[ilds] 3. Re: Durrell's endings (Panaiotis Gerontopoulos)

Ric Wilson Ric.Wilson at msn.com
Thu Apr 14 01:01:38 PDT 2016

PG--Did I miss something, who is Whitewine? It's hard to understand snippety replies with ad hominem undercurrents, "should have known long ago..." If you've a better understanding, it went right over my head. 

We're here in a forum designed to pique others' interest into a better understanding.  Insults launched belabor dialogue and monopolize it as if there's no good breeding here. If you want a better understanding, then do not pretend, "as Richard Pine likes to believe" because that's clearly offensive in the same manner you've  assigned a philhellene [LD?] as "ridiculous." [Now I've got to add yet another book to my Amazon list. Will I have time, Paniaiotis? My life is short.] Has becoming twisted into the shape of that one who first twisted a relevant axiom? Very heavy-handed, the tone of voice adopted, mocking even. I only know what I've seen/felt here. I wish you'd use your voice to show and tell and poise questions with as my better teachers did.

Given your intro addressed to my sensibility, I'll throw in my $.02 for the dead under scrutiny now. You have vouched for the misfortune in Cyprus. If we grant, just for the moment, LD's BL was a "poetic book" after all, consider Bowen's take, "as in 'Dead Men,' the poet must choose to engage the horror of his experience as a away of living with that knowledge." (from his Many Histories Deep, 88) In "Many Histories Deep" The Personal Landscape Poets in Eqypt: 1940-45, Roger Bowen placed Keith Douglas' voice under his magnifying glass to project the poet's "use of language as a unique and temporary 'catch': 'But I keep words only a breath of time/turning in the lightest of cages--uncover/and let them go: sometimes they escape forever.' [see also where he's quoting from online @ http://thestoneandthestar.blogspot.com/2015/01/words-by-keith-douglas-turning-in.html ]"
Remember "When the Music's Over" (you permitted me this personal bias in intro, right?)? [ http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=doors+music%27s+over&&view=detail&mid=A3BCDDDEB580E5C2917DA3BCDDDEB580E5C2917D&rvsmid=5FC1740990DF857A184A5FC1740990DF857A184A&fsscr=-1815&FORM=VDFSRV ] I know it's a couple decades + later, but we're hearing others' words pronounced in the interest of sensing an eternal recurrence, right? Bowen pointed out Douglas' "poem is worth quoting whole because for all its compact brilliance it is hardly commented on [canon-wise?], and because it represents Douglas writing an antiwar poem that, like certain of Spencer's or Durrell's poems, focuses on social rather than personal loss." With breath passing through us each like a ball and chain,  another James exploited this realization on a perhaps more personal level: "When the music's over turn out the light..." ( http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/doors/whenthemusicsover.html ) I hope you see and hear his appeal as evidence to bolster our social construct, here, I mean. This requires we uphold gentilesse, I presume. --

Ric Wilson





Message: 3
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2016 19:58:37 +0300
From: Panaiotis Gerontopoulos <pan.gero at hotmail.com>
To: "ilds at lists.uvic.ca" <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
Subject: Re: [ilds] Durrell's endings
Message-ID: <DUB120-W14905CC064982D8F11EDF581960 at phx.gbl>
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   A reader reads
according his own sensibilities, cultural background and personal bias. Redwine
agrees with Whitewine  in describing ?Bitter Lemons? as a fine, clear, concise,
poetic book. I do not have the ambition to argue or answer to the insults launched
against my nullity for having pointed out facts that Redwine, Whitewine,
Gifford and Richard Pine, should have known long ago as official exegetes
of LD?s writings.

  The irony of the thing
is that, far from being a slanderer of LD?s memory I think I have a better
understanding of his misfortunes in Cyprus. To explain this, I have to recall another
philhellene. In ?The Philhellenes? C. M. Woodhouse, parachuted on a Greek
mountain during the World War II, observes that his philhellenism and that  of his? British companions fighting the Nazis
on the Greek mountains, had nothing in common with the philhellenes of the
1820s and their aspirations, for catholic emancipation, parliamentary reform,
republicanism etc. Their motives ?were free of ideology?.

After World War II, Woodhouse
and many of his British mountain companions joined ?The Friends?, alias ?M16?,
to fight communism. His personal involvement in creating the net of the
operation ?BOOT-AIAX? aimed to topple Mohammad Mosaddegh is well known. It is
also well known that, far from being directed against communism, that operation
was directed against the nationalization of the ?Anglo Iranian Oil Company?. In
?Something Ventured? Woodhouse acknowledges its catastrophic consequences that
brought-back in power in Iran first the Shah and then, in 1979, Ayatollah
Khomeini. He justifies his actions as follows:

What we did not foresee was that the Shah
would gather new strength and use it so tyrannically, nor that the US government
and the Foreign Office would fail so abjectly to keep him on a reasonable
course. At that time, we were simply relieved that the threat to British
interests had been removed.

   Sic et simpliciter. The
consequences of this and other operations  of the same kind are before our eyes in every day?s
newspapers. The parallel between Mosaddegh and Makarios (the black-Mac as LD called
him privately) and the resemblance of the M16 methods in defense of British
interests in Iran and Cyprus, evoking in first place the communist threat is
also striking.  In  January 1953, LD descended in ordered mission
to Cyprus to defend the British interests evoking the communist threat, mixing sex
to the political propaganda of the CBS, and trying to lull the ?Enotist feeling? by advertising
in all directions his philhellenism and
his ties
with the Greek intellectuals of the ?Generation of the 30s?.     They were fast to take distances from their
former friend. Not because they were Greeks or Cypriots, as Richard Pine likes
to believe, but to put it with George Seferis, in the last words of one of his
last texts, written directly in French, at the request of Frederic Temple
director of ?Entretiens?, for a special issue dedicated to LD with the English
title ?Many Nightingales ago?

But I belong to another ?private country and I would
like to emphasize the word ?private? (LABRYS 5, LAWRENCE DURRELL July

The Durrellian Temple published in
?Entretiens? two years after Seferis? death, a censored version of the
original manipulating it so to hide the fact that, notwithstanding his deep
human sympathy for Larry, in 1970 Seferis considered him a former friend (an ancient ami). To avoid
misunderstandings I transcribe in French the last paragraph of the original
conserved in Seferis? Archives of Gennadios Library of Athens, resounding Seferis
thoughts on LD?s propaganda tactics in Cyprus unmistakably revealed in Bitter Lemons

Je disais tout
? l?heure que ce soit le pass? qui m?ait dict? ces lignes. Le pr?sent - que
l?on me passe l?anglicisme - n?est pas malheureusement tr?s invigorant pour
moi. D?autre part il y a longtemps que de circonstances fortuites ont voulu que
nous ne puissions pas nous voir tr?s souvent. Ainsi s?est tout naturellement
que je me suis tourn? vers Larry le po?te avec lequel j??tais plus familier :
- le roman n?est pas mon fort et je n?ai jamais attach? grande importance
? Durrell le fonctionnaire dont les dr?leries diplomatiques ont fait rire
beaucoup de gens dans les chancelleries. Ce n?est pas par puritanisme que je
dis cela. Chacun a le droit de s?amuser comme il peut mais j?appartiens ? une
autre ?Private Country?. Je tiens ? souligner le mot ?Private?. - Ath?nes 31
Mai 1970. George Seferis.

LD?s ?dr?leries
diplomatiques? in
Cyprus, were certainly childlike and in last analysis much more harmless than
the intrigues of Woodhouse in Iran. On the other hand  we cannot ignore that he served like Woodhouse the interests  of the collapsing British empire. Considering him a philhellene
whatever  this word meant in the 1950s or can mean today is ridiculous. If not for anything else because he defined himself ironically philhellenese. Be it as it may it is offensive to his memory saying that he did what he did it for money taken in an Agon between heart and head letting the head always win. Like Woodhouse he was a fervid anticommunist and a devoted Tory and he had no obligation whatever to serve Greece.
In conclusion, everybody
has the right to amuse himself as he can and Richard Pine to press the Mayor of
Corfu to rename the ?Bosketto? in ?Bosketto Durrell? or unveil bronze Bas Reliefs,
paid by the multinational Luis Group, to honor the philhellene LD in  pathetic ceremonies framed by young Corfiots in local
costumes, reminiscing Byronic klephts. In another point of his post, Richard Pine says ?If to be British/English is to be bad (in
Greek terms) then there can be no philhellenes, hence no Byron?. Hence, no
Mr. Pine I suppose.

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