[ilds] Gnosticism

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 8 09:44:41 PDT 2016


Tracking down Durrell’s sources can lead in mysterious directions.  As MacNiven has noted, he spent a lot of time in the Patriarchal Library in Alexandria.  Who knows what he came up with?  I simply want to know how serious he was about Gnosticism, which was, as Ravi Nambiar says, heavily indebted to Indian thought.  The “oriental” aspects of the Nag Hammadi story also interest me, but I seriously doubt this line of argument.  It’s “Orientalism” and Biblical scholarship gone awry, in my opinion.


> On Aug 7, 2016, at 4:04 PM, Ric Wilson <Ric.Wilson at msn.com> wrote:
> Hey Bruce--Thank you for stoking the pipe! James' thoughtful 22+ resources humbled me (again, a good thing). But I can shout out for his blue hyperlink. I was there, man. That's just spot on. I'll address youhere in the name of, let's just say, numerical sequence. 
> I'm not aware of any evidence to support LD's mastery over primary texts in his "corpus".  Only recently did I pass through Bowen's Many Histories Deep <https://www.amazon.com/Roger-Bowen/e/B001KI69QK/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1> like some old white guy--impaled at the sting of his first gallstone.  His text was knotted with sources which, btw, he most diplomatically clarified (see Notes) in his trajectory toward establishing a context for LD as subdomain of writer, personal landscape poet-family. LD stood out in Philoctetes-fashion, I mean the stuff of legends. LD's imaginative reconstruction of landscape, that is, actively rising above the tumult of his times and addressing a universal problem that is writing.  There must be a causal relationship between LD's British status on earth and his work's timelessness (so far anyway)?
> There existed 3 others in his analysis, but his knowledge that endures was placing each writer's contributions within a Corpus -- others' personal histories, drives, connection to place, social constructs etc., corroborated his "argument." (a "quarrel" was admitted in his Notes but the stately manner of presentation maintained, impeccable) In numerical Order, LD was placed by no surprize at the end as if an evolutionary offshoot--a kind of unexpected perfect storm if you will--that readers must observe to get how this strain haves under test of time.  My reading, friends, was irrevocably twisted--seeing a way to diagnose my fascination for & escape from LD's tentacle--was motive, not "sleeping with his thoughts," which happened along the way. (There's a story behind my signed copy , btw.) At endgame,  a junkie in some rehab center being spoon fed came to mind. Finally, the curtains containingAQ were reconstructed to my relief. I even suspected hearing Carol Peirce's voice "I don't know," this too will pass, it was as mind riveting as the fall of Babel. 
> In Meaning and Being in Myth <https://www.amazon.com/Norman-Austin/e/B001HONXM0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1470603150&sr=1-2> , Bruce's present inquiry came to mind. I share an interest in making those connections Bruce sensed at work in LD. Authenticity for how those primary sources impacted LD's trajectory in the larger picture can be the proverbial straw--snake that spooked the horse.  Hear Sam Harris <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Az1JyDJ_iKU> from my media-complex broadcasting "truth" from Youtube. It reminds one, anachronistically, of LD's reconstructing an empire passing in Bitter Lemons.  (Except LD was in the middle of things, agent-extraordinaire, not podcasting from an insular digitized studio where a tattooed DJ-interviewer lauds him as "super smart wizard."[dide]) I liked Noam <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjfBBNW0ZvU> better. In Austin's text, "Consciousness wills its own freedom, only to find itself in the snare of the unconscious." So we might say a us nemesis was literal incarnation of a particular presidential candidate (listen for "weird paradox <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA3RXxV25S0>").  So where LD referenced "primary sources" with respect for Norman's Numinous Ground, I'm struggling there right now.  Norman wrote, "Much of modern psychological theory, with its talk of object relations, and its fascinations with mirrors that reflect more or less spurious images, suggests, by implication at least, that our alienation is inexorable." (24)  (hear "both a  <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY7WrX98I2o>narcissist <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY7WrX98I2o> and a psychopath... <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY7WrX98I2o>") 
> So I'm selling burden to respondents of ilds who'll carry my wish for connections to primary sources and where it led, if possible, so  can connect.  Austin connected st chapter with a universal referent:
> "In responding to his mother's smile, the baby discovers himself as the signifier, both sign and sign-maker, for his mother. I am amused to discover that I am the smile on the face of that other person. The exchange of smiles between mother and child may, in time, be veiled with every kind of ambivalence, but the baby's first smile is as yet uncontaminated by the difference between subject and object, or between subject and signifier. This first mirroring of smiles is pure play, the gift mother and child give to each other, as one subject recognizing another. With his smile the baby makes his first discovery of himself as the creator, the I AM [ Coleridge cited earlier ] at the center of the world. The baby's smile,signifier mimicking signifier, is the first sign of awakening self-consciousness. " (28)
> Ric Wilson
> Message: 1
> Date: Sun, 7 Aug 2016 10:22:54 -0700
> From: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net <mailto:bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>>
> To: Sumantra Nag <ILDS at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ILDS at lists.uvic.ca>>
> Cc: Richard Pine <durrelllibrarycorfu at gmail.com <mailto:durrelllibrarycorfu at gmail.com>>,       Bruce Redwine
>         <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net <mailto:bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>>
> Subject: [ilds] Gnosticism
> Message-ID: <BA62293A-E99A-4B43-9DCE-122AB21AE19D at earthlink.net <mailto:BA62293A-E99A-4B43-9DCE-122AB21AE19D at earthlink.net>>
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> In Mindscape (2005), Richard Pine notes that ?gnosticism ? fuels Durrell?s writings from its earliest stages? (p. 24).  (Pine?s use of lower case g suggests a history of ?secret knowledge? other than what is regarded as an early Christian movement of the second or third century CE, identified with an upper case G.)  But how familiar was Durrell with Gnostic literature, as primarily seen in the Nag Hammadi corpus (discovered in Upper Egypt around the end of 1945)?  Gnosticism first appears in the Quartet, but Durrell?s knowledge of that came via Forster?s Alexandria.  So his knowledge was based on secondary literature, not the primary sources as they began appearing in print after or near the completion of the Quartet in 1960.  The Gospel of Thomas was first published in English translation in 1959.  James Robinson?s authoritative The Nag Hammadi Library in English came out in 1977 (later revised in 1988).  Gnosticism has a big role in the Quintet.  Did Durrell study the prim!
>  ary texts?  Any evidence of that?
> Bruce

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