[ilds] Evaluating the Quintet

Richard Pine pinedurrellcorfu at gmail.com
Tue Oct 4 23:03:56 PDT 2016


I think what continued to resonate with LD about "Kim" was the fact that
like Kipling LD had been born there and as we know deeply resented 'losing'
his Indian childhood; that Kim was, as LD supposed himself to be,
Anglo-Irish; and that he had known something of Kim's early years - Walsh
in Pied Piper of Lovers has a lot in common with Kim. On the other hand,
Forster was a 'travel writer' in India and however much he empathised with
Indians, he didn't have that background. See what LD says about Kim, quoted
in my book "Mindscape" (readable online on the DLC website - pp. 43-46 and
123-126 especially).
RP

On Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 1:29 AM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
wrote:

> Richard, you’ve mentioned Kipling’s *Kim* before in this context.  I’ll
> have to reread it in the way you suggest.  I must have missed something,
> but I can imagine what Said probably said.  I wonder why Durrell didn’t
> keep Forster’s *Passage to India* as a “bedside book.”  It seems equally
> relevant.  Forster, by the way, didn’t like Durrell and his brand of
> Romanticism and didn’t say nice things about him in private.  Durrell, on
> the other hand, was very gracious towards E. M.
>
> Bruce
>
>
>
>
>
> On Oct 4, 2016, at 2:29 PM, Richard Pine <pinedurrellcorfu at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> To appreciate the east-west tension in LD - and particularly the Quintet -
> it's helpful to look at Kipling's *Kim* - which LD called his 'bedside
> book' - and to look also at the ways western critics have tried to engage
> with this tension - and then to look at the ways non-western critics like
> Said and Chaudhuri have read *Kim*.
> RP
>
> On Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 12:19 AM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
> > wrote:
>
>> Ravi,
>>
>> I like the contrast between Durrell’s *Constance* and Tennyson’s
>> “Ulysses”:  to yield v. not to yield.  I think you’re absolutely right in
>> this.  That’s the Indian metaphysics of Durrell’s philosophy, which is very
>> un-Western.  As to the rest of the *Quintet,* it has so many aspects
>> (and defects) that readers will be puzzling over these for years to come.
>> I don’t think, however, that Durrell himself was ever “happy.”  In this
>> regard, he was Odyssean, “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
>>  What he advocated was not necessarily what he practiced.
>>
>> Bruce
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Sep 28, 2016, at 8:14 PM, Ravi Nambiar <cnncravi at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> Bruce
>> Thanks for your expert comments. You are hundred percent right.* The
>> Quintet* may/will get the fate of *The Revolt*. I don't speak
>> authoritatively at all. I am a humble admirer of Durrell. I just quoted
>> Durrell's own words (so that I can escape) only to show that he had not
>> anticipated a Quartet-type audience for his Quintet ("The book is really
>> written for learned people."); and, in spite of that, he claimed this
>> novel his best. My only contention is that it is too early to write off
>> this novel as a failure. Also, there are some fine parts which our young
>> scholars could/should pursue. Our negative (final) judgement should not, I
>> feel, discourage anyone from going into its by-lanes. For example, I liked
>> the contrast Durrell made to the concept of Victorian heroism with a/the
>> modern heroism: replacing the slogan, "to strive, to seek, to find and not
>> to yield" with the slogan, "to surrender, to yield, to abdicate and
>> receive" (*Constance* 269). I don't think substituting the  heroism of
>> Ulysses with that of a Yogi is any kind of philosophy or a bad philosophy.
>> Yoga is popular now. Durrell's concern was to make his character seek
>> happiness, inner happiness, a kind of"bliss-side up" life (the first half
>> of the novel was the war-ridden world). That is why I called his novel
>> "Eudaemonistic" novel, the type of novel making its theme as a system of
>> ethics that evaluates actions (heroism) in terms of their capacity to produce
>> happiness. The Quintet may be a failure, but, it certainly gives some
>> narrative clues to future writers. We have had enough of realism,
>> surrealism, magic realism, and so on. Why not try metarealism also?
>> My apology to all those who disagree with me. Let us agree to disagree
>> for the sake of literature.
>> Best
>> Ravi
>>
>>
>
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