James Gifford deposited Vassanji’s Toronto and Durrell’s Alexandria: The View from Across or the View from Beside? in the group LLC Canadian on MLA Commons 4 years, 3 months ago
The British and Canadian authors Lawrence Durrell and M. G. Vassanji do not, at first thought, call out for a comparative study. Neither are typically regarded in criticism through their origins or ethnicity. The focus instead goes to their characters and subject matter, their cosmopolitan experiences. Confusions surrounding both authors have limited biographical studies, and their distinct prose styles limit their immediate affinities—Durrell is known for lush writing and playfulness with textuality while Vassanji’s terse and conversational diction is paratactical. Nevertheless, Vassanji provokes readers to make comparisons on precisely these terms, though he has acknowledged the unexpected nature of his suggestion—in 2002 he delivered a public lecture on Lawrence Durrell in Ottawa, “The Boy in the Street: The View from Across.” They are tied through the “fact of imperial rule,” which neither could escape and that distorts their perspectives. Vassanji’s conjecture is the crux of my argument.