[ilds] LD IS ALIVE AND WELL IN DL15

Kennedy Gammage gammage.kennedy at gmail.com
Fri May 25 16:19:24 PDT 2018


Kudos to Anna Lillios for bringing out another number of DEUS LOCI. It’s a
stimulating read for Durrell fans as always.

Isabell Keller-Privat kicks off the essays with ALCHEMICAL DISTORTIONS IN
LAWRENCE DURRELL’S ALEXANDRIA QUARTET which sends us to Clea and
Capodistria’s tale of the homunculi from roughly p. 190 of my Washington
Square Press paperback.

Samuel Kessler follows with “A MIGHTY SHIFTY STRANGENESS”: TIME, MEMORY AND
NARRATIVE IN DURRELL’S AVIGNON QUINTET where he investigates “questions
about time, the writing and recording of memory, and the quest to convey
meaning and experience in literary fiction.” I always welcome new
perspectives on the Quintet and there are several in this volume. There’s a
typo at the bottom of page 22: ‘…the “real” Hilary, Livia, Constance, and
Sebastian’ – that last name should be Sam. Ultimately Kessler concludes
that AQII is ‘a prose-poem about the relationship between time, history and
memory.’ I disagree when he says “Monsieur is to be that center, the point
that transforms it from a square to a quincunx.” In his notes on page 37 he
quotes A.S. Byatt marveling at how ‘brave’ Durrell was for ‘inventing a
novelist who was writing a novel about a character and then making that
novelist walk into the character as if both these people were now in the
same story.’ I guess she didn’t read much science fiction. Check out
Herovit’s World by Barry N. Malzberg (Random House 1973.)

Next up: THE ROLE OF LIVIA IN THE AVIGNON QUINTET by C. Ravindran Nambiar.
Interesting – such an enigmatic character. The dark-haired girl who gives
Blanford a chubby when she says ‘Oh. You are a poet’ and the haunted
one-eyed Nazi are the same person.

In the first of two articles on the subject, MORE BITTER LEMONS: GEORGE
TARDIO’S POEM “AFTER THE LEMONS” by Petra Tourney-Theodotou, she quotes
Seferis’s poem “In the Kyrenia District” – which is a poem about Durrell!
Really enjoyed his tone of voice – no wonder he won the Nobel Prize. I
almost feel moved to stand up for Durrell. As Curley Howard might say, he
was a victim of circumstance. Did LD really ignore the entreaties of his
blind acquaintance Clitos to help him find a doctor? Everyone seems to
think so.

I really enjoyed UNHOMELY, UNCANNY, UNMODERN? FINDING A HOME FOR THE
AVIGNON QUINTET by James Clawson. I hadn’t thought about it, that the
rotten houses symbolized the rot of the world during the lead-up to and
then WWII. And I had completely missed this Felix Chatto (i.e. happy house)
quest to find the lost chateau Bravedent! There is always more to discover
re-reading Durrell. Kudos to Diane Vipond for rising above the ‘postmodern’
orthodoxy to label the Quintet uncanny. But those of us who grew up during
the “new wave” of 1960s’ SF would advise you to call it Speculative Fiction
– the preferred marriage of science-fiction and fantasy of the time. Please
take another look at my own OMG paper on the Quintet, published by Paul
Herron in A Café in Space volume 9, 2012.

MINORITY IN PERSPECTIVE: LAWRENCE DURRELL’S BITTER LEMONS AND THE CYPRUS
PROBLEM by Barish Ali starts with a recap of the latest history of the
political stalemate on the island – which made me suddenly realize:
“Durrell didn’t cause it!” Interesting what happens when you write an
enduring book like this: it make’s Durrell’s story larger (and longer) than
his own life. It put a big target on his back, right? Colonialist!
Propagandist! Ali does a great job focusing the discussion and then pulling
back to a wider perspective. Love the cartoon on page 95. That was
interesting, Don Kaczvinsky pointing out the similarity between the two
schoolmasters, Durrell (on Cyprus) and his character Darley. In retrospect,
it’s funny but absurd that the English considered the Cypriots to be
British. One hopes for future peace there.

The POETRY is uniformly excellent as usual. Funny that everyone chose the
theme of “Drink” to refer to alcohol. Not sure you need a theme next time.

REVIEWS featured Gifford’s FROM THE ELEPHANT’S BACK and PERSONAL
MODERNISMS, MacNiven’s biography of James Laughlin the publisher of New
Directions, Ravindran’s Indian Metaphysics, Clawson’s Crossing the Liminal
– so a lot of ‘log-rolling’ going on.

Grove Koger’s Bibliography 2003-06 is heartening. The amount of Durrell
translations is amazing.

MY FINAL PRAYER: Re-reading the beginning of Marine Venus – so beautifully
written… WHO KNOWS SOMEONE AT FABER? PUT OUT A SMALL SPECIAL RUN OF UNCUT
MV WITHOUT THE RIDLER EDITS. I WILL BUY 2. Efkharisto!

KENNEDY GAMMAGE
PROUD MEMBER [ILDS]
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/ilds/attachments/20180525/c86b74a3/attachment.html>


More information about the ILDS mailing list