[ilds] Flaubert

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Thu May 19 15:24:56 PDT 2016


Hi Bruce

> I tend to think Durrell “changed it deliberately.”

Always a possibility, but the same phrasing pops up elsewhere for other 
people -- it could be a common mis-remembering of a famous passage, much 
like Durrell's revised quotation from Wordsworth, which is very widely 
misquoted in the same way.

> “Thebaid” may refer to the southern nomes of
> ancient Egypt

I'd be sure of it.

> Iolanthe’s deadbeat scene is very real and very
> moving.  I read it as Durrell at Claude’s bedside
> ... I tend to see Iolanthe as some version of
> Claude-Marie Vincendon, transposed from Melissa,
> the Greek prostitute of Alexandria.

It's a series, really.  Ruth in /Pied Piper of Lovers/ gives way to 
Gracie in /The Black Book/ leading us to Melissa, Iolanthe, and Sylvie. 
The biographies don't give a definitive answer, and once when I had a 
good chat with Margot Durrell, I asked her whom that person might be -- 
she said she didn't think he'd want her to talk about it.

Given how autobiographical /Pied Piper of Lovers/ is, I'd tend to think 
Durrell had an experience that gave the prototype for these alter 
recurrences, almost like a repetition compulsion to overcome mortality 
(so very much like Freud's description of it), with each recurrence 
growing with newly acquired losses and pains.

As Sam has pointed out, though, Benedicta really deserves attention.

Cheers,
James


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