[ilds] Lit. of Pop Culture

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Fri Mar 25 09:31:50 PDT 2016

Hi Bruce,

I agree, Beatrice's work is excellent.  For anyone who cannot access it, 
she's posted a copy to Academia.edu:


You need to join to download it, which some may not want to do, so it's 
also online in the National Library for direct access (you just need to 
link past the disclaimer to access it, and then the whole journal issue 
on Durrell is there):


I'd certainly agree with you about the novel of ideas, but at the same 
time, Durrell covers his tracks in ways that, say, Voltaire does not. 
I've pointed in the past to Durrell's use of Nietzsche, but does he 
endorse Nietzsche?  Hmmm.  Peter Christensen points to Durrell using 
Spengler, but again, is he endorsing Spengler?  We even have praise for 
Marx in /Monsieur/ (after decades of anti-Marxist comments), but is that 
Durrell or his character?

That provisionality is, itself, one of the central "ideas" for Durrell, 
or at least I like to this so.

All best,

On 2016-03-24 7:40 PM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
> James,
> Most interesting.  Thanks for the philosophical background on the
> treatment of popular culture in today’s academy.  Re Durrell (whose
> preferred term was probably “metaphysics”), he was eager to experiment
> and dabble, especially in esoterica and the “operations of the
> individual mind,” as you say.  Ken Gammage likes to bring in science
> fiction, and that’s surely relevant to Durrell’s interests.  I’ll repeat
> that I see Durrell as a novelist in the tradition of the European “novel
> of ideas.” Which means, of course, that we as readers should discuss
> “ideas,” Durrell’s ideas, overt or latent, and not something as nebulous
> as feelings about the “pleasure of the text,” however that’s done.  How
> do we discuss Durrell’s ideas?  Well, Beatrice Skordili in her excellent
> article, “The Author and the Demiurge:  Gnostic Dualism and /The
> Alexandria Quartet”/ (2004), does a good job at just that.
> Bruce

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