Durrell spent most of his life outside England and had little sympathy with the English character. He was educated in India until he reached age 11 and moved in to the island of Corfu. Durrell wrote several books of poetry and prose before the publication of The Alexandria Quartet , composed of Justine , Balthazar , Mountolive , and Clea The lush and sensuous tetralogy became a best-seller and won high critical esteem. The first three volumes described, from different viewpoints, a series of events in Alexandria before World War II; the fourth carried the story forward into the war years. By its subjective narrative structure The Alexandria Quartet demonstrates one of its main themes: the relativity of truth.
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The four novels follow this pattern. They interlap, interweave, in a purely spatial relation. Time is stayed. The fourth part alone will represent time and be a true sequel. Inhabited by absurd fears, they only discuss the puerilities with which every fool is familiar and dare not, by turning a bold hand to the human heart, offer its gigantic idiosyncrasies to our view. Part One[ edit ] This section is given over to the story of the Interlinear, and quickly and unceremoniously undermines all the "facts" of Justine.
Balthazar arrives on a passing steam-boat with the loose-leafed Inter-Linear — as the narrative manuscript that Darley, the Narrator had sent to Balthazar in Alexandria is now "seared and starred by a massive interlinear of sentences, paragraphs and question marks It was cross-hatched, crabbed, starred with questions and answers in different coloured inks, in typescript.
Profligacy and sentimentality This was Alexandria, the unconsciously poetical mother-city exemplified in the names and faces which made up her history. Part Four[ edit ] This section is given over to reminiscences of Clea in which Balthazar reveals to Darley that while he had short-sightedly been caught up in his intrigue with Justine, and finding solace from its emotional fall-out in the arms of Melissa — the person who "really loved" him was Clea.
This section works best if read closely before starting Clea. Meditation on "Modern Love"[ edit ] This article possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. Nothing except the act of physical love tells us this truth about one another By God, what a woman she would be if she were really natural and felt no guilt!
Concentration on the love-object and possession are the poisons. Even Mountolive was described by Durrell as "a straight naturalistic narrative" — as is Clea with its usual fulfilment of plot devices like temporal progression, conflict and denouement. Balthazar alone stands ironically apart, thanks to its mordant interlinear. Or "As for Pursewarden, he believed with Rilke that no woman adds anything to the sum of Woman, and from satiety he had now taken refuge in the plenty of the imagination — the true field of merit for the artist Who knows?
Here we are quarreling like a couple of newly-weds. Dreadful isogamy of the Perfect Match
Both of his parents were also born in India. At age eleven he was sent to England which he found dreary. He failed his exams and resolved to become a writer, though he had various jobs in England including one as a jazz pianist. He went to Paris where he wrote his first novel, which was not a success so he invented a pseudonym — Charles Norden — for the second one, Panic Spring. At this time he was also writing poetry but with equal lack of success. In he managed to persuade his mother, wife Nancy Myers and siblings to move to the warmer climate of Corfu, both to save money but also because it was warmer.
He had three younger siblings— two brothers and a sister. Like many other children of the British Raj, at the age of eleven, Durrell was sent to England for schooling, where he briefly attended St. His formal education was unsuccessful, and he failed his university entrance examinations. He began to write poetry seriously at the age of fifteen. His first collection, Quaint Fragments, was published in , when he was
The Modern Novel