[ilds] Lit. of Pop Culture

james Esposito giacomoesposito72 at gmail.com
Sat Mar 26 08:54:13 PDT 2016


I think a novel without ideas might be very stimulating.
James Esposito

On Sat, Mar 26, 2016 at 5:11 PM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
wrote:

> The literary term “novel of ideas” is vague and not a term of art (I can’t
> find it glossed).  But I don’t take it to mean necessarily the advocacy of
> some idea (Rand’s *Atlas Shrugged).*  It may simply be a discussion of
> some ideas (Mann’s *Magic Mountain).  *Durrell is sly, as you point out,
> so determining what he really thought about some subject is difficult.
> Again, Skordili shows that Gnosticism is not simply a plaything in the
> *Quartet*—it has an integral role.
>
> Bruce
>
>
>
>
>
> On Mar 25, 2016, at 9:31 AM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> Hi Bruce,
>
> I agree, Beatrice's work is excellent.  For anyone who cannot access it,
> she's posted a copy to Academia.edu <http://academia.edu>:
>
>
> https://www.academia.edu/633349/The_Author_and_the_Demiurge_Gnostic_Dualism_in_The_Alexandria_Quartet
>
> 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):
>
> http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/202/300/agora/2004/v3n01/
>
> 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,
> James
>
> 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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