in my
>> > view. As an actor can play many parts, so can a writer but something of
>> his
>> > essence flavours them all.
>> >
>> > David
>> >
>> > Sent from my iPad
>> >
>> > On 20 Mar 2016, at 6:05 AM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
>> > wrote:
>> >
>> > Excellent response.  This is the real issue--what's the relationship
>> > between Durrell as serious writer and Durrell as hack, greedy or not?  I
>> > see the two as directly related, with varying degrees of importance.  A
>> > good writer doesn't stop being a good writer simply because he or she
>> > writes to make money.  Durrell's Sicilian book and the one on the Greek
>> > islands were both written mainly to make money, and he even disparaged
>> the
>> > former as something of a potboiler.  Both books, however, have many
>> > excellent sections and are relevant to his "serious" work and to the man
>> > himself.  I would add the Antrobus stories, along with the "ephemeral"
>> > pieces, to his body of work.
>> >
>> > Also, Durrell's commentary on his own habits/objectives should be taken
>> > with heaps and heaps of salt.  D. H. Lawrence had it right, in my
>> opinion,
>> > when he said, more than less, that readers should trust the book and not
>> > the author.
>> >
>> > Bruce
>> >
>> >
>> > Sent from my iPhone
>> >
>> > On Mar 19, 2016, at 10:45 AM, james Esposito <
>> giacomoesposito72 at gmail.com>
>> > wrote:
>> >
>> > Forgive me as a newcomer, but surely Lawrence Durrell made it clear that
>> > he saw his paid work as distinct from his serious novels,poetry et
>> cetera?
>> > His boast about the writing of the 'Antrobus' stories and the use to
>> which
>> > he put the money and the comparison with P G Wodehouse and Proust
>> suggest
>> > that he really did see himself as two types of writer. I'm not saying
>> that
>> > these two writers were entirely separable, but I think Durrell was
>> > conscious of a difference in his approach to different tasks - the
>> > ephemeral newspaper and magazine assignments and the major works. And
>> > perhaps "avaricious hack" is not quite the way to describe him when he
>> sat
>> > down to quickly write a piece, maybe off the top of his head, which
>> would
>> > earn him some necessary money so that he could get back to spending
>> quality
>> > time on his 'serious' or 'real' (as he called it) work?
>> > James Esposito
>> >
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > ILDS mailing list
>> > ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
>> > https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>> >
>> >
>> -------------- next part --------------
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>>
>> ------------------------------
>>
>> Message: 2
>> Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2016 09:42:23 -0700
>> From: James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com>
>> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>> Subject: Re: [ilds] Wordspinners
>> Message-ID: <56F418EF.4040603 at gmail.com>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed
>>
>> Hi James,
>>
>> On 2016-03-24 3:06 AM, james Esposito wrote:
>> > I would only add to that that I don't agree with Professor Gifford about
>> > Durrell writing "Panic Spring" "to emulate the formal effects of the
>> > high modernists". In my opinion, he wrote it (with a pseudonym) as an
>> > attempt to make a Greek-island novel using the tools available to him,
>> > which did not include any deep understanding of the modernists, high or
>> > low.
>>
>> Please, "James" is just fine (no need for the professor bit).  Thanks
>> for your comments -- it's always good to have new voices on the listserv.
>>
>> As for the high modernists, some of it is fairly overt in the text.  He
>> even wrote in 1975 that /Panic Spring/ is "a pretty good anthology of
>> the styles of the writers I then admired, Huxley, Graves, Aldington,
>> Lawrence," although as usual I think he left the biggest names out of
>> the list...
>>
>> For instance, Noah seduces/assaults Francis in a scene very much like
>> that in the "A Game of Chess" section of T.S. Eliot's /The Waste Land/
>> or between the typist and young man in "The First Sermon" section.  Just
>> in case we don't catch what Durrell's up to, Noah asks Francis if she's
>> read /The Waste Land/ after having made sure copies of Ezra Pound and
>> Eliot are visible in the room.  It's also not really a great surprise
>> since the book was published by Faber & Faber where Eliot was an editor
>> and Durrell was in correspondence with him.
>>
>> We get kindred stream of consciousness scenes like Woolf and Joyce in
>> "The Music" chapter as well as gestures to shell shock through Marlowe.
>>   Overall, Durrell's fairly explicit about taking up stylistic and
>> thematic models from the high modernists here, and while I think he had
>> an uneasy relationship with those predecessors (for instance, in many
>> respects substituting Cavafy for Eliot in the Quartet), they're also
>> overt influences.
>>
>> Other gestures to Eliot are fairly overt, such as in the "Walsh" chapter
>> when the narrative voice tells us "They walked in the rain together,
>> among a torrent of wet dead leaves, wind tugging their hair back on
>> their scalps, rain in their mouths and the smell of dead earth" which is
>> quite close to the opening lines of /The Waste Land/ (and in the
>> preceding paragraph he stresses by repetition the "unreal" like Eliot's
>> "Unreal city" from the same).  Francis is also like an "anaesthetised
>> patient" much akin to the opening of Eliot's "Love Song of J. Alfred
>> Prufrock" and so forth.
>>
>> Perhaps I should emphasize that I don't see this as a problem -- he's
>> reacting to the most famous generation of authors immediately preceding
>> his own (and who were editing him...) while challenging and/or extending
>> parts of their project in the process of discovering his own.  I think
>> it's to be expected, and most authors of his generation did the same.
>>
>> > I don't get the
>> > rhetoric about the mud bricks.
>>
>> The mud brick figures in his "With Durrell in Egypt" piece (collected in
>> /From the Elephant's Back/) -- it's a brick from Hassan Fathy's Gourna
>> village.  I've suggested that since Durrell describes reading Fathy's
>> /Architecture for the Poor/ in the piece and gives such a prominent
>> place in the narrative to a symbol of the utopian project for peasants
>> (the mud brick is a key part of Fathy's revival of traditional
>> materials), it's not a politically neutral image.  I don't know how
>> specific we might argue the "meaning" of the brick in the narrative
>> could be, but I don't think it's neutral or random.
>>
>> Others are arguing that the brick carries no importance, which I find
>> unlikely, but to each their own.  I might even hope that it means both
>> things at the same time -- Keats, after all, appears frequently in
>> Durrell.
>>
>> All best,
>> James
>>
>>
>> ------------------------------
>>
>> Message: 3
>> Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2016 10:34:09 -0700
>> From: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
>> To: James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com>,  Sumantra Nag
>>         <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
>> Cc: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
>> Subject: Re: [ilds] Wordspinners
>> Message-ID: <B1B82D61-AE6C-4680-B4D4-04325C1432A4 at earthlink.net>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>>
>> I think Gifford sums up nicely the main issues raised by Esposito.  The
>> long quotation is from the 2nd ed. of Pine?s Mindscape (2005):  114-16.
>> Durrell?s concern about ?minor mythologies? and literature as ?play? is
>> nothing new.  Way back in the Middle Ages the function of literature was
>> described as ?to delight and instruct,? and even that exhortation probably
>> goes further back to the Romans, at least.  We?re probably talking about
>> the context of Durrell?s remark and how he thought literature had become
>> too highbrow.  There?s nothing wrong with telling a good story and all that
>> that involves?at which Durrell could excel when in good form.  On the other
>> hand, he was probably ahead of his time when he talks about giving equal
>> weight to the popular literature of the time.  My sense is that academics
>> are currently mining that very topic, if in somewhat abstruse fashion, that
>> is, buttressed by a lot of Continental ?theory.?
>>
>> Bruce
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> > On Mar 24, 2016, at 9:42 AM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> >
>> > Hi James,
>> >
>> > On 2016-03-24 3:06 AM, james Esposito wrote:
>> >> I would only add to that that I don't agree with Professor Gifford
>> about
>> >> Durrell writing "Panic Spring" "to emulate the formal effects of the
>> >> high modernists". In my opinion, he wrote it (with a pseudonym) as an
>> >> attempt to make a Greek-island novel using the tools available to him,
>> >> which did not include any deep understanding of the modernists, high or
>> >> low.
>> >
>> > Please, "James" is just fine (no need for the professor bit).  Thanks
>> for your comments -- it's always good to have new voices on the listserv.
>> >
>> > As for the high modernists, some of it is fairly overt in the text.  He
>> even wrote in 1975 that /Panic Spring/ is "a pretty good anthology of the
>> styles of the writers I then admired, Huxley, Graves, Aldington, Lawrence,"
>> although as usual I think he left the biggest names out of the list...
>> >
>> > For instance, Noah seduces/assaults Francis in a scene very much like
>> that in the "A Game of Chess" section of T.S. Eliot's /The Waste Land/ or
>> between the typist and young man in "The First Sermon" section.  Just in
>> case we don't catch what Durrell's up to, Noah asks Francis if she's read
>> /The Waste Land/ after having made sure copies of Ezra Pound and Eliot are
>> visible in the room.  It's also not really a great surprise since the book
>> was published by Faber & Faber where Eliot was an editor and Durrell was in
>> correspondence with him.
>> >
>> > We get kindred stream of consciousness scenes like Woolf and Joyce in
>> "The Music" chapter as well as gestures to shell shock through Marlowe.
>> Overall, Durrell's fairly explicit about taking up stylistic and thematic
>> models from the high modernists here, and while I think he had an uneasy
>> relationship with those predecessors (for instance, in many respects
>> substituting Cavafy for Eliot in the Quartet), they're also overt
>> influences.
>> >
>> > Other gestures to Eliot are fairly overt, such as in the "Walsh"
>> chapter when the narrative voice tells us "They walked in the rain
>> together, among a torrent of wet dead leaves, wind tugging their hair back
>> on their scalps, rain in their mouths and the smell of dead earth" which is
>> quite close to the opening lines of /The Waste Land/ (and in the preceding
>> paragraph he stresses by repetition the "unreal" like Eliot's "Unreal city"
>> from the same).  Francis is also like an "anaesthetised patient" much akin
>> to the opening of Eliot's "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and so forth.
>> >
>> > Perhaps I should emphasize that I don't see this as a problem -- he's
>> reacting to the most famous generation of authors immediately preceding his
>> own (and who were editing him...) while challenging and/or extending parts
>> of their project in the process of discovering his own.  I think it's to be
>> expected, and most authors of his generation did the same.
>> >
>> >> I don't get the
>> >> rhetoric about the mud bricks.
>> >
>> > The mud brick figures in his "With Durrell in Egypt" piece (collected
>> in /From the Elephant's Back/) -- it's a brick from Hassan Fathy's Gourna
>> village.  I've suggested that since Durrell describes reading Fathy's
>> /Architecture for the Poor/ in the piece and gives such a prominent place
>> in the narrative to a symbol of the utopian project for peasants (the mud
>> brick is a key part of Fathy's revival of traditional materials), it's not
>> a politically neutral image.  I don't know how specific we might argue the
>> "meaning" of the brick in the narrative could be, but I don't think it's
>> neutral or random.
>> >
>> > Others are arguing that the brick carries no importance, which I find
>> unlikely, but to each their own.  I might even hope that it means both
>> things at the same time -- Keats, after all, appears frequently in Durrell.
>> >
>> > All best,
>> > James
>> >
>>
>> * * * * *
>>
>> James Esposito, 3/24/2016:
>>
>>
>> I do not have access to "Deus Loci" - I first became aware of Durrell's
>> "Minor Mythologies" in Pine's book "Lawrence Durrell: the Mindscape" where
>> he says:
>>
>>
>> A further characteristic of Durrell?s understanding of the nineteenth
>> century was his refusal to build his house exclusively on the plane of
>> ?high? literature, and his insistence instead on pursuing it through major
>> and minor modes. Thus his own adventure novel White Eagles over Serbia,
>> written in the Buchanesque style of so much of his early reading, combines
>> elements of the detective story and the grail quest. (In the Quartet Darley
>> criticises the writing of the much-envied Pursewarden: ?what is missing in
>> his work - but this is a criticism of all works which do not reach the
>> front rank - is a sense of play? - Quartet 670.) It is a genre he much
>> admired, for example relishing the Quixote-Panza relationship of
>> Wodehouse?s Wooster and Jeeves (we have already seen him imagining himself
>> as a new Wodehouse). He saw Wooster in descent from ?the great Knights of
>> the Romance pattern?, saying ?he is a knight in the sense that he is a
>> gentleman absolute. He can do no evil. It is the!
>>   terrific responsibility of wasting time amusingly that exhausts him so?
>> <applewebdata://41AD9AD0-9A90-4271-B751-CF8949E94C50#_ftn1>? a remarkable
>> insight into the preoccupations of the one-time dandy faced with all the
>> burdens of decadence. (In the same frame of mind he might have held the
>> image of Scobie as ?Popeye the Sailor Man? and Nessim as the ?chevalier
>> sans peur? ? Quartet 549.) In the same essay, ?The Minor Mythologies?,
>> Durrell made the case for considering the characters of minor fiction in
>> the same critical bracket:
>>
>>
>> The myth-making faculty is busy at many different levels; a critic
>> interested in the creative process may find more food for thought in a
>> Stephen Daedelus [sic] than in a Jeeves.Yet he should be prepared to
>> acknowledge them both as part of the broad flood of a nation?s literature
>> flowing out towards the future, to the sea. Many readers might think it a
>> waste of time but how delightful a book on the minor mythologies of the age
>> could be made if one could persuade a serious critic to consider its
>> figures... Holmes, Jeeves, Dr Fu Manchu, Captain Blood, Bulldog Drummond,
>> Raffles, Bones, Captain Nemo, Frankenstein, Dracula.
>> <applewebdata://41AD9AD0-9A90-4271-B751-CF8949E94C50#_ftn2>
>>
>> Durrell himself displayed this ability to give due attention to major and
>> minor, firstly in the creation of his own ?minor? canon in works like White
>> Eagles (which he regarded as ?makeweights?) or in some of the apparently
>> inconsequential characters of the island books. Secondly, in his ?major?
>> works, Durrell, like Kipling, brought the great and the insignificant into
>> close and urgent contact (he called the Quartet ?such a strange mixture of
>> sex and the secret service!? SP 120), so much so as to make us enquire at
>> what point a character gains or loses cardinal significance: for example,
>> the nameless loader who appears and disappears within one paragraph of the
>> Quartet after the supposed death of Capodistria (Quartet 76- 7), or Krov,
>> the ?slave-prisoner? of General von Esslin (Quintet 877-83), take on a
>> vital role illustrative of some mythological level far out of proportion to
>> their social or narrative function, precisely because that function is not
>> part of the cultural val!
>>  ues Durrell shared with the nineteenth century. Durrell employed this
>> kind of simplicity as a means of communication ? one he particularly valued
>> in the ?minor mythologies? ? because it made the reader an accomplice at
>> the deepest level of story-telling at which the primitive, as opposed to
>> the sophisticated, method of narrative is revealed as the more effective
>> bonding mechanism of society:
>> <applewebdata://41AD9AD0-9A90-4271-B751-CF8949E94C50#_ftn3> think of
>> Pater?s Marius: ?his life had been so like the reading of a romance to
>> him?, <applewebdata://41AD9AD0-9A90-4271-B751-CF8949E94C50#_ftn4>or, as
>> Groddeck put it in The Book of the It, ?read [my letters] as though they
>> were travel books or detective stories?.
>> <applewebdata://41AD9AD0-9A90-4271-B751-CF8949E94C50#_ftn5> It was thus
>> possible to engage not only in narration but also in analysis without the
>> reader becoming aware of the ulterior project.
>>
>> Writing of Wells?s The Time Machine and Rider Haggard?s She which,
>> Durrell said, embodied for the Victorians ?the great popular myths of the
>> age?, he made a case (in the latter instance by tracing that myth through
>> the Prester John legends to de Mandeville) for these and other ?great
>> folk-metaphors? (Frankenstein, Dracula and Jekyll/Hyde), that ?their
>> literary ancestry stretches far back into the age of the magicians and
>> miracles?. <applewebdata://41AD9AD0-9A90-4271-B751-CF8949E94C50#_ftn6> This
>> resort to the merveilleux and the miraculous is one of the trademarks of
>> the baroque novelist, and was an integral part not only of Durrell?s
>> technique but also of his faith in the novel. He made a critical connection
>> between gothic narrative and the myths of magic, showing us that the modern
>> juxtaposition and interaction of science and art is merely another form of
>> an all-embracing philosophy told, like so much of Buddhism, through the
>> visions and spectacles of everyday life. Quotid!
>>  ian activity, rather than the characters who enact it, has its own
>> characters.
>>
>>
>> Thus it is easier to spell out the ?miracle?, the successful d?nouement,
>> if it is already anticipated as part of the reader?s act of faith within
>> the act of reading
>> <applewebdata://41AD9AD0-9A90-4271-B751-CF8949E94C50#_ftn7> It would only
>> be with the c?sura after the Quartet that this faith hit the rocks of
>> Durrell?s despair. To the genre of adventure in Kim we can add Durrell?s
>> childhood introduction to the works of Dickens and, on the evidence of Pied
>> Piper of Lovers, Henty, Ballantyne and Dumas (PPL 124, 192). Durrell?s
>> library contained several examples of Buchan?s work, together with volumes
>> of Baroness Orczy and Anthony Hope
>> <applewebdata://41AD9AD0-9A90-4271-B751-CF8949E94C50#_ftn8> and he often
>> referred to Wodehouse as an important example of subversive humour ? a
>> technique he put to use not only in the ?Antrobus? pictures from diplomatic
>> life but also in the structure and texture of The Revolt (indeed, as I
>> shall demonstrate in Part 4, there is an organic connection!
>>   between the two types of writing).
>>
>> Milan Kundera makes the point that a novel requires four special
>> ?appeals?: those of ?play?, ?dream?, ?thought? and ?time?,
>> <applewebdata://41AD9AD0-9A90-4271-B751-CF8949E94C50#_ftn9> and it is
>> important to note that it is the combination of seriousness of intent with
>> lightness of touch which gives Durrell?s fiction its onward drive: while he
>> is capable of arresting our attention with some lapidary insight into the
>> human condition, the dynamic in the reader?s mind is the question ?what
>> happens next??. The book must be a place of intellectual excitement which
>> is leavened by the idea of life-as-a-game.
>>
>> -------------------------------------
>>
>> Apologies for such a long quote but some on this list may not have Pine's
>> book, which I understand is hard to find in the second edition.
>>
>> I would only add to that that I don't agree with Professor Gifford about
>> Durrell writing "Panic Spring" "to emulate the formal effects of the high
>> modernists". In my opinion, he wrote it (with a pseudonym) as an attempt to
>> make a Greek-island novel using the tools available to him, which did not
>> include any deep understanding of the modernists, high or low.
>>
>> Maybe I'm ill-versed, but I don't get the rhetoric about the mud bricks.
>>
>> James Esposito
>>
>>
>>
>> -------------- next part --------------
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>> http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/ilds/attachments/20160324/e74874a6/attachment-0001.html
>> >
>>
>> ------------------------------
>>
>> Message: 4
>> Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2016 10:44:34 -0700
>> From: Kennedy Gammage <gammage.kennedy at gmail.com>
>> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>> Subject: Re: [ilds] Wordspinners
>> Message-ID:
>>         <
>> CANDhJnQzTRzn0AeLRbxMQvFQLLMsO5c_54K7ey9wOtZXt4a-sg at mail.gmail.com>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>>
>> FYI: http://lawrencedurrell.org/wp_durrell/deus-loci/
>>
>>
>>
>> On Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 10:34 AM, Bruce Redwine <
>> bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
>> wrote:
>>
>> > I think Gifford sums up nicely the main issues raised by Esposito.  The
>> > long quotation is from the 2nd ed. of Pine?s *Mindscape* (2005):
>> >  114-16.  Durrell?s concern about ?minor mythologies? and literature as
>> > ?play? is nothing new.  Way back in the Middle Ages the function of
>> > literature was described as ?to delight and instruct,? and even that
>> > exhortation probably goes further back to the Romans, at least.  We?re
>> > probably talking about the context of Durrell?s remark and how he
>> thought
>> > literature had become too highbrow.  There?s nothing wrong with telling
>> a
>> > good story and all that that involves?at which Durrell could excel when
>> in
>> > good form.  On the other hand, he was probably ahead of his time when he
>> > talks about giving equal weight to the popular literature of the time.
>> My
>> > sense is that academics are currently mining that very topic, if in
>> > somewhat abstruse fashion, that is, buttressed by a lot of Continental
>> > ?theory.?
>> >
>> > Bruce
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > On Mar 24, 2016, at 9:42 AM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com>
>> > wrote:
>> >
>> > Hi James,
>> >
>> > On 2016-03-24 3:06 AM, james Esposito wrote:
>> >
>> > I would only add to that that I don't agree with Professor Gifford about
>> > Durrell writing "Panic Spring" "to emulate the formal effects of the
>> > high modernists". In my opinion, he wrote it (with a pseudonym) as an
>> > attempt to make a Greek-island novel using the tools available to him,
>> > which did not include any deep understanding of the modernists, high or
>> > low.
>> >
>> >
>> > Please, "James" is just fine (no need for the professor bit).  Thanks
>> for
>> > your comments -- it's always good to have new voices on the listserv.
>> >
>> > As for the high modernists, some of it is fairly overt in the text.  He
>> > even wrote in 1975 that /Panic Spring/ is "a pretty good anthology of
>> the
>> > styles of the writers I then admired, Huxley, Graves, Aldington,
>> Lawrence,"
>> > although as usual I think he left the biggest names out of the list...
>> >
>> > For instance, Noah seduces/assaults Francis in a scene very much like
>> that
>> > in the "A Game of Chess" section of T.S. Eliot's /The Waste Land/ or
>> > between the typist and young man in "The First Sermon" section.  Just in
>> > case we don't catch what Durrell's up to, Noah asks Francis if she's
>> read
>> > /The Waste Land/ after having made sure copies of Ezra Pound and Eliot
>> are
>> > visible in the room.  It's also not really a great surprise since the
>> book
>> > was published by Faber & Faber where Eliot was an editor and Durrell
>> was in
>> > correspondence with him.
>> >
>> > We get kindred stream of consciousness scenes like Woolf and Joyce in
>> "The
>> > Music" chapter as well as gestures to shell shock through Marlowe.
>> > Overall, Durrell's fairly explicit about taking up stylistic and
>> thematic
>> > models from the high modernists here, and while I think he had an uneasy
>> > relationship with those predecessors (for instance, in many respects
>> > substituting Cavafy for Eliot in the Quartet), they're also overt
>> > influences.
>> >
>> > Other gestures to Eliot are fairly overt, such as in the "Walsh" chapter
>> > when the narrative voice tells us "They walked in the rain together,
>> among
>> > a torrent of wet dead leaves, wind tugging their hair back on their
>> scalps,
>> > rain in their mouths and the smell of dead earth" which is quite close
>> to
>> > the opening lines of /The Waste Land/ (and in the preceding paragraph he
>> > stresses by repetition the "unreal" like Eliot's "Unreal city" from the
>> > same).  Francis is also like an "anaesthetised patient" much akin to the
>> > opening of Eliot's "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and so forth.
>> >
>> > Perhaps I should emphasize that I don't see this as a problem -- he's
>> > reacting to the most famous generation of authors immediately preceding
>> his
>> > own (and who were editing him...) while challenging and/or extending
>> parts
>> > of their project in the process of discovering his own.  I think it's
>> to be
>> > expected, and most authors of his generation did the same.
>> >
>> > I don't get the
>> > rhetoric about the mud bricks.
>> >
>> >
>> > The mud brick figures in his "With Durrell in Egypt" piece (collected in
>> > /From the Elephant's Back/) -- it's a brick from Hassan Fathy's Gourna
>> > village.  I've suggested that since Durrell describes reading Fathy's
>> > /Architecture for the Poor/ in the piece and gives such a prominent
>> place
>> > in the narrative to a symbol of the utopian project for peasants (the
>> mud
>> > brick is a key part of Fathy's revival of traditional materials), it's
>> not
>> > a politically neutral image.  I don't know how specific we might argue
>> the
>> > "meaning" of the brick in the narrative could be, but I don't think it's
>> > neutral or random.
>> >
>> > Others are arguing that the brick carries no importance, which I find
>> > unlikely, but to each their own.  I might even hope that it means both
>> > things at the same time -- Keats, after all, appears frequently in
>> Durrell.
>> >
>> > All best,
>> > James
>> >
>> >
>> > * * * * *
>> >
>> > James Esposito, 3/24/2016:
>> >
>> >
>> > I do not have access to "Deus Loci" - I first became aware of Durrell's
>> > "Minor Mythologies" in Pine's book "Lawrence Durrell: the Mindscape"
>> where
>> > he says:
>> >
>> >
>> > A further characteristic of Durrell?s understanding of the nineteenth
>> > century was his refusal to build his house exclusively on the plane of
>> > ?high? literature, and his insistence instead on pursuing it through
>> major
>> > and minor modes. Thus his own adventure novel *White Eagles over
>> Serbia*,
>> > written in the Buchanesque style of so much of his early reading,
>> combines
>> > elements of the detective story and the grail quest. (In the *Quartet*
>> Darley
>> > criticises the writing of the much-envied Pursewarden: ?what is missing
>> in
>> > his work - but this is a criticism of all works which do not reach the
>> > front rank - is a sense of play? - *Quartet* 670.) It is a genre he much
>> > admired, for example relishing the Quixote-Panza relationship of
>> > Wodehouse?s Wooster and Jeeves (we have already seen him imagining
>> himself
>> > as a new Wodehouse). He saw Wooster in descent from ?the great Knights
>> of
>> > the Romance pattern?, saying ?he is a knight in the sense that he is a
>> > gentleman absolute. He can do no evil. It is the terrific
>> responsibility of
>> > wasting time amusingly that exhausts him so?
>> > <#m_5996440815883147648__ftn1>? a remarkable insight into the
>> > preoccupations of the one-time dandy faced with all the burdens of
>> > decadence. (In the same frame of mind he might have held the image of
>> > Scobie as ?Popeye the Sailor Man? and Nessim as the ?chevalier sans
>> peur? ?
>> > *Quartet *549.) In the same essay, ?The Minor Mythologies?, Durrell made
>> > the case for considering the characters of minor fiction in the same
>> > critical bracket:
>> >
>> >
>> > The myth-making faculty is busy at many different levels; a critic
>> > interested in the creative process may find more food for thought in a
>> > Stephen Daedelus [*sic*] than in a Jeeves.Yet he should be prepared to
>> > acknowledge them both as part of the broad flood of a nation?s
>> literature
>> > flowing out towards the future, to the sea. Many readers might think it
>> a
>> > waste of time but how delightful a book on the minor mythologies of the
>> age
>> > could be made if one could persuade a serious critic to consider its
>> > figures... Holmes, Jeeves, Dr Fu Manchu, Captain Blood, Bulldog
>> Drummond,
>> > Raffles, Bones, Captain Nemo, Frankenstein, Dracula.
>> > <#m_5996440815883147648__ftn2>
>> >
>> >
>> > Durrell himself displayed this ability to give due attention to major
>> and
>> > minor, firstly in the creation of his own ?minor? canon in works like
>> *White
>> > Eagles* (which he regarded as ?makeweights?) or in some of the
>> apparently
>> > inconsequential characters of the island books. Secondly, in his ?major?
>> > works, Durrell, like Kipling, brought the great and the insignificant
>> into
>> > close and urgent contact (he called the *Quartet *?such a strange
>> mixture
>> > of sex and the secret service!? *SP* 120), so much so as to make us
>> > enquire at what point a character gains or loses cardinal significance:
>> for
>> > example, the nameless loader who appears and disappears within one
>> > paragraph of the *Quartet* after the supposed death of Capodistria (
>> > *Quartet *76- 7), or Krov, the ?slave-prisoner? of General von Esslin (
>> > *Quintet* 877-83), take on a vital role illustrative of some
>> mythological
>> > level far out of proportion to their social or narrative function,
>> > precisely because that function is not part of the cultural values
>> Durrell
>> > shared with the nineteenth century. Durrell employed this kind of
>> > simplicity as a means of communication ? one he particularly valued in
>> the
>> > ?minor mythologies? ? because it made the reader an accomplice at the
>> > deepest level of story-telling at which the primitive, as opposed to the
>> > sophisticated, method of narrative is revealed as the more effective
>> > bonding mechanism of society: <#m_5996440815883147648__ftn3> think of
>> > Pater?s Marius: ?his life had been so like the reading of a romance to
>> him?,
>> > <#m_5996440815883147648__ftn4>or, as Groddeck put it in *The Book of the
>> > It*, ?read [my letters] as though they were travel books or detective
>> > stories?. <#m_5996440815883147648__ftn5> It was thus possible to engage
>> > not only in narration but also in analysis without the reader becoming
>> > aware of the ulterior project.
>> >
>> > Writing of Wells?s *The Time Machine* and Rider Haggard?s *She* which,
>> > Durrell said, embodied for the Victorians ?the great popular myths of
>> the
>> > age?, he made a case (in the latter instance by tracing that myth
>> through
>> > the Prester John legends to de Mandeville) for these and other ?great
>> > folk-metaphors? (Frankenstein, Dracula and Jekyll/Hyde), that ?their
>> > literary ancestry stretches far back into the age of the magicians and
>> > miracles?. <#m_5996440815883147648__ftn6> This resort to the
>> *merveilleux* and
>> > the miraculous is one of the trademarks of the baroque novelist, and
>> was an
>> > integral part not only of Durrell?s technique but also of his faith in
>> the
>> > novel. He made a critical connection between gothic narrative and the
>> myths
>> > of magic, showing us that the modern juxtaposition and interaction of
>> > science and art is merely another form of an all-embracing philosophy
>> told,
>> > like so much of Buddhism, through the visions and spectacles of everyday
>> > life. Quotidian activity, rather than the characters who enact it, has
>> its
>> > own characters.
>> >
>> >
>> > Thus it is easier to spell out the ?miracle?, the successful d?nouement,
>> > if it is already anticipated as part of the reader?s act of faith within
>> > the act of reading <#m_5996440815883147648__ftn7> It would only be with
>> > the *c?sura* after the *Quartet* that this faith hit the rocks of
>> > Durrell?s despair. To the genre of adventure in *Kim* we can add
>> > Durrell?s childhood introduction to the works of Dickens and, on the
>> > evidence of *Pied Piper of Lovers*, Henty, Ballantyne and Dumas (*PPL*
>> 124,
>> > 192). Durrell?s library contained several examples of Buchan?s work,
>> > together with volumes of Baroness Orczy and Anthony Hope
>> > <#m_5996440815883147648__ftn8> and he often referred to Wodehouse as an
>> > important example of subversive humour ? a technique he put to use not
>> only
>> > in the ?Antrobus? pictures from diplomatic life but also in the
>> structure
>> > and texture of *The Revolt* (indeed, as I shall demonstrate in Part 4,
>> > there is an organic connection between the two types of writing).
>> >
>> > Milan Kundera makes the point that a novel requires four special
>> > ?appeals?: those of ?play?, ?dream?, ?thought? and ?time?,
>> > <#m_5996440815883147648__ftn9> and it is important to note that it is
>> the
>> > combination of seriousness of intent with lightness of touch which gives
>> > Durrell?s fiction its onward drive: while he is capable of arresting our
>> > attention with some lapidary insight into the human condition, the
>> dynamic
>> > in the reader?s mind is the question ?what happens next??. The book
>> must be
>> > a place of intellectual excitement which is leavened by the idea of
>> > life-as-a-game.
>> >
>> > -------------------------------------
>> >
>> > Apologies for such a long quote but some on this list may not have
>> Pine's
>> > book, which I understand is hard to find in the second edition.
>> >
>> > I would only add to that that I don't agree with Professor Gifford about
>> > Durrell writing "Panic Spring" "to emulate the formal effects of the
>> high
>> > modernists". In my opinion, he wrote it (with a pseudonym) as an
>> attempt to
>> > make a Greek-island novel using the tools available to him, which did
>> not
>> > include any deep understanding of the modernists, high or low.
>> >
>> > Maybe I'm ill-versed, but I don't get the rhetoric about the mud bricks.
>> >
>> > James Esposito
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > ILDS mailing list
>> > ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
>> > https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>> >
>> >
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>>
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>> ************************************
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