Sunday, October 22

The Alexandria Quartet: 'Love is every sort of conspiracy'

A Coptic funeral in Mohammed Ali Square, Alexandria, early twentieth century.
"Lawrence Durrell claimed that the four books of The Alexandria Quartet were 'an investigation of modern love'. It's possible to take that idea at face value. Some have even used it as a stick with which to beat him. Notably, his Guardian obituarist (writing in 1990, at a time when Durrell's reputation was possibly at its lowest ebb) said 'a harsh judgment' of his masterpiece might be that it was 'a four-volume romantic novel written by a poet steeped in Freud and on nodding terms with Einstein'. I'm guessing from the warm response the books have had from this month's Reading Group that most of you reading this will see that as an absurd rather than just a harsh judgment. Even if we accept that Durrell was only concerned with romantic love, that gives us endless scope for discussion – as Reading Group contributor Wheldrake has pointed out. ..."
Lawrence Durrell's Egypt 

2011 December: The Alexandria Quartet - Lawrence Durrell, 2013 September: Villa that inspired Lawrence Durrell faces demolition, as Egypt allows heritage to crumble, 2014 August: Prospero’s Cell (1945), 2015 April: Bitter Lemons (1953–1956), 2015 May: Caesar's Vast Ghost: Aspects of Provence, 2016 July: Reflections on a Marine Venus (1953), 2016 September: The Greek Islands, 2016 October: Justine (1957), 2017 February: Balthazar (1958), 2017 April: Mountolive (1958), 2017 May: Clea (1960)

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