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South Wind von Norman Douglas
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South Wind (1925. Auflage)

von Norman Douglas

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
517836,105 (3.71)38
The bishop was feeling rather sea-sick. Confoundedly sea-sick, in fact. An Anglican bishop, on recuperative leave from his African diocese, alights at the island of Nepenthe for a short stay on his passage to England. Soon he is caught up in the wild and exuberant antics of visitors and residents. Norman Douglas's famed, and infamous, novel of Capri is a hedonistic journey and an unforgettable classic.… (mehr)
Mitglied:GeorgeCMarshall
Titel:South Wind
Autoren:Norman Douglas
Info:New York, Boni and Liveright [c1925]
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
Bewertung:
Tags:Library; Shelf 32

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South Wind von Norman Douglas

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Mr Heard, an Anglican bishop returning to England from his African diocese, stops off for a few weeks on the pleasant Mediterranean island of Nepenthe, a fictitious Italian outpost that might easily be confused with Sicily. Despite the enthusiastic cult of two local saints, Eulalia and Dodekanus, whose unlikely careers are still nothing like as extraordinary as those of the real saints Douglas describes in Old Calabria, and the efforts of the formidable parocco (called "Torquemada" by his rival, the worldly Mgr Francesco), it's very obvious that the old gods have a lot more to say here than those of any new-fangled Judeo-Christian religions, and the colourful expat community of art-lovers, alcoholics and fugitives from justice are more than a little affected by the general atmosphere of paganism too, especially when the Sirocco blows from Africa (as it almost invariably does). Murders and mysterious disappearances are almost incidental to the feeling of being outside the normal responsibilities of life that the island induces.

The mood of this bit of pre-WWI escapism is somewhere between E.M. Forster and Ronald Firbank: lots of erudite conversations about art and culture, lots of jokes about English and Italian national characteristics, not quite serious enough for the one or frivolous enough for the other. But very entertaining. ( )
  thorold | Apr 6, 2020 |
South Wind is a unique novel. Rather than presenting a traditional plot it seems like an olio or mixture of lectures and observations on various, often obscure, aspects of geology, climatology, history, morality, religion, and folklore, among other topics. The author's use of articulate characters confined to a restricted setting allows for ample airing of views and recalls the methods of English novelist Thomas Love Peacock, whose country house novels were once very popular.

South Wind’s setting itself becomes a character as the island Nepenthe, which is not to be found on a map, comes alive as the narrative progresses. The literary reference is to the magical potion given to Helen by Polydamna the wife of the noble Egyptian Thon; it quells all sorrows with forgetfulness; figuratively, nepenthe means "that which chases away sorrow" (Odyssey, Book 4, v. 219–221). However, it is usually considered a fictional version of the isle of Capri, about which Douglas wrote a series of scholarly pamphlets and upon which he was living when he completed South Wind. It reminded me of Shirley Hazzard's literary meditation, Greene on Capri in which she also captured the essence of the island. She also noted the friendship between Graham Greene and Douglas in the late 1940's when Greene first began to frequent the isle, "he had the company, when he chose, of a handful of lively and literary resident compatriots . . . [and] had enjoyed the last effulgence of Norman Douglas . . ."(Greene on Capri, p 47)

Douglas did not deny his novel’s debt to a real location but insisted that Ischia, Ponza, and the Lipari Islands (all lying off the southwest coast of Italy) were the actual sources for Nepenthe’s natural scenery. Douglas even incorporated a version of his observations regarding the pumice stone industry of the Lipari Islands, the subject of one of his first publications. Douglas’s creation had deep roots in his own experience—the details of which he drew upon heavily.

The novel’s characters are the result of much the same observational mode which allows the reader, if he is willing, to gradually develop an acquaintance with the place through the idiosyncrasies of the characters. An example may suffice: "Mr. Keith was a perfect host. He had the right word for everybody; his infectious conviviality made them all straightaway at their ease. The overdressed native ladies, the priests and officials moving about in prim little circles, were charmed with his affable manner 'so different from most Englishmen';" (p 131)

One or two characters may be based on historically obscure acquaintances of Douglas, but others are little more than personifications of facets of their author’s own personality. The voluble Mr. Keith is most likely a spokesman for Douglas’s hedonistic views, and Mr. Eames and Count Caloveglia represent Douglas’s scholarly and antiquarian interests. All are perfectly adequate mouthpieces, but none emerges as rounded or particularly memorable outside of the group.

Several British writers of Greene’s generation were directly influenced by Douglas in general and by South Wind in particular. Aldous Huxley’s satirical novels Crome Yellow (1921, in which Douglas appears as the character Scrogan), Antic Hay (1923), and Point Counter Point (1928) bear its stamp. Greene himself generally wrote books of a darker character, but his lighter comic novel Travels with My Aunt (1969) bears similarities to South Wind. Douglas's erudite yet pleasant style reminds me a bit of Lawrence Durrell. Needless to say this is an engaging novel with plenty of interesting characters that more than offset the lack of a robust plot. ( )
2 abstimmen jwhenderson | Aug 25, 2017 |
Not sure why this work is so highly rated. ( )
  JayLivernois | Nov 16, 2015 |
Overall, I think I enjoyed this novel, but I'm not entirely sure. I was amused by the way that it almost seemed to have a life of it's own, meandering away from any semblance of plot into chapters describing the foibles of the inhabitants of Nepenthe, before bringing itself back with a jerk to the action at hand. The characters are vividly drawn for the most part, and likeable in their own flawed ways.

I wouldn't recommend this novel to anyone who is irritated by a lack of plot, but otherwise, it's an entertaining enough read. Not good enough to inspire me to seek out other works by the same author though. ( )
  cazfrancis | Mar 12, 2011 |
407. South Wind, by Norman Douglas (read 20 Jan 1952) When I read this I found it stupid in its "daring." It is akin to Cabell's Jurgen, and almost as dull. Heard, the bishop, after a stay on the island of Nepenthe (Capri) ends up approving murder in a particular case. The whole picture of ridicule at all sorts of things struck me as only inane. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jan 9, 2011 |
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» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (6 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Norman DouglasHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Angelo, ValentiIllustratorCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Austen, JohnIllustratorCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Petrina, CarlottaIllustratorCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Van Doren, CarlVorwortCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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The bishop was feeling rather sea-sick.
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I don't want to discuss things. I want to listen to the opinions of a man so different from myself as you are. It may do me good.
I live sensibly. Shall I give you my recipe for happiness? I find everything useful and nothing indispensable. I find everything wonderful and nothing miraculous. I reverence the body. I avoid first causes like the plague.
You have nothing but nice people around you, Duchess. Why should you want to read about them? There is so much goodness in real life. Do let us keep it out of our books.
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The bishop was feeling rather sea-sick. Confoundedly sea-sick, in fact. An Anglican bishop, on recuperative leave from his African diocese, alights at the island of Nepenthe for a short stay on his passage to England. Soon he is caught up in the wild and exuberant antics of visitors and residents. Norman Douglas's famed, and infamous, novel of Capri is a hedonistic journey and an unforgettable classic.

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