[ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 109, Issue 12_Message 1

Sumantra Nag sumantranag at gmail.com
Thu May 19 19:53:50 PDT 2016

I liked the reference to the old town and country contrasts which appear so
much as a literary refrain.

"The contrast between the mercantile city and the agrarian countryside is
interesting and invites a simplistic dualism:  city evil, country good.
We?re led to see that in Iolanthe?s nostalgia for ?her father?s island? (p.
344; 6.1), Caradoc?s apparent escape into an East Indian backwater, and
Felix?s apparent disappearance onto some Greek island.  Do these places
represent some Marxist haven of proletariat harmony?  I doubt it.  The
countryside outside London is no haven?more like a gothic landscape in E.
A. Poe.  Yes, Durrell had a strong pastoral instinct (Darley and his island
refuge in the Cyclades), but, like Conrad, he was also wary of what it
could lead to.  So, Caradoc turns into another Kurtz of Heart of Darkness.
He becomes a wild androgyne (which in itself raises big questions about
Durrell?s thought and possible inclinations).  Raymond Williams in The
Country and the City (1973) explores the role of pastoralism in depth."



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