[ilds] Reading Literature

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at gmail.com
Sun Mar 27 11:03:06 PDT 2016

I agree with David Green about how we go about reading literature.  Academia has come in for a lot of criticism lately, but with respect to Lawrence Durrell, I’d like to point out what happened on this Listserv many years ago.  From about 2007 to 2008 (my dates are probably wrong), the List held a reading of Justine open to all-comers.  It was a close reading of the text, section by section.  The response was overwhelming; on an average day, I’d get about 40-50 emails on a given topic.  Those readings (most exchanges civil, some not) changed my views of Durrell’s most famous novel.  The discussions were moderated by William Godshalk, Charles Sligh, and James Gifford—all academics.  They did not impose their views, rather they offered their opinions and interpretations.  They all did a marvelous job, and I imagine they handled themselves on the List as they would in their classrooms.  So, let’s put a little perspective on what academia can do at its best in the study of literature.


> On Mar 26, 2016, at 1:55 PM, Denise Tart & David Green <dtart at bigpond.net.au> wrote:
> Whack, pow, thud, academics cop another hit: teaching English lit badly. Well yes, I had that experience too but mainly because the texts seemed to be a pretext for teaching the socialist advance. But the scholarly world was a wonderful place full of books and bars and broads, not too mention alliteration and it here amongst all these appalling scholars that I discovered Wilde, Keats, Whitman etc and Lawrence George Durrell. The quartet I knew about, my mum had the set, but there were all these other books too. Durrell is unique for sure, a great writer and personality which the ilds, composed of many academics as I gather, has done much to promote. 
> And yes, we may teach literature through a direct relationship between reader and text (a very Puritan approach) but this does not invalidate literary criticism, much of which is in fact very good, or context. Writers rarely exist in a vacuum. Much as Larry liked islands he too was part of a wider world which I sometimes think he did not like very much. His books often strike me as a revolt against the present, the future. I intend to mine Tunc and Nunquam in this vein.
> David Whitewine
> Sent from my iPad

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