- The Alexandria Quartet
infobox Book |
name = The Alexandria Quartet
image caption = First UK editions
language = English
The Alexandria Quartet
Faber & Faber(UK) & Dutton(US)
release_date = 1962
media_type = Print (Hardback &
pages = 884 pp (Faber edition)
isbn = ISBN 0571086098 (paperback edition)
The Revolt of Aphrodite
"The Alexandria Quartet" is a
tetralogyof novels by British writer Lawrence Durrell, published between 1957 and 1960. A critical and commercial success, the books present four perspectives on a single set of events and characters in Alexandria, Egypt, before and during World War II.
As Durrell explains in his preface to "Balthazar", the four novels are an exploration of relativity and the notions of continuum and subject-object relation, with modern love as the subject. The "Quartet" offers the same sequence of events to us through several points of view, allowing individual perspectives to change over time.
In a 1959 "
Paris Review" interview [cite web
title=Lawrence Durrell: The Art of Fiction No. 23 (interview)
publisher=The Paris Review
accessdate=2006-07-01 pp. 26-27.] , Durrell described the ideas behind the "Quartet" in terms of a convergence of Eastern and Western metaphysics, based on Einstein's overturning of the old view of the material universe, and Freud's doing the same for the concept of stable personalities, yielding a new concept of reality. For all the novels' experiments with chronology and viewpoint, for many readers the appeal lies in the luxurious beauty of the writing; it is difficult to find writing that so prodigiously and intricately recreates atmosphere, place and fleeting emotion with such style.
Allusions in other works
The characters and their plights in these novels are briefly referred to in a scene between Dustin Hoffman and Will Ferrell in the movie "Stranger Than Fiction" (2006). The following is written on the chalkboard behind them: "Liza's blindness, Clea's amputated hand, Leila's smallpox, Justine's stroke, Pombal's gout." fact|date=December 2007
*Haag, Michael. "Alexandria: City of Memory". London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004.
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