: Geez. A scholar could spend years unpacking
: the historical and literary nods in
: Whittemore's novels. EW's historical
: worldliness is incomparable, and his use of
: that knowledge in fiction dwarfs similar
: attempts by Pynchon and DeLillo. But they
: attain literary fame? Go figure.
: --Previous Message--
: Sorry for the Cairo/Alexandria mix-up.
: No luck with "Our Colly". Liffy
: sounds intriguing, too...
: It seems that Whittemore took
: "characters" (in both senses of
: the words) from real life, but adapted them
: to fit his novelistic ends, altering their
: names or the time/place they were associated
: A close reading of the texts can give some
: clues: for instance, the name of Burckhardt
: is mentioned in "Jericho Mosaic",
: with the Petra quote that is earlier
: attributed to Johann Luigi Szondi. Maybe
: another name will later on lead me to the
: "real" Colly, for instance...
: Back to work, with keyboard and magnifying
: PS : Cavafy's poems were translated into
: French by Marguerite Yourcenar, and are
: readily avalaible here.
: --Previous Message--
: I'm glad you came back to this thread, it's
: always intriguing discovering Whittemore's
: sources for his characters and localities.
: As far as I know no critic has ventured into
: this area of investigation or even thought
: of it.
: It does require some esoteric knowledge, so
: it is amazing to think of Whittemore using
: these obscure historical figures in building
: his characters.
: Regarding the Rue Lepsius, I believe it was
: Cavafy's address in Alexandria and the
: ground floor was a brothel. I think
: Whittemore's use of the street name for the
: location of the Hotel Babylon (a former
: brothel too) in Cairo is a nod to both
: Durrell and Cavafy. Cavafy is referred to in
: the Alexandria Quartet as "the old poet
: of the city".
: It was Durrell and EM Forster who raised
: Western awareness of Cavafy's poetry in the
: 1950s/60s. I have a copy of Cavafy's
: complete poems which I purchased back in the
: late 60s, early 70s. He was trendy then, as
: was the Alexandria Quartet.
: I've tried to search out the source of Our
: Colly of Champagne with no success, though I
: am sure there must be some historical
: personage with similar exploits.
: I keenly look forward to further revelations
: from Nile Shadows and really appreciate you
: sharing your discoveries with the rest of
: us, Jean-Daniel.
« Back to index | View thread »