From the Elephant's Back
Collected Essays & Travel Writings
"the proverb says that whoever sees the world from the back of an elephant learns the secrets of the jungle and becomes a seer. I had to be content to become a poet."
Best known for his novels and travel writing, Lawrence Durrell defied easy classification within twentieth-century Modernism. His anti-authoritarian tendencies put him at odds with many contemporaries—aesthetically and politically. However, thanks to a compelling recontextualization by editor James Gifford, these thirty-eight previously unpublished and out-of-print essays and letters reveal that Durrell's maturation as an artist was rich, complex, and subtle. Durrell fans will treasure this selection of rare nonfiction, while scholars of Durrell, Modernist literature, anti-authoritarian artists, and the Personalist movement will also appreciate Gifford's fine editorial work.
"Gifford's scholarly command of the archives shows—especially his working intimacy with the unpublished archived words of Durrell's editors, publishers, and collaborators. I have no doubt that this collection will serve as a starting point for any number of new critical ventures into the life and writing of Lawrence Durrell."
—Charles Sligh, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
About the Authors
"...buy the book for Durrell's wit, elegance, philosophy, joie de vivre and flaming intelligence."—Richard Pine, The Irish Times
"A century after Durrell's birth, readers will find Gifford's reconsideration necessary to that century's understanding of itself."
"The result is that this edition promises to open up new approaches to interpreting Durrell's more famous work. Durrell fans will treasure the book's selection of rare nonfiction, while scholars of Durrell, modernist literature, anti-authoritarian artists, and the Personalist movement will also appreciate Gifford's fine editorial work."—CAUT Bulletin
"[T]he interest of this volume does not only lie in the immeasurable wealth of Durrellian archives that are brought to the reader's knowledge: it also sketches out the fascinating portrait of an artist engaged in the creative production of his generation so that readers of Shakespeare, Wordsworth, T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Richard Aldington, Cavafy, and Seferis will discover fascinating pieces of critical analysis where they may least have expected to.... The final part devoted to travel writing will similarly edify and stimulate both Durrell's readers and all those who seek to understand the refinements of the genre." [Full review at http://ebc.revues.org/3502]—Isabelle Keller-Privat, Études britanniques contemporaines
Other Titles by James Gifford
Other Titles in LITERARY COLLECTIONS / Essays