chapter  1
Learning from Fakes: Memoir, Confessional Ethics, and the Limits of Genre
ByLEIGH GILMORE
Pages 15

Lawrence Durrell subtly conflates three groups who frequented Avignon Quintet the Templars, the Gnostics, and the gypsies into one group of dissenters who represent alternative ways of viewing the world and living in it. Although many would argue with Ludwig Wittgenstein's equation of ethics and aesthetics expressed in the epigraph to this chapter, Durrell's Avignon demonstrates precisely how literary form is capable of reflecting literary content. The Quintet is a war novel of epic proportions that portrays one of the darkest epochs in human history. The Quintet is not only about historical events, but also about how the artist renders and makes visible the significance of such events and in so doing adds to humankind's fund of knowledge. The fact that the Quintet is a quintessentially postmodern text leads to an ironic counterintuitive tentative hypothesis: that the more fictional or metafictional the text, the better equipped it may be to communicate the more difficult and complex realities of human experience.