[ilds] Aphrodite's Revolt

Richard Pine pinedurrellcorfu at gmail.com
Mon Jun 20 13:05:47 PDT 2016


We will have a list of LD's personal library on the DLC website soon-ish -
after this summer. That is, a list as far as it can be established from a)
what is held at Carbondale, b) what is held at Nanterre and c) references
in correspondence and auction catalogues
RP

On Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 10:53 PM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
wrote:

> Thanks for the confirmation, Charles.  So Durrell knew his Spengler in
> translation, but I doubt he knew in depth other authors such as Paracelus
> or the *Vulgate* which he inaccurately quotes.  MacNiven has commented
> that Durrell’s readings were wide and discursive and that he picked up bits
> and pieces here and there, that is, whatever suited his interests.  The
> *impression* he leaves, however, is greater than the fact.  Does this
> really matter?  No.  The end product is what counts.
>
> Bruce
>
> PS Good to hear from you.  Hope all goes well.
>
>
>
> On Jun 20, 2016, at 12:09 PM, Charles Sligh <cls9k at virginia.edu> wrote:
>
> Bruce asks:
>
> Nevertheless, when he refers to “[Durrell’s] re-reading of Spengler,” does
> he know if Durrell read all of Spengler’s two volume Decline of the West
> (München 1918; New York 1926)?—which is massive, about 1000 pages—or did he
> crib it from some other abbreviated source?
>
>
> Richard responds:
>
> Spengler: as far as I know, LD read the 2-vol edition quite early.
>
>
> Absolutely--*very* early.
>
> From Ian MacNiven's bibliographical description of the Lawrence Durrell
> collection, Morris Library:
>
> MacNiven observes that LD's reading notes from a *Prospero's Cell* working
> notebook ("A.5" / dated 1938) show LD as "reading Spengler's Decline of the
> West [with page numbers referring to the A. A. Knopf, 1928 edition]."
>
>
> Good luck to all!
>
> C&c.
>
> *****************************************
> Charles L. Sligh
> charles.sligh at virginia.edu
> Department of English
> University of Virginia
> *****************************************
>
>
> On Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 2:04 PM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
> > wrote:
>
>> Richard’s can of worms opens up many intriguing questions about honesty,
>> which I’m sure would have pleased old LD.  I have one about Durrell’s
>> reading habits.  Richard may have commented on this in his *Mindscape*
>> (2005) or elsewhere, which I haven’t seen.  My apologies for laziness.
>> Nevertheless, when he refers to “[Durrell’s] re-reading of Spengler,” does
>> he know if Durrell read *all* of Spengler’s two volume *Decline of the
>> West* (München 1918; New York 1926)?—which is massive, about 1000
>> pages—or did he crib it from some other abbreviated source?  For example,
>> some of Durrell’s readings in Paracelsus come via C. G. Jung’s work on
>> alchemy.  Charles Sligh, I believe, has commented on this reading habit as
>> evidenced by LD’s notebooks.  I wonder if something similar was going on
>> with Spengler.
>>
>> Bruce
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Jun 20, 2016, at 1:07 AM, Richard Pine <pinedurrellcorfu at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>> I doubt if I can add anything. I have not read the comments on
>> Tunc/Nunquam as they have issued.
>> All I can say on the title(s) is that LD did not like the composite title
>> 'Revolt...' - it is possible that it was one of several potential titles
>> that he suggested when his publishers asked for one, but I doubt it, since
>> he expressed to me his dislike of it and said it was due to his American
>> publisher's insistence. Whether or not that is true seems to be irrelevant,
>> given that nothing anyone says is necessarily true. We all tell truths
>> which are also lies. Some academic reputations are based on this premiss.
>> Maybe I'm naive in not looking a gift horse in the mouth, and maybe I
>> should not have taken LD's word at face value, but I remain sceptical
>> because in my opinion Tunc/Nunquam is not merely about the revolt of
>> Aphrodite, whatever that may be. In my opinion (backed up by what LD told
>> me, which may or may not be true) the books are more (but not necessarily
>> exclusively) about the revolt of man's conscience against the reification
>> and decline of intellectual and moral standards - our entire ontology as a
>> species. LD's brilliance in forecasting voice-sensitive recording machines
>> etc. (and his derivativeness in borrowing the idea of a simulated Iolanthe
>> from 'A For Andromeda') typifies this disillusion which was partly fuelled
>> by his re-reading of Spengler. That is my opinion, but of course I may not
>> be truthful in my opinion, since it is the function of critics to lie
>> through the teeth of a gift horse in order to prove their case.
>> As for the 'petrifact', my lie-detector suggests that it may refer to one
>> of the many sculptures of Aphrodite (of which the best known is the
>> so-called Venus de Milo) - the phrase "the austere mindless primitive face
>> of Aphrodite" comes to mind (AQ) - the blindness of the sculptured face
>> having become a cliche which LD uses (as he uses us) in Tunc/Nunquam in
>> relation to the mosque - just before the death of Sacrapant. But that is to
>> open a minefield of worms, a veritable diet...
>> Anyway I don't think much of that 'Aphrodite ' poem, especially the
>> Shakespearian allusion. We all live lives based on selected allusions,
>> n'est-ce pas? Believe me, I'm an allusion. And the allusion appeared unto
>> Mary and said 'How the fuck are you going to explain this to Joseph? You'ld
>> better start praying. Here's a god.: ' And his name was.... Mobego.
>> RP.
>>
>> On Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 1:46 AM, Bruce Redwine <
>> bredwine1968 at earthlink.net> wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> On Jun 19, 2016, at 1:53 PM, Ric Wilson <Ric.Wilson at msn.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>> So the thing about LD's like or dislike of title(s) at hand, what could
>>> the subtext here refer to, I wonder?
>>>
>>> *Ric Wilson*
>>>
>>> Aphrodite
>>>
>>> Not from some silent sea she rose
>>> In her great wave of nacre
>>> But from such a one?O sea
>>> Scourged with iron cables!  O sea,
>>> Boiling with salt froths to curds,
>>> Carded like wool on the moon?s spindles,
>>> Time-scarred, bitter, simmering prophet.
>>> On some such night of storm and labour
>>> Was hoisted trembling into our history?
>>> Wide with panic the great eyes staring ?
>>> Of man?s own wish this speaking loveliness,
>>> On man?s own wish this deathless petrifact.
>>>
>>> 1964/1961
>>>
>>>
>>> Ric, I think Richard Pine can best answer your question.  My personal
>>> opinion, following Richard’s suggestion elsewhere, is that Durrell was
>>> being cagey.  That is, he in fact came up with *The Revolt of Aphrodite*
>>> as a title for *Tunc* and *Nunquam*, but he wanted to confuse the
>>> situation and thrown people off the track.  So he denied the fact.  What
>>> does the title mean?  The sonnet “Aphrodite” provides one answer, as it
>>> stands like a broken artifact, suggesting more than it reveals.
>>>
>>> Stay cool,
>>>
>>> Bruce
>>>
>>
>
>
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