This page contains essays and theses relating principally to the work of Lawrence Durrell, as novelist, playwright, poet, and ‘foreign residence writer’.
If you wish to include your work in this page, send, in the first instance, an email of enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org, stating the nature of the work, a brief synopsis, the date of composition, your academic or professional association (if any), and confirming that you have permission for it to be included, free of copyright issues, on the website of the Durrell Library of Corfu.
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1. Essays, conference papers, lectures, relating to LAWRENCE DURRELL
Some are time-sensitive (for example, conference papers) in that they relate to the specific event for which they are written. We do not propose to edit any contributions of this nature, but to include them as examples of the time at which they were written/presented.
- 1. Corfu in the Works of Lawrence and Gerald Durrell (2010)
- 2. LAWRENCE DURRELL’S ‘MINOR MYTHOLOGIES’ (2005)
- 3. War, Agon and the Greek Literary Imagination war-agon-and-the-greek-literary-imagination
- 4. Lawrence Durrell at the borders (2005)
- 5. DURRELLCENTENARYLECTURE (2012)
2. Theses (PhD, Masters) relating to Lawrence Durrell
Scroll down to find abstracts of theses by:
- Ali, Zahra Ahmed Hussein. “Between Shaharazad and Marcel Proust: Narrative Techniques in The Alexandria Quartet.” Diss, Brown University, 1986.
- Beard, Pauline. “A Riddling Thing: A Study of Time in Five 20th Century Novels.” State University of New York at Binghampton, 1986.
- Becker, Balthazar, “Cosmopolitan Corporealities: Extraordinary Bodies and the Politics of Remembering Mid-Twentieth Century Egyptian Pluralism”, City University of New York, 2016
Bratcher, Joe Warlick III. “An Alexandrian Trio: Three Anti-Foundational Readings of Lawrence Durrell’s ‘Alexandria Quartet’.” Diss, University of Texas, Austin, 1993.
Burriss, William S. “In Alien Lands: Modernist Fictions of Non-Western Cultures.” Diss., Indiana University, 2000
Dill, Janet E. “The Space-Time Novel As A Message Event: ‘Pursewarden’s Suicide.” Thes., York University, 1985.
- Dimirouli, Foteini “Cavafy hero: literary appropriations and cultural projections of the poet in english and american literature” Oxford University, 2014
Doutis, Demetrius Evangelos. “The Image Of Greece In The Works Of Six British And American Authors.” Diss., University of South Carolina, 1983.
- Duatis, Diego Delgado, “The Hellenic World of Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell” Thesis, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain, 2016
- Elefant-Dietz, Anny Catherine. “The Minotaur in Twentieth Century Literature.” Diss., New York University, 1981.
- Fertile, Candace “Love and Narrative in the Novels of Lawrence Durrell.” Diss., University of Alberta. (Ann Arbor: UMI, 1989)
- Forbes, Joan, “Despair, Repentance, and Love”: Durrell’s Remedial Cycle”, Thesis, McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario 1989
- Fordham, Glenn Wayne Jr. “The Psychological Orientation Towards Growth in Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet.” diss., Univesity of North Texas, 1981.
- Gifford, James: “”The Unknown Is Constant”: The Fiction and Literary Relationship of Lawrence Durrell and Henry Miller.” Diss., University of Alberta, 2006.
- Giovannucci, Perri. “The Modernizing Mission: Literature and Development in North Africa.” Diss., University of Miami, 2005.
- Grant, Joanna “Journeys to Barbary: Modernism’s Middle East” University of Rochester 2007
- Hall, Tessa F. “Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet: Conflicting Metaphysics and the Escape From Alexandria.” Diss., University of Oxford, 1988
- Hecht, Izaak, “”I Am Obstinate…I Disappear”: Toward a Communism of Reading A Lacanian Thesis” Thesis, Bard College, Simon’s Rock, 2015.
- Kaufman, Barbara. “Once Upon A Time: Training Tales in Family Therapy.” Diss., Nova University, 1992.
- Keller, Isabelle, “L’Anamorphose Dans L’Oeuvre Romanesque De Lawrence Durrell.” Diss., Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail, 2002.
- Kreuiter, Allyson, “The elegant velvet glove: A textual and visual reading of the gothicised female form in Lawrence Durrell’s ‘The Alexandria Quartet‘” Thesis, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, 2014
- Lillios, Anna “Love in Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet.” Diss., University of Iowa, 1986.
- Lorenz, Paul, “Paths to Metamorphosis: The Quest for Whole Sight in Contemporary British Fiction.” Diss., University of Houston, 1988.
- MacDonald, Ann Carton. “ Spirit of Place: The Role of Landscape in the Poetry of Lawrence Durrell.” Thes., Carleton University.
- Mahmoud, Rania M., “Fictions of Revolution: Empire and Nation in Lawrence Durrell, Naguib Mahfouz, John Wilcox, and Bahaa Taher”, Thesis, University of Washington, Seattle 2014
- Meier, Candice Sue. “Reality and Truth in The Alexandria Quartet.” Thes., Drake University, 1983.
- Phillips-Peckosh, Claire Ellen. “Gender and Determinacy in the Space-Time Continuum: A Study of Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet.” Thes., Northeast Missouri State University.
- Ribera Goriz, Nuria. “Anais Nin: Writing As a Waking Dream.” Diss., Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain), 1993.
- Seigneurie, Kenneth Eric. “Space and the Colonial Encounter in Lawrence Durrell, Out El-Kouloub and Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt).” Diss., University of Michigan, 1996.
- Tauer, Kathrin, “Alexandria, princess and whore”: The City and its Exemplars in L. Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet University of Vienna 2010
- Todd, Daniel Ray. “An Annotated, Enumerative Bibliography of the Criticism of Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet and His Travel Works.” Diss., Tulane University.
- Vipond, Diane, “Art, Artist, Ans Aesthetics In Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet.” diss., York University.
- Youssef, Hala Youssef Halim. “The Alexandria Archive: An Archaeology of Alexadrian
Cosmopolitanism.” Diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2004.
- Zahlan, Anne, “The Burden Slips: The Literary Expatriate In British Fiction, Before And After World War II.” diss., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- Ali, Zahra Ahmed Hussein. “Between Shaharazad and Marcel Proust: Narrative Techniques in The Alexandria Quartet.” Diss, Brown University, 1986. (UMI 8519799)
Abstract: Lawrence Durrell’s major novel has not received the critical attention it deserves, because often it is approached through the concepts of traditional realism, or is seen merely as a literary expression of Einstein’s physical concepts. Durrell, however, is the heir of many traditions; his work combines elements of classicism and experimentalism. Perhaps the term ‘arabesque’ describes more comprehensively Durrell’s art. This term is redefined and expanded to include different characteristics of the Quartet: its metafictional nature, its spatial form (its elimination of time), its baroque qualities, and its thematic and technical affinities with Arabic story telling. Primarily, the dissertation is a close structural reading based on Gerald Genette’s
theory. Nevertheless, concepts from other poeticians, notably Tzvetan Todorov and Roland Barthes, are employed to demonstrate Durrell’s arabesque art. The introduction is a short review of the prevailing critical approaches to the Quartet, and an explication of the dissertation’s methodology. Chapter I and II analyze the intricate web of the novel’s temporal scheme. Chapter I deals with the types of analepsis (flashbacks) in the text; Chapter II analyzes the interaction among the types of prolepsis (flashforwards). These two chapters prove that the constant re-interpretation of scene and the character’s metamorphoses from one narrative to another are coherent and not melodramatic. Chapter III discusses the Quartet’s tempo (rhythm). To define it, I examine the interaction between ‘duration’ (pause, scene, summary and ellipsis) and ‘frequency’ (the presence of the iterative, singulative and repetitive modes). Narrative tempo in Justine and Balthazar is erratic while in Mountolive and Clea it is regular. Nevertheless, each type of tempo is compatible with the dominant vision in each narrative. Chapter IV delineates the development of focus and voice in Darley’s narratives. The modal pattern of the Quartet gradually changes, repudiates its experimental trend and takes on a classical mode which is compatible in some of its significant aspects with Arabic story telling.
- Beard, Pauline. “A Riddling Thing: A Study of Time in Five 20th Century Novels.” State University of New York at Binghampton, 1986.Abstract: The study explores why the time scales of novels after 1900 become fragmented, how temporal settings shape the characters and events, how the readers’ culturally shared time concepts shape the narrative structure. Involved with these investigations, the question is raised why readers must move from passivity and take on the role of writers in the modern novel.
Research involved analysing the human response to time from the earliest concepts to modern day beliefs. The philosophies and theories of Bergson, Freud, Jung and Einstein were studied to show their influence on the novelists, and on the readers’ expectations about narrative structure. The five novels, Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood, Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet, Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, and Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler were studied in depth for structural devices with forge coherent,
chronological time scales, and aid the reader in pushing the narrative forward. Each novelist follows the beliefs of one, if not more, of the theorists of the age. Thus Faulkner adapts Bergson’s duration theories; Djuna Barnes follows Jung’s dream-timelessness; Durrell plays with an Einsteinian relativity; Vonnegut uses Freud’s method of free association in time, and Calvino melds a number of beliefs to demonstrate the plurality of time.
The study’s main result shows that as human beings become more time dominated, as they move from the natural rhythms of the earth to the robotized dictates of technology and science, narrative time becomes increasingly disrupted. As people lose control over outer-time, (the novels suggest that only children and the insane believe they have control), the writer seemingly abdicates control over his narrative-time, and the reader must play an active part in constructing the time scale of the novel. The two world wars exacerbate the disruptive process; the splitting of the atom and the nuclear bomb splinter man’s belief in continuity. Those people who can see a measure of continuity in the human state, who come to terms with time and accept its fragmentation and multiplicity, are most suitably equipped for surviving the postmodern age.
Becker, Balthazar, “Cosmopolitan Corporealities: Extraordinary Bodies and the Politics of Remembering Mid-Twentieth Century Egyptian Pluralism”, City University of New York, 2016
Mid-twentieth century Egypt is a pivotal site for our understanding of empire (both European and American) and of the construction of global identities. In order to critically examine the sustained nostalgia for a purportedly cosmopolitan Egyptian era, this dissertation stages a rereading of two canonical texts—Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet (1957-60) and André Aciman’s Out of Egypt (1994)—in the context of their respective creations at the beginnings of the Cold War and the “war on terror.” Opposing predominant narratives that render Egyptian post-coloniality in terms of loss, this project will then point to alternative texts—primarily David Graham Du Bois’ … And Bid Him Sing (1975) and Edward Said’s Out of Place (1999)—that recognize Egypt as a site of “critical cosmopolitanisms” and “post-colonial cosmopolitanisms” as well as anti-colonial, pan-African, and pan-Arab solidarity formation. Throughout, this study analyses the embodied experiences at the core of these texts, recognizing textual representations of extraordinary human bodies as sites where geopolitical, social, and cultural demands of the present moment are mapped out.
Bratcher, Joe Warlick III. “An Alexandrian Trio: Three Anti-Foundational Readings of Lawrence Durrell’s ‘Alexandria Quartet’.” Diss, University of Texas, Austin, 1993.
Abstract: In my dissertation I intend to develop three analytic readings of the Alexandria Quartet, which I shall regard as an exemplary model text that allows one to locate and articulate theoretical problems associated with the new historicism, deconstruction and Marxism. In particular, I intend to focus on such central proponents of these schools as Stephen Greenblatt, Paul de Man and Fredric Jameson. My approach will be metacritical and will rely upon current logically based theories deriving from antifoundationalist thinking, which allows me to construct my primary conceptual tool for exploring, with the Alexandria Quartet as my
vehicle, what I perceive to be central theoretical problems in current critical practice.
My primary conceptual tool is a binary dynamics involving activity and passivity relevant to the above schools and to the Alexandria Quartet. With Greenblatt, for instance, the process involves circulation and exchange, with de Man the incompatibility of literal and rhetorical reading and with Jameson the dialectical interplay between a text and its political unconscious.
And the exchange between active and passive response can be located in the Alexandria Quartet as, among other things, the desire to control ones own destiny or the willingness to give oneself over to forces beyond ones control. My argument is that Durrell’s treatment of this desire, or this willingness, suggests a set of epistemological perspectives which would draw each of these three critics to the Alexandria Quartet as a pardigmatic object for literary analysis. The problem arises in that each of these styles of literary criticism is ultimately foundational in nature and therefore runs into the hermeneutic and historicist quandaries that have sent contemporary critical movements practically into Durrell’s desert.
Burriss, William S. “In Alien Lands: Modernist Fictions of Non-Western Cultures.” Diss., Indiana University, 2000. (DAI: LXI-4-1416)
Abstract: This project examines the representation of non-western cultures in selected twentieth-century novelists from Britain and the United States. Edward Said’s study of the ideological purposes often shaping such representations informs my work, but I am particularly interested in ethnographic issues and how modernist critiques of western modernity are only occasionally accompanied by a greater respect for and appreciation of nonwestern cultures. By concentrating on elements in the novels that indicate the authors’ central concerns in depicting non-western cultures, I explore the ways in which their attitudes and approaches either inhibit or facilitate a further understanding of such cultures. The work of three novelists is considered in each of three central chapters which are based on the region
providing the immediate setting for the novels: Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim (1900), E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India (1924), and Anthony Burgess’s The Long Day Wanes (1964) in East Asia; Frederic Prokosch’s The Asiatics (1935), Paul Bowles’s The Sheltering Sky (1949), and Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet (1962) in the Middle East; and D. H. Lawrence’s The Plumed Serpent (1926), Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano (1947), and Jay Cantor’s The Death of Che Guevara (1983) in Latin America. While my analysis identifies the generalized assumptions, stereotypes, and contrived polarizations that are frequently used to represent non-western
cultural traditions, I give special attention to the works challenging or suggesting alternatives to these conventions. The novels of Forster, Prokosch, and Lowry develop perceptive, sympathetic approaches to non-western cultural histories and values that respond to such cultures rather than simply move away from or criticize the West through them. And in the work of these authors I find the most suggestive insights for moving beyond the ethnocentrism of western modernity and modernism.
Dill, Janet E. “The Space-Time Novel As A Message Event: ‘Pursewarden’s Suicide.” Thes., York University, 1985.
Abstract: In The Alexandria Quartet, Lawrence Durrell presents the ‘reality’ of events as a ‘paradox’ adopted from Einstein’s relativity theory. Since he adopts this view, events are not presented in a linear manner, and their ‘reality’ depends upon the character’s space-time frame. Each book in the Quartet adds a new dimension of knowledge and ‘new’ truths are added to the reader’s perception of ‘what really happened and why it happened’. The result of these accumulated viable messages is that the ‘truth’ of events becomes relative for the reader. The purpose of this research is to investigate the viable messages which are retrieved from the
retelling of the same gnostological message event (Pursewarden’s Suicide) in order to see if it is the ‘same’ tri-functionally (ideationally, interpersonally and textually). In addition, the relationship between the discoursal process of retelling and relativity as it relates to this event is examined. The result of this investigation shows that the message event of Pursewarden’s suicide, realized semiologically as an action-affective predication and its co-text in each of the four books of the Quartet, constitutes a characteristic, tri-functionally unique discoursal instance
each time the event is retold.
Dimirouli, Foteini “Cavafy hero: literary appropriations and cultural projections of the poet in english and american literature” Oxford University, 2014
The present thesis examines the way E.M. Forster, Lawrence Durrell, W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender, Joseph Brodsky, and James Merrill appropriated C.P. Cavafy in writings that were disseminated and consumed amongst culturally dominant literary circles, and which eventually determined the Greek-Alexandrian poet’s international reputation. I aim to contribute a new perspective on Cavafy, by evading the text-based tradition of reception studies, and proposing an alternative method of discussing the production of Cavafy’s canonical status. Inspired by Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological theory, I view literary canonization as involving a variety of factors at play beyond creative achievement: in particular, relationships of ‘authorial consecration’ whereby writers create and circulate cultural capital through their power to legitimize other artists. The critical and fictional texts I analyse perform readings of Cavafy’s poetry alongside imaginative portrayals of the poet’s life and personality. I take this complementary relationship – between the image of the poet each author projects and their reading of his work – as a starting point to explore the broader ideas of aesthetics and authorial subjectivity that inform the renderings of Cavafy generated by prominent literary figures. Rather than passive recipients of influence, these figures are considered as active agents in the production of ‘Cavafy narratives’, appropriating the poet according to their own agendas, while also projecting onto him their own position within the cultural field. Eventually, Cavafy becomes a point of insight into the multiplicity of networks and practices involved in the production of cultural currency; in turn, the study of the construction of Cavafy’s authorial identity sheds light on the cumulative processes that have defined the way the poet is read and perceived to the present day. This duality of perspective is essential to a study concerned with the cultural contexts framing the poet’s steady rise to international fame throughout the 20th century.
Doutis, Demetrius Evangelos. “The Image Of Greece In The Works Of Six British And American Authors.” Diss., University of South Carolina, 1983.
Abstract: This study explores the aspects of Greece that are projected in the works of the following authors, who at some time lived or are still living in Greece: Compton Mackenzie, Lawrence Durrell, Patrick Leigh Fermor, Henry Miller, Kevin Andrews, and James Merrill. The introduction deals with the development of the image of Greece in the nineteenth century. It traces the beginning of the classical-romantic view of the country which is based in part on the Hellenic classical past, and in part on Byron’s poems and his involvement in the Greek war of independence. Parallel to this view develops a more realistic view of the country which, however, remains secondary. Both the classical-romantic and the realistic views of Greece are
traced in the works of the more prominent English and American writers who visited Greece and wrote about their experiences there in the nineteenth as well as in the twentieth century.
In the main body of the dissertation a chapter is devoted to the works of each of the authors mentioned above. Although some stylistic matters are considered, the emphasis is on the image of the country revealed in the works of each writer. Detailed consideration is given to the national characteristics of the Greeks and to the Greek landscape. The attitude of each author toward the country is examined as well as his involvement or isolation from the local culture, and his awareness of social, economic, and political matters. Finally, what Greece means to each writer and what effect the country has had on his work are discussed. The study concludes
with a comparison of the six authors’ views on certain topics which contribute to the formation of a country’s image: landscape, character of the people, history, politics, and culture.
Duatis, Diego Delgado, “The Hellenic World of Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell” Thesis, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain, 2016
This dissertation analyzes the literary productions of two interconnected writers, Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell, while paying special attention to their works on the Greek world, and the influence that the Hellenic culture had on both authors through some modern Greek writers. This thesis demonstrates that Miller’s and Durrell’s contact with the Hellenic World and with certain Greek writers of the first half of the twentieth century strongly influenced them and permeated many of their works. Here, the term ‘Hellenic’ is employed as used by Cavafy, meaning the Greek culture as a continuum. That is to say, the cultural heritage of the Greek people as a group sharing the Greek language and a common set of values. This connection is found in three main areas of confluence among Durrell and Miller and the Greek authors that are here studied: the formers’ assimilation of the latter’s productions, the close intellectual and aesthetic affinities among all of them, and the decisive influence of the country that brought them together. Miller and Durrell played indeed an important role in spreading the knowledge of some modern Greek writers at an international level which still had not been sufficiently studied. Their personal and literary relationships with some of the members of the Greek “Generation of the 30s” pervaded their productions and philosophical discourses. Consequently, this dissertation also examines Durrell’ s and Miller’ s long mutual correspondence and their exchange of letters with some of these Greek intellectuals. This last aspect has involved working in several archives with collections related to Durrell, Miller, Seferis, and Sikelianos, which has resulted in the study of an extensive compilation of unpublished documents.
Elefant-Dietz, Anny Catherine. “The Minotaur in Twentieth Century Literature.” Diss., New York University, 1981.
Abstract: One of the main functions of contemporary mythopoesis is the recreation of ancient myths to conform with man’s needs and possibilities. As a result, contemporary writers invite their readers to interpret their experiences in the light of ancient myths. One such myth is that of the Minotaur, the monstrous half-man, half-bull hybrid, resident of Daedalus’ artifice—the Labyrinth.
The aim of this dissertation is the study of the meanings and functions of the Minotaur and its various patterns and representations in selected works of twentieth century literature. The analysis of the myth of the Minotaur and its central figure is undertaken from a comparative point of view and is based upon Jung’ analytical psychology wherever possible and feasible.
Consequently, the figure of the Minotaur is treated as an archetype, i.e., “a psychic content which has not been submitted to conscious elaboration.” (Jung) The sequence of divisions and of the works included in this study follow the Jungian concept of “individuation process” and the stadial development of ego-consciousness explored by the Jungian scholar and analyst, Erich Neumann.
As an archetype, the Minotaur is irrepresentable and undefinable except when it is filtered through consciousness and is projected as an archetypal image upon events or elements of nature. While in itself a constant, unchanging, and eternal reality, its representations are innumerable, bearing the imprint of the individual who is projecting it. As a result, the Minotaur can be conceived as a pharmakos (sacrificial victim) or repressed alter-ego as in the works of Andre Gide: Thesee, Julio Cortazar: Los reyes, and to a certain extent in that of Jorge Luis Borges: La casa de Asterion. It can also be projected as a recognized and assimilated alterego as in Nikos Kazantzakis’ Kouros, Anais Nin’s Seduction of the Minotaur, and Lawrence
Durrell’s The Dark Labyrinth. The Minotaur may similarly appear as the destructive Magna Mater (Albert Camus: Le Minotaur ou la halte d’Oran) or as introjector of man’s limitations and his lack of freedom (Emilio Carballido: Theseus and Abelardo Arias: Minotauroamor.)
Fertile, Candace “Love and Narrative in the Novels of Lawrence Durrell.” Diss., University of Alberta. (Ann Arbor: UMI, 1989. 0564256. (DAI 49: 3032A)
Abstract: This thesis traces Lawrence Durrell’s development as a novelist by examining the theme of love and the narrative structure of the novels. Beneficial love for Durrell is essentially adult, heterosexual, and procreative. It is a way to knowledge of the self and of others. Formally, Durrell’s novels show a development from modernism to postmodernism, and the form also demonstrates a concern with knowledge. The first chapter examines four apprenticeship novels: Pied Piper of Lovers (1935), Panic Spring (1937), The Black Book (1938), and The Dark Labyrinth (1947). Chapters Two and Three are on the theme and form of the Alexandria Quartet, which consists of Justine (1957), Balthazar (1958), Mountolive (1958), and Clea (1960). Chapter Four is on Tunc (1968) and Nunquam (1970), which together form The Revolt of Aphrodite. Chapters Five and Six deal with the Avignon Quintet, which consists of
Monsieur: or The Prince of Darkness (1974), Livia: or Buried Alive (1978), Constance: or Solitary Practices (1982), Sebastian: or Ruling Passions (1983), and Quinx: or The Ripper’s Tale (1985).
The thesis also contains an introduction and a brief conclusion.
Forbes, Joan, “Despair, Repentance, and Love”: Durrell’s Remedial Cycle”, Thesis, McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario 1989
The Relativity Proposition has displaced the concept ot objective truth in favour of a truth that is relative to the viewer, his time, and his place. Durrell ascribes a significance previously reserved for scientific truth to poetic or psychological truth – a pattern or order perceived in human experience. The pattern Durrell perceives is cyclical, an endless repetition of annihilation, precipitated by the defective human heart, and rebirth. The experience of destruction creates the possibility tor spiritual growth. As an individual becomes aware of his participation in what is in fact a universally experienced cycle, he may apprehend what Durrell calls the heraldic universe, the symbolic representation of archetypal human behaviour. Knowledge of the heraldic universe, the embodiment of human potential, frees the individual from the cycle by releasing him from the confines of his own imagination.
Fordham, Glenn Wayne Jr. “The Psychological Orientation Towards Growth in Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet.” diss., Univesity of North Texas, 1981.
Abstract: In this dissertation I argue that in the characters in Lawrence Durrell’s The
Alexandria Quartet there is consistently evidenced a psychological orientation towards growth.
An introductory Chapter One surveys and a concluding Chapter Six summarizes the
dissertation, but the body of the text is four chapters demonstrating the growth-orientation in four characters.
To begin Chapter Two, “Darley’s Growth,” I recount the plot of the Quartet relevant to the love affairs of its hero, Lawrence Darley. I then demonstrate that, in brief, the Quartet asserts that the human psyche shares with all life an orientation towards growth. Customarily, the psyche is urged by sexual instincts towards love relationships, perhaps the Quartet’s most common means of psychological development. Individual maturation is contained in and reflects a universal process, consisting of both bright and dark principles of growth. Into the psychological and universal growth processes, the artist has unique insight. In the character of Darley the psychological growth process is relatively bright, for Darley has love affairs with
Melissa, Justine, and Clea, and the Quartet ends with Darley’s artistic fulfillment. To conclude Chapter Two, I represent Darley’s growth by examining four of his descriptions of landscape in which he characterizes the growth process. In one description, Darley portrays nature as mechanistically dictating human will. In another, Darley views the psyche as growing by incorporating primarily pleasurable experiences. In a third, Darley emphasizes the dark or destructive aspects of psychological behavior. Finally, in a sequence involving the wounding of Clea, Darley realizes that both positive and negative experiences further psychological growth.
In Chapter Three, “Narouz’s Evil,” I examine the darker side of the growth process. I begin the chapter by considering dark principles of growth in various characters, including Capodistria, who states that the universal process has both dark and light principles. The body of Chapter Three relates the unhappy story of Narouz, whose love for Clea is unrequited and whose life ends psychologically unfulfilled. Despite his unhappy life, I demonstrate that Narouz’s psyche is clearly oriented towards the bright principles of growth.
In my brief Chapter Four, “Justine’s Guilt,” I show how Justine’s nymphomania, associated with her having been raped as a child, is the result of a frustration of growth. Justine is freed from her guilt-ridden and compulsive mental illness by acknowledging her natural impulse towards the healthy assimilation of even undesirable experiences.
To begin Chapter Five, “Pursewarden’s Death,” I identify death as the natural resolution of the growth process. I then consider how even the suicide of Pursewarden is seen to deliberately effect psychological growth in others. Stressing his emphasis on self-autonomy, I argue that, as a matured artist, Pursewarden is the Quartet’s primary symbol of the self; and in the concluding portion of the chapter, I show how Pursewarden’s character reflects a fulfilled psyche, formed of bright and dark principles of growth, which principles I tangentially equate with Durrell’s concept of ultimate or “heraldic reality.”
Scholars have frequently noted that Durrell portrays the psyche as variable rather than fixed. In this dissertation, I demonstrate that, besides remarkable flexibility, Durrell’s characters consistently display a psychological orientation towards growth.
Gifford, James: “”The Unknown Is Constant”: The Fiction and Literary Relationship of Lawrence Durrell and Henry Miller.” Diss., University of Alberta, 2006.
Abstract: In his 1949 article for Cyril Connolly and Stephen Spender’s Horizon, “Studies in Genius: Henry Miller,” Lawrence Durrell draws out the notion of the ‘unknown’ as Henry Miller described it in his June 19, 1936 letter to Michael Fraenkel. As the ‘unknown’ takes shape, Durrell increasingly emphasizes the reader and the gaps, absences, or ambiguities in a text. What I take up as their shared notion of the ‘unknown’ relates to the textual gaps and ambiguities that prompt the reader to add to the text, to develop it further than it actually goes. But, as prominent gaps, these same missing materials return attention to themselves and
thereby to the reader’s reading process. This ‘unknown’ then prompts a significant revaluation of Durrell’s and Miller’s works. Reading through their published works to the archives of their manuscripts and correspondences, I use their ‘unknown’ as a way to survey the commonalities and conflicts between their oeuvres following the most prominent critical approaches Durrell and Miller have received: their ties to specific geographies, their relationship to Modernism, the nature and role of identity in their works, and their depictions of sexualities. With regard to scholarship, the most significant contribution of the notion of the ‘unknown’ is the connection it sustains between Durrell and Miller, as a common concern both shared, and as an approach that augments the complexity of their works. Moreover, what makes the commonalities between Durrell and Miller so important in this context is that both put the reader back on his or her own resources—they send us away, on all grounds (the Self, character, locale, sexuality). I contrast their works against their contemporaries and correspondents, most significantly T.S.
Eliot, George Seferis, and C.P. Cavafy, as well as their relationship to Friedrich Nietzsche’s
Giovannucci, Perri. “The Modernizing Mission: Literature and Development in North Africa.” Diss., University of Miami, 2005.
Abstract: Contemporary Western modernization in the East reifies many aspects of classic European colonialism. Modernization largely privileges Western multinational interests at the expense of local or indigenous concerns in the so-called “developing” nations of the East. The colonial history of the discourse and practices of modern development may be traced in the seminal texts of anti-colonial and postcolonial literature, such as in works by Frantz Fanon, Albert Memmi and Jean-Paul Sartre, as well as in the fiction and memoirs of Albert Camus,
Lawrence Durrell, Naguib Mahfouz, Nawal El Saadawi, Assia Djebar, Gini Alhadeff, Andre Aciman and Edward Said. These authors represent in their texts the later colonial history of development (i.e., middle twentieth century) in the North African nations of Algeria and Egypt.
Their works illustrate that modern development has entailed Western military violence, foreign domination and economic exploitation in the East. They provide a detailed and, as with Said, Alhadeff and Aciman, even an intimate view of a particular aspect of modernization: the privileging of a local elite class ( compradors ) by Western agents to the disadvantage of the impoverished, local majority in North Africa. The development and maintenance of elites in Algeria and Egypt makes apparent the intervention of foreign colonial agency; but it also belies
the (fallacious) assumption that “modern development” will eventually “trickle down” from elites to the impoverished masses in the East. The critical regard of unequal, modern development provides a more complex understanding of the anti-colonial movements for sovereignty and independence in North Africa. The revolutionary nationalism and nativism which characterized the independence movements there may be seen to respond to the disparate material conditions of local society which had been engendered by Western modernization. The complexities of nativism and nationalism are evident in the works of Carnus, Saadawi and Mahfouz, and others who, in the context of the anticolonial moment of the day, thought deeply about issues of indigenity and national identity. Ultimately, the North African authors discussed here sought to make an identity, if not also a place, for themselves in a modern East rapidly “developing” its postcolonial condition.
Grant, Joanna “Journeys to Barbary: Modernism’s Middle East” University of Rochester 2007
My study takes as its theme the efforts of a representative body of British and American modernist prose writers to grapple with their places in history in the context of their collective sense of an ending, desired or otherwise. In this period of crisis, world wars, and the perceived and actual threat of complete self-afflicted annihilation, I argue that many Anglo-American modernist authors looked to the deserts of the cradle of civilization with a mixture of fear and fascination. I examine my chosen texts utilizing methodologies drawn from postcolonial studies, cultural studies, textual criticism, and poststructuralism, which, it may be argued, is an outgrowth of modernism itself. Chapter One describes the genesis and salient features of what Melanie Klein would call a phantasy of reparative identification with a particular construction of the Arab Other and the desert spaces of the Near East. Modernist literary theory and aesthetic practice valorized varying conceptions of extremity; these spaces and persons came to be viewed as batteries promising the revitalization of a moribund Western literary tradition. Chapter Two examines perhaps the most wholehearted and untroubled instance of that identification in its account of the personal and professional relationship of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West. Chapter Three offers an account of the Lawrence biography wars with an emphasis on how and why various modernist authors found themselves on opposing sides in this conflict. Chapter Four considers the jittery, unstable nature of late modernist laughter and its relationship to the abject. Both Lawrence Durrell and Paul Bowles employ the device of laughter as a subjectivity-annihilator; Durrell’s vision, however, emerges as the more hopeful–and humane. He manages to recuperate a certain amount of faith in the nature of the West and of the artistic enterprise in his stories of expatriates in Alexandria; Bowles’s desert offers no such respite. Ultimately, this story becomes one of increasing hesitation and doubt as my authors, torn between the desire to regenerate Western civilization and to evacuate it, find themselves confronted with an alien Other threatening to swamp their characters’ faltering subjectivities and senses of agency.
Hall, Tessa F. “Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet: Conflicting Metaphysics and the Escape From Alexandria.” Diss., University of Oxford, 1988. (DAI No.: BRD-97255.)
Abstract: This thesis is a study of Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet, based on an analysis of the role of Alexandria in the work. It proceeds from the premise that the Quartet is a bildungsroman in which the city, Alexandria, operates as a textual metaphor for what is experienced and rejected in the process of growing up.
The first sections set out to establish the major features of the Alexandrian metaphor through an analysis of imagery, characterization and narrative patterning; the city’s association with a certain type of romanticism and with Gnosticism is emphasized. There is also an examination of the internal, or psychic, dimensions of the Alexandrian metaphor, which are found to be consistent with a Freudian perspective on personality growth, despite the author’s preference for vitalist theories.
The work then proceeds to focus on the contradictory textual metaphysics which emerge from a close reading of the Quartet. Two separate and, it is argued, incompatible sets of metaphysics are identified: one associated with the development of the Alexandrian metaphor, and the other with the ‘heraldic’ theme in the work. The disruptive effect of this conflict on textual unity is identified.
The final section is an analysis of Durrell’s critical work, The Key to Modern British Poetry (written during the gestation period of the Quartet), including a considered study of Durrell’s supposed arguments from Einsteinian science. The Key proves to be founded, like the Quartet, on metaphysical contradictions; however, it also usefully reveals Durrell’s considerable anxiety about modernism as a literary phenomenon and a world-view. This produces the suggestion that the conflicting metaphysics within the Quartet can be understood in the light of Durrell’s
ambivalence towards modernism and its animating themes.
Hecht, Izaak, “”I Am Obstinate…I Disappear”: Toward a Communism of Reading A Lacanian Thesis” Thesis, Bard College, Simon’s Rock, 2015.
This thesis utilizes a Lacanian framework to analyze several works, by Lawrence Durrell, Gertrude Stein, André Breton, and André Gide, among others. My central goal is to look at the desire and structure of narrative, and how these things have been theorized or rejected by various authors and schools of literary criticism. I strive to point toward a literary theory which maintains a respect for the text, a willingness to read the text on its own terms and in its own ontology, while at the same time joining up these specific structures to more universal questions of subjectivity and desire: to read a literary work as a literary work, not merely as an illustration of some pre-conceived idea, while at the same time not shying away from the big existential/ontological questions.
Kaufman, Barbara. “Once Upon A Time: Training Tales in Family Therapy.” Diss., Nova University, 1992.
Abstract: The current guidelines for accredited marital and family therapy programs,
established by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy’s Commission on Accreditation (AAMFT COA), specify that students be taught the major epistemological issues in the field. While acknowledging the significance of epistemological issues, these guidelines do not specify what these issues are or how to teach them. Live supervision is most often considered the method of choice in facilitating an understanding of new epistemological concepts for family therapy graduate students. This researcher identifies a gap in the development of alternate approaches to training in the new epistemologies outside the context of live supervision. In order to address this gap, literature is proposed as one way to enhance graduate students’ abilities to understand complex ecosystemic approaches to therapeutic interaction.
This project investigates whether excerpts from a novel can be useful for conveying new epistemological concepts to family therapy doctoral students. This researcher designs a didactic module based upon passages from Lawrence Durrell’s (1961a, 1961b, 1961c, 1961d) The Alexandria Quartet for this purpose. The Quartet is chosen for the project as representative of new epistemological concepts, conveying the richness of multiple voices and a lack of certainty about predictable outcomes.
Support for the project is provided by an outline of the critical epistemological issues that influence the practice and training of family therapy practitioners, an overview of family therapy training programs, and a survey of how literary formats are used to illustrate a variety of theoretical premises in the field. In conjunction with the upsurge of interest in the new epistemologies, alternate methods for evaluation of training activities are then suggested. Indepth interviews with family therapy doctoral students who have experienced the module result in a thematic analysis and provide a narrative understanding of this particular training experience, creating an opportunity to examine a context other than live supervision for understanding new epistemological concepts. The implications of the students’ narrative themes thereby offer a basis for evaluating how literature can be useful in facilitating an
epistemological shift that is frequently a challenge to family therapy graduate students and educators.
Keller, Isabelle, “L’Anamorphose Dans L’Oeuvre Romanesque De Lawrence Durrell.” Diss., Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail, 2002.
Abstract: L’étude de l’anamorphose dans l’écriture romanesque de Lawrence Durrel propose, à partir de l’analyse détaillée de The Alexandria Quartet et de The Avignon Quintet, une clé de lecture de l’oeuvre durrellienne dans son ensmeble qui permette de rendre compte tant de sa complexité que de sa diversité. La comparaison du traitement de la description dans les deux romans met en évidence un brouillage délibérér de l’espace comme des protagonistes, qui deviennent autant d’indices de lecture. Après avoir erré au coeur de cette cartographie inquiétante qui se dédouble et se fragmente, le lecteur se trouve donc incité à rechercher l’axe qui lui permettra de reconstruire la perspective brisée. Les jeux guident alors le travail de recolposition. Le lecteur, tentant de redresser la perspective, découvre alors la nature profondémént trompeuse de toute reconstruction définitive et univoque. L’oeuvre s’écrit ainsi “entre les lignes, entre les vies”: celle du Quatuor et du Quintette, mais aussi celles de The Black Book, The Revolt of Aphrodite, An Irish Faustus ou des poèmes.
The study of anamorphosis in Lawrence Durrell’s novels probes into The Alexandria Quartet and The Avignon Quintet in order to descry Durrell’s complex literary work. The compared analysis of the handling of description in both novels evinces a deliberate blurring of space and characterization, which hint to a specific mode problematic as we move from The Quartet to The Quintet, shape out our reconstruction of the pattern. The reader in search of the corrected perspective consequently discovers both the vanity of a merely mimetic representation and the delusive nature of any definite and univocal reading. Durrell’s work has to be read “between the lines, between the lives”: those of The Quartet and The Quintet, as well as those of The Black Book, The Revolt of Aphrodite, An Irish Faustus or the poems. Durrell’s writting is then born from these vanishing traces which keep spreading out, overlapping and migrating from one texte to the next, from one genre to another.
Kreuiter, Allyson, “The elegant velvet glove: A textual and visual reading of the gothicised female form in Lawrence Durrell’s ‘The Alexandria Quartet‘” Thesis, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, 2014
My thesis analyses the gothicisation of the female form in ‘The Alexandria quartet’ written by the English novelist Lawrence Durrell. In this study I show how Durrell’s concern with the themes of space-time-memory, ambiguity, multiple perspectives, metaphoric imagery, buried or not-so-buried acts of sexual transgression, violence and the return of the past into the present are contingent upon certain Gothic features and motifs. These motifs, such as silence (in this instance the lack of a female voice), the labyrinth, imprisonment, the double, automatism (especially the idea of the doll), the femme fatale, monstrosity, spectrality and fragmentation, I suggest, actively fashion the female characters as gothicised objects. I demonstrate how anxiety and fear of the loss of identity, or lack of a whole and true self, ensure the male characters violently project their deep-seated fear of sexual difference onto the female characters, thus othering them as uncanny and monstrous. In order to formulate my discussion of this fear, horror and anxiety and its relation to the Gothic, I adopt a feminist psychoanalytic theoretical position based on Julia Kristeva’s conceptualisation of abjection. Gothic motifs, I go on to indicate, are superimposed onto the corporealities of the female characters, resulting in their misogynistic protrayal as abject, distorted and monstrous entities. In a visual textual appraisal of this fabrication of feminine embodiment and subjectivity, I highlight the influence of Cubism and Surrealism on Durrell’s construction of fragmented and mutilated female forms within the narrative of ‘The Alexandria quartet’
Lillios, Anna “Love in Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet.” Diss., University of Iowa, 1986. At Dr Lillios’s request, we have removed the text of her thesis abstract. The text can be read at: http://www.lawrencedurrell.org/bibliog/biblio-a.pdf.
Lorenz, Paul, “Paths to Metamorphosis: The Quest for Whole Sight in Contemporary British Fiction.” Diss., University of Houston, 1988.
Abstract: While Post-Modern man has begun to doubt whether reality has any inherent discernable order, there are many who believe that a will-to-order and a need for moral orientation is a fundamental part of the human makeup. In light of the discoveries of modern science, the quest for a coherent set of guidelines for human endeavor seems to require a metamorphosis of perception. John Fowles, Margaret Drabble, and Lawrence Durrell have followed D. H. Lawrence in seeking enlightenment in the wisdom of the past. Their quest has led them from field theory to the philosophies of Heraclitus and Empedocles. With these philosophies come the values of the ancient goddess religions of the Mediterranean which inspired them. From this expanded perspective, these writers have shaped the complex patterns of interrelationships which make up the contemporary world into fictional worlds
whose values may be used as models to guide human endeavor. The resulting vision, whole sight, resembles the vision of McCluhan’s retribalized man. The discussion begins with a detailed investigation of the philosophies of Empedocles and Heraclitus, their relationship to the values of the autochthonous religions of the Mediterranean, and the historical background which suggests that this approach provides the insight required to achieve a metamorphosis of cultural values. Focusing on The Magus and Daniel Martin, the second chapter investigates John Fowles’s use of the values and philosophies of the ancient world to achieve whole sight through a re-evaluation of sexual roles. The third chapter discusses each of the novels of Margaret Drabble as part of an evolutionary change from the values of Bunyan to those of
Heraclitus. Realms of Gold and The Radiant Way receive special attention. The final chapter investigates Durrell’s Avignon Quincunx, especially his assessment that the continued adherence to Aryan values in the West is psychotic. It discusses Durrell’s strategies for attaining the metamorphosis of values which he sees as a requirement of mankind’s survival.
The dissertation concludes that Fowles, Drabble, and Durrell are attempting to turn Western culture toward a tribal and life-centered view of the world, toward the practice of whole sight.
MacDonald, Ann Carton. “ Spirit of Place: The Role of Landscape in the Poetry of Lawrence Durrell.” Thes., Carleton University.
Abstract: This thesis interprets the central theme in Lawrence Durrell’s poetry as the
relationship between landscape and the growth of the self. Chapter One outlines his theory of place as a literary criterion and indicates that through art he aims to evoke a condition of mystical one-ness he calls heraldic reality. Chapter Two illustrates that the rebellion in Durrell’s early work represents his desire to transcend the ego, chronology and reason. Chapter Three delineates his belief that the self can grow beyond ambiguity and pain. Chapter Four links personal growth and the creative process and examines the parallel between the religious dimension in Durrell’s poetry and his receptivity to landscape. Chapter Five explores the poet’s
resolution of despair and his affirmation of the healing power of love in his later poetry. The final chapter reveals that he belongs to that branch of modern literature aligned with the comic vision.
Mahmoud, Rania M., “Fictions of Revolution: Empire and Nation in Lawrence Durrell, Naguib Mahfouz, John Wilcox, and Bahaa Taher”, Thesis, University of Washington, Seattle 2014
|This dissertation engages postcolonial theory and historiography in order to illuminate our understanding of the ways in which literary works re-create and interrogate history and, to evoke Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “world” worlds. This study provides a comparative analysis of narrations of the 1881-1882 Urabi Revolution and the 1919 Revolution in British and Egyptian fiction from 1957 to 2007. In engaging the Bildungsroman, these works construct competing histories of Egypt’s revolutions. Confirming colonial accounts of these revolutions, the British novels view Egyptian subjectivity as frozen and unchanging. In contrast, the Egyptian fictions present these events as ongoing and always open to re-definition. Ultimately, these narratives reflect different perceptions of Egyptian identity and, in more general terms, varying views of history. Chapter One reads Lawrence Durrell’s Mountolive, the third volume of his famous The Alexandria Quartet, as a reaffirmation of the orientalist Enlightenment values of the Bildungsroman, which upholds Western values as the standard to which society must conform. In its portrayal of the legacy of the 1919 Revolution, the novel marks the British protagonist’s disillusionment with grotesque Egypt and his acknowledgement of the English social order as his moment of maturity. Identifying Egyptians as forever different, it establishes the European standard as the only route towards modernity. Chapter Two reads Sugar Street, the last volume of Naguib Mahfouz’s landmark The Cairo Trilogy, as a subversion of the Bildungsroman. In depicting the decades following the 1919 Revolution, a period where Egyptian attempts at political autonomy are constantly thwarted by Egyptian government corruption and British interference in domestic affairs, Mahfouz interrogates the genre’s imperialist project as well as Egyptian calls to cling to native traditions. I argue that Sugar Street introduces an alternative, culturally specific Bildungsroman that advocates for eternal revolution as the condition of Egyptian subjectivity. The third chapter reads John Wilcox’s The Guns of El Kebir, arguing that by fusing the imperial romance with the Bildungsroman in addressing the Urabi Revolution, the novel harkens back to British rule over Egypt as a glorious time signifying British heroism and altruism. Despite brief questioning of Empire, the novel affirms imperialist discourse when its protagonists–an unorthodox ex-army officer and a feminist anti-imperialist–both recognize the necessity of the British occupation. Reviving the Bildungsroman as the narrative of modernity, Guns denies Egyptian nationalism and revolution by redefining it as a class conflict or by qualifying it, and ties the protagonists’ maturity to identification with the occupation. Chapter Four reads Bahaa Taher’s Sunset Oasis. In addressing the Urabi Revolution, the novel subverts, the imperial romance, the Bildungsroman and the national romance. Unforgiving in its exposure of Egypt’s own role in its own subjugation and as a colonial power in the Egyptian western region of Siwa, Sunset Oasis rejects all forms of national belonging–Pharaonism and Ottomanism–as limiting and exclusionary, advocating for an Egyptian subjectivity that transcends ideologies to include all Egyptians.|
Meier, Candice Sue. “Reality and Truth in The Alexandria Quartet.” Thes., Drake University, 1983.
Abstract: Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet has been criticized from a variety of
viewpoints—mostly unfavorable ones. These viewpoints encompass blatant misreadings, and misunderstandings as well as quoting out of context and ignoring Durrell’s own statements concerning his work. When The Quartet is studied in conjunction with Durrell’s own remarks given in various interviews, one discovers that most of the unflattering critiques totally disregard what Durrell says he intends to do, and what I feel he has successfully accomplished.Once Durrell’s statements are aligned with his work, the focus of the material acquires a particular slant—that of illusion. And once illusion is introduced, Durrell’s process flows easily into the more abstract issue of determining reality and truth. Concisely stated, Durrell’s theme follows a thread from characters of contradictory traits, to illusion, to reality,
and ultimately, to truth.Here the words reality and truth are not used in their traditional terms and definitions. Instead, they appear by means of continuous examples and revelations in the thoughts and actions of the characters as they interact with the world around them. Thus, reality and truth are presented on personal levels, in a particular environment, within a definite timeframe. However, Durrell’s implications strongly indicate a broader and much more encompassing scale. The work ultimately takes on a world-wide, universal connotation and its
characters become prototypes for the world’s citizens.For readers and critics alike to dismiss Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet on grounds of partial information and segmented studies is to do the author and the work a great disservice. The work holds great value in its attempt to portray the world as it is and people as they are. For novelists, including Durrell, this is a difficult task.
But because Durrell did it and did it so well, The Quartet has value to its readers and should not die out as a result of the battering it has taken from numerous critics. It should be taken in its entirety and read in conjunction with Durrell’s own statements. It then can be evaluated for its own sake and more fairly ranked among other novels.
Phillips-Peckosh, Claire Ellen. “Gender and Determinacy in the Space-Time Continuum: A Study of Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet.” Thes., Northeast Missouri State University.
Abstract: In The Alexandria Quartet Lawrence Durrell creates a city and a set of characters which reflect his ideas about the modern age. Using Einstein’s theory of relativity as a metaphor for an intensely subjective world where reality depends on one’s position in space and time, Durrell posits a theory of indeterminancy which seems like Michel Foucault’s in The History of Sexuality. Durrell’s beliefs are, however, bound in deterministic theories about gender distinctions and inequalities from natural science and psychoanalysis. He uses post-Victorian early modernist visions of women as femme fatales and dangerous ‘others,’ as described by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar in No Man’s Land Sex-changes, grouping women with what postimperialists viewed as the ‘feminized’ colonial nations of the East. His late nineteenth and early twentieth century beliefs limit his ideas about relativity and his vision of the latter half of the twentieth century as a world of infinite possibilities.
Ribera Goriz, Nuria. “Anais Nin: Writing As a Waking Dream.” Diss., Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain), 1993.
Abstract: Analysis, through five chapters, of Anais Nin’s (1903-1977) three first fictional works from the point of view of the configuration of her literary theory, and with the aim of providing a new reading of these works and of reevaluating their literary value. As an introduction, in the first chapter, “Preliminary Notes”, certain aspects of Nin’s biography are discussed which are relevant to the configuration of her view of literature (“Some Biographical Considerations”), followed by information about the publication of her fictional works (“Nin’s Literary Production”). Chapter two is devoted to the study of the most important influences on the author and on her view of literature. The criteria determining the selection of these influences is the relevant place that the author herself has given them in her Diary and in her
essays. These influences are: the Diary, understood both as her “other way of writing”, that is, a distinct literary genre, and, at the same time, as the work that actually brought about the public’s recognition as a consecrated writer. On the other hand, the Diary is considered as a beneficial and at the same time hindering influence, both technically and psychologically, in each of the two aforementioned aspects. In the second place, a study of the Diary is presented, in so far as it represents an influence of primary importance for the author, both in relation to
her view of reality, and to her literary perspective. The most important authors are dealt with, as well as her relationship with Otto Rank, the most relevant of her analysts. Thirdly, the study focuses on the French heritage, especially on the influence of Marcel Proust, and also on that of Arthur Rimbaud and the Surrealists. In the fourth place, D. H. Lawrence’s influence is analyzed, an author on whom Nin wrote her first book. Finally, the influence of two literary personalities is analyzed, two authors whose friendship was of great importance in the personal and literary
development of the author: Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell.The study of the first three fictional works that Nin published is undertaken, then, from the point of view of the influences previously analyzed. Therefore, the exhaustive analysis of “House of Incest” (Chapter III), “Winter of Artifice” (Chapter IV) and the collection of short
stories “Under a Glass Bell” (Chapter V), is meant to reevaluate their literary importance through the clarification of the author’s aims, thematic as well as stylistic, understood as the configuration of her literary theory as the author herself enunciates them in her Diary and essays, and as a consequence of the influences previously explored.
Seigneurie, Kenneth Eric. “Space and the Colonial Encounter in Lawrence Durrell, Out El-Kouloub and Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt).” Diss., University of Michigan, 1996.
Abstract: This study is an attempt to see how colonial and postcolonial discourses produce the social fabric of mid-twentieth-century Egypt. By examining city space in novels of the period this study aims to explore how colonial and postcolonial discourses articulate everyday practices. The theoretical thesis, derived from Henri Lefebvre’s insights into the production of space, is that attention to everyday spaces can reveal obscured social relationships.
In three chapters on three writers prominent in British colonial, Egyptian Francophone and Egyptian Arabic literary circles, I explore how space reveals the colonial-colonized encounter.
Chapter One, “The Decay of Order: Late Colonial Space in Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet” (Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive, Clea, published 1957-60) argues that the narrative depends on colonial spaces constructed according to ordering representations and colonized spaces constructed according to the dynamic interplay of forces. Chapter Two, “The Harem and the Sea: Women’s Space in Out el-Kouloub’s Le Coffret hindou, Ramza and Hefnaoui le Magnifique,” (texts published 1951-61) examines how Out el-Kouloub, an important but neglected member of Egypt’s once-thriving Francophone community, constructs gendered spaces to articulate a sophisticated critique of both traditional and Western affective practices.
Chapter Three, “Space and the Malaise of the City in Naguib Mahfouz’s Midaq Alley, Cairo Trilogy and Miramar,” argues that close attention to Mahfouz’s spaces allows one to see the roles money, ideology, religion and custom play in producing Egyptian “urban malaise.” It emerges from the analysis that colonial and postcolonial literary spaces employ different ordering schemes which channel practice differently. The major argument of the study is, therefore, that the disjunction between different spaces leads to debacle as practices corresponding to one space unwittingly exceed the limits of another. The significance of this study, beyond proposing revisionary readings of Durrell and Out el-Kouloub and providing a new perspective on Mahfouzian “urban malaise,” lies in the light it sheds on how literary spaces reveal the deployment of cultural codes. The potential for decentered space to reveal
postcolonial relational discourses as opposed to reaffirming an imperious ordering of
privileged subjectivity makes space an increasingly useful tool in cultural critique.
Tauer, Kathrin, “Alexandria, princess and whore”: The City and its Exemplars in L. Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet University of Vienna 2010
“Alexandria, Princess and Whore” The City and its Exemplars focusses on the city Alexandria, its “Spirit of Place” and the effect this has on its inhabitants. Critics react negatively to Durrell’s selective perception of the city and its inhabitants. This selective perception can be found in James Buzard’s concepts of Authenticity. Furthermore, the focus is on building a connection between the Quartet and Said’s Orientalism, and whether this can actually be done other than on a purely superficial level.
Todd, Daniel Ray. “An Annotated, Enumerative Bibliography of the Criticism of Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet and His Travel Works.” Diss., Tulane University.
(In addition to the bibliography, this dissertation contains a 200 page biography of
Durrell, the first biography in print.)
Abstract: Lawrence Durrell has written in most of the genres of literature not just in an attempt to find his metier, but in the act of satisfying his powerful creative urge. His works include fiction, criticism, and travel literature, each undertaken in various degrees of seriousness, and for various reasons, literary as well as monetary. The quality of Durrell’s work makes him suitable for critical judgment as a novelist, and for commentary on the merit of his non-fiction as well—especially his much celebrated travel recollections. Durrell’s fiction, criticism, and non-fiction ofter merge in matters of style and diction, but they differ in matters of tone and
objectivity. This dissertation traces Durrell’s success as a writer as he moves through different genres toward his masterpiece The Alexandria Quartet, and beyond. The first part reviews Durrell’s contributions to literature in general, focusing on the quantity and variety of his interests and accomplishments. His chronological development as a writer, traced through his attempts to get his works published, provides the framework for this section. The second part is an extensive analytical treatment of the critical responses to Durrell’s Quartet. Analyses detail each author’s theme or argument, and make clear the themes, topics, faults, and the literary significance of Durrell’s work. The third part analyzes Durrell’s major travel works, and incorporates a critical discussion of the methodology he uses for travel literature, including
structure, fictional attributes and intentions. The point of reference for this section is Durrell’s essay ‘Landscape and Character,’ in which he defines the ‘spirit of place’ as it affects his work.
These different approaches to Durrell’s work—biographical, bibliographical, and critical—make possible a broader and better understanding of the author, his works, his accomplishments as a whole, and the significance of his canon.
Vipond, Diane, “Art, Artist, Ans Aesthetics In Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet.” diss., York University.
Abstract: Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet is a Kunstlerroman in which the protagonist and narrator, L. G. Darley, engages in a quest for selfhood and artisthood. Darley seeks selfunderstanding through an examination of his Alexandrian past in Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive, and Clea. By exercising his art he learns the lessons of love and life as he gains deeper insight into his relationships with the three women in his life: Melissa (love as compassion); Justine (love as passion); and Clea (love as sharing). Darley learns the lessons of art primarily through his own experience as an apprentice artist and his association with the successful novelist, Pursewarden, who becomes his model and mentor. Darley writes Justine in an attempt to understand the significance of his affair with Justine Hosnani. The subject is personal and leads to a subjective account of his past which borders on solipsism. Balthazar’s Interlinear enables Darley to put people and events in perspective and precipitates a second effort, Balthazar, which emphasizes the importance of relative point of view. In Mountolive, Darley takes an objective stance while seeking to portray the public and
political counterpart to his private Alexandria. With Clea, he returns to a more tempered subjective standpoint and while maintaining the validity of relativity introduces a hint of mysticism into his world view. Durrell employs the narrative device of Darley’s artistic apprenticeship as a framework within which he is free to work out his own aesthetic system. Primarily through the characters of Darley and Pursewarden, Durrell puts forward his views about art, the artist, and aesthetics.
Durrell sees the artist as a healer of the psyche, one who is capable of presenting his own special vision of reality to an audience and thus enriching lives by bringing greater meaning and understanding into them. The function of art is to create values, to help men make sense of themselves and the world around them, to enable them to make responsible ethical and moral decisions. Art is freedom and should affirm life. Art yields a special kind of truth which utilizes reason and intuition via the imagination to achieve an analogue of truth, the artifact. Art may give form to intuitive knowledge or abstract concepts by transforming feeling into form and
communicating thought via symbols. Art reflects reality through the consciousness of the artist and displays truth in the very process of “coming to know.” Durrell offers a new means of approaching “reality”—a composite of appearances enlightened by imagination. He resolves the conflict between appearance and reality by using the former to depict the latter. Form should reflect content in a true work of art. Durrell attempts to give artistic form to the scientific concept of space-time, an essential element of perspective or point of view, one of Durrell’s major concerns within The Quartet. The artist’s position in space and time relative to his subject determines where he falls on a continuum of perception which has subjectivity at one end and objectivity at the other. Psychological time, memory acting upon the present
moment yielding one continuous present, is the time most appropriate to the literary artist. Durrell has extended the tradition of the Kunstlerroman to the bounds of the self-begetting reflexive novel. His main achievement lies in having managed to sustain a prolonged discussion of aesthetics while successfully incorporating these primary artistic concerns into the basic narrative structure of his novel. Durrell, more than any other novelist, has given aesthetic theory an integral position within his fiction in The Alexandria Quartet and in so doing helped to legitimize such a combination of theory and fiction.
Youssef, Hala Youssef Halim. “The Alexandria Archive: An Archaeology of Alexadrian
Cosmopolitanism.” Diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2004.
Abstract: This dissertation brings to bear current debates about cosmopolitanism and hybridity on the overlooked area of Middle Eastern cosmopolitanism, through the representative case study of Alexandria. Comparing discourses of cultural identity associated with the city, I identify two central problems with the dominant paradigm of Alexandrian cosmopolitanism: a Eurocentric approach to historiography and canon formation that elides Arab elements, and an insufficient attention to the materiality of the city as it features in writings about Alexandria. In re-appraising this cosmopolitan archive, the study deconstructs the perceived consistency of
“canonical” Alexandrian texts, sets western modernity against alternative modernities, analyzes genre in relation to the representation of hybridity, and maps in non-complicit, popular paradigms of cosmopolitanism.
Chapter 1 deals with the ambivalence in Constantine Cavafy’s texts effected by the tension between a binary of Greek and Barbarian and a far more cosmopolitan attitude attuned to otherness and other textualities. The discussion then turns to E. M. Forster’s Egyptian writings in Chapter 2 where I analyze a colonial complicity in the historiography and representation of space in his account of the city and its cosmopolitanism, and contrast this against his simultaneous sympathy with subalternity. In chapter 3, I dwell on the hybridity in Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet and bring out underlying patterns that make for what the text construes as Alexandria’s threatening space, witnessed in the representation of topography
and myths. Broaching the question what place cosmopolitanism has in the postcolonial Egyptian period, the study takes up, in Chapter 4, novelist Edwar al-Kharrat’s texts, which address radically different imperatives through the Alexandria archive. My analysis of al-Kharrat charts it “contrapuntally” articulated modes of inter-ethnic and inter-religious affiliation that subvert Eurocentric canonical texts, as well as tap into resources, such as orality, elided in earlier representations.
It is hoped that this study will make a contribution to two sets of debates: discussions of cosmopolitanism in the west where the Middle East nevertheless remains the “other,” and Middle Eastern bids for inter-cultural dialogue where the reclamations of Alexandria’s archive are perplexed by its colonial freighting.
Zahlan, Anne, “The Burden Slips: The Literary Expatriate In British Fiction, Before And After World War II.” diss., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Abstract: From Kipling on, important British writers of the modern age have taken for
protagonist the Englishman outside England. Many novels of expatriation set their exiles down in lands bound to Europe by ties of imperial dominion and thus form part of what can be termed the fiction of colonial encounter, a fiction dominated by Kipling’s image of the White Man who fearlessly takes up his burden and exercises authority accepted as rightfully his. The imperial protagonist as portrayed before the winds of change began so irresistably to blow might be hero or adventurer, benevolent father or greedy oppressor, but, whether glorified as in T. E. Lawrence or parodied as in Evelyn Waugh, exposed as in Joyce Cary or condemned as in George Orwell, he had always to be measured against the super-human dimensions of the
White Man. In the brave new world of self-determination which rose out of the ashes of World War II, the bhwana, the tuan, the sahib were no more. The White Man ruling by means of his indomitable will disappears from serious fiction as does too his anti-heroic opposite in whom failure is deemed tragic or at least shameful. No longer expected to be master of other men or of the natural world, the wandering Britons of Lawrence Durrell, Anthony Burgess, and Graham Greene merely look on as old orders crumble or passively play parts assigned them in some already devised ‘scenario.’ Using the post-colonial context as the stage upon which their dramas unfold and expatriate Britons as the manipulated actors, these writers effectively explore the ironies inherent in the situation of the super-annuated White Man caught unprepared by the end of Empire. No longer ‘every inch an Englishman,’ much less ‘the man who would be king,’ the expatriate protagonist of Durrell, Burgess, or Greene is a not unlikely prototype of post-modern man, helpless to control even his own destiny. The expatriate experience, however, far from ceasing to seize the imagination, may in fact be coming to dominate it—everyman in some sense an expatriate, everywhere a place of exile.