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The Alexandria quartet : love as metaphysical enquiry 1976

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THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET: LOVE AS METAPHYSICAL ENQUIRY by ELIZABETH LEE JOHNSTON 3.A., Sir George Williams University, 1974 THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of English We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October, 1976 (fc\ Elizabeth Lee Johnston, 1976 In presenting th i s thes is in pa r t i a l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L ibrary sha l l make it f ree ly ava i l ab le for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of th is thesis for scho lar ly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representat ives. It is understood that copying or pub l i ca t ion of this thes is fo r f inanc ia l gain sha l l not be allowed without my writ ten permission. Department of <f-K gj 1 > < U The Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V.6T 1W5 Date c T c x . , x t l ^ 1% n 1 1 ABSTRACT This thesis i s based on a conviction that Lawrence Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet is a metaphysical romance in a truly modern sense; a parable which uses the terminology of modern psychology and romantic love to describe a search for gnosis, or self-knowledge. The characters are prototypes whose enemies are the warring forces within the psyche: the romantic imagination, which manufactures the Illusions of love, and the intellectual examination which may destroy the i l l u s i o n , but leaves nothing in i t s place. Durrell shows that his prototype characters must learn to value the naked experience of an emotional moment with a balanced spontaneity of perception divorced from the extremes of both the romantic imagination and the in t e l l e c t . The f i r s t chapter describes the psychological equilibrium which Durrell calls "the heraldic universe," which is concretized by statements from The Black Book, excerpts from Durrell's poems and allusions (from The Alexandria Quartet) to C. P. Cavafy, D. H. Lawrence and C. G. Jung. The fi n a l paragraphs deal with the dual approach to character and the corresponding polarities of the landscape of Alexandria. The second chapter concentrates on Durrell's use of the novel for therapeutic enquiry, as a means of looking at the dark side of the psyche. The chapter explains the relation of the Quartet to moral allegory as - i - ) well as i t s concern with the dualism of instinct and ideal, reason and passion, which Aldous Huxley and Wyndham Lewis describe in a more expository style. The third chapter contrasts the destructive will-to-power and the passion of p o l i t i c a l conspirators with the creative w i l l of the poet and art i s t , the seeker after self-identity. The fin a l paragraphs deal with images of madness and psychic disintegration resulting from obsessional love. The fourth chapter discusses the major characters in relation to the l i f e of their imaginations. In the case of the writers in the Quartet, the literary imagination distorts perceptions of love and experience. Pursewarden, the central a r t i s t i c figure, is viewed in relation to the other prototypes who make a "story" out of their lives. The fi n a l chapter attempts to show that Clea i s a culmination of a psychological battle within the characters, an active drama instead of a reflection upon emotional experience. Love becomes depersonalized, a force which exists apart from the egotism of personality. TABLE OF CONTENTS Page INTRODUCTION TO THE LOVE THEME 1 CHAPTER I. DURRELL'S PHILOSOPHY AND THE HERALDIC 4 CHAPTER I I . PERSONALITY CREATION: THE NOVEL AS THERAPEUTIC INQUIRY 16 CHAPTER I I I . DESTRUCTIVE LOVE A. Passion and The W i l l 37 B. Madness and The Image 44 CHAPTER IV. CHARACTERS A. Darley 50 B. Pursewarden — and Relation to Other Characters 56 C. Melissa 67 D. Clea and Balthazar 70 E. Variations on the Holy Man 73 CHAPTER V. THE BATTLE OF CLEA 76 FOOTNOTES 90 BIBLIOGRAPHY 94 - i i i - Philosophical poetry plays a very special part between philosophy and religion, and science. It may now be said that what was once called "philosophy" no longer exists. The name has remained as a general label covering various kinds of researches such as sociology, psychology, logic, etc. Nothing corresponds any longer to what, s c i e n t i f i c a l l y speaking, formed the connecting link — metaphysics . . . . Metaphysics carried into the sci e n t i f i c realm conceptions which really belong to the domain of the w i l l . These metaphysical ideas cannot claim to have a place in science, but is that a reason for refusing to consider them? They belong to another order of truth: a r t i s t i c truth. — Denis Saurat from Literature and Occult Tradition: Studies in Philosophical Poetry I had the il l u s i o n that when one loves, just as when we create human children, we create a permanent image of love like an iron statue by a sculptor. I was horrified to discover that the image the other person carried within him bore no resemblance to one's own, or that i t could be annihilated by another love, or by a misunderstanding, or a distortion, or a failure of memory. This gave me a foretaste of death. We were not enshrined in the other's heart, and the one we loved was often immured, alone, separate from us. The war destroyed our i l l u s i o n of a strong, unshatterable intimate world of personal loves. — Anais Nin from The Diary of Anais Nin - iv - INTRODUCTION TO THE LOVE THEME In The Alexandria Quartet love as a form of "metaphysical enquiry"""" means a search f o r self-knowledge within a psychological equilibrium which i s not displaced by e i t h e r the characters' unavoidably r e l a t i v e perception or by the f i x i t y of the absolutes they choose to worship (Love, Art, Power). The philosophic D u r r e l l , v i s i b l e behind the i r o n i c humorist, asks himself and the reader of The Alexandria Quartet: Is there a balance to be found between the subjective i l l u s i o n s of the romantic imagination and the objective cynicism of i n t e l l e c t u a l i z e d love? In the a r t i s t i c sphere the question t r a n s l a t e s : Is there a l i t e r a r y equilibrium between the l y r i c mysticism of D. H. Lawrence's treatment of the love theme and the p r e s c r i p t i v e essayism of Aldous Huxley and Wyndham Lewis? The love theme i s not a romantic decoration superimposed upon the theme of the maturation of an a r t i s t . D u r r e l l ' s idea of the "heraldic universe" demands a b r u t a l l y honest preservation of naked experience. Heraldic v i s i o n necessitates an exposure of emotional f r a i l t y , stripped of the protection afforded by a r t and the temptation to compromise which constitutes accepted morality. The poems of C. P. Cavafy are per f e c t examples of t h i s stark but loving emotional honesty. Preservation of non-rationalized emotion creates the t r u l y loving r e l a t i o n s h i p between i n d i v i d u a l s , or between an i n d i v i d u a l and h i s surrounding. - 1 - 2 I n t h e r o m a n t i c s p e c t a c l e o f T h e A l e x a n d r i a Quartet l o v e i s a u t o n o m o u s ; s o m e t h i n g v i s i t e d u p o n t h e c h a r a c t e r s r a t h e r t h a n c r e a t e d b y t h e m . W h a t t h e y d o create a r e t h e i l l u s i o n s o f u n i t y a n d s h a r e d d e s t i n y f o s t e r e d b y t h e r o m a n t i c i m a g i n a t i o n . T h e d e f i n i t i o n o f l o v e a s " e v e r y s o r t o f c o n s p i r a c y " i s a c o m m e n t a r y u p o n J u s t i n e ' s d e c l a r a t i o n t h a t s h e " k n o w s " N e s s i m , " w h i l e t h e p o w e r o f r i c h e s a n d i n t r i g u e s t i r r e d 2 w i t h i n h e r n o w , t h e d e p u t i e s o f p a s s i o n . " O n l y t h e p o s s e s s i o n o f t h e s e " d e p u t i e s " a l l o w s J u s t i n e t o g l i m p s e p a s s i o n i t s e l f . I n C l e a , w h e n D a r l e y r e a l i z e s t h a t h i s i m a g e o f J u s t i n e w a s a p r o d u c t o f this s ame r o m a n t i c i m a g i n a t i o n , h e s u g g e s t s t h e d e f i n i t i o n o f man a s " a p o e t p e r p e t u a l l y c o n s p i r i n g a g a i n s t h i m s e l f " (C, 6 9 4 ) . R e l a t i v i t y o f p e r c e p t i o n b e c o m e s t h e e n e m y o f t h e p o e t - m a n : " ( ' P e r c e p t i o n i s s h a p e d l i k e a n e m b r a c e — ' t h e p o i s o n e n t e r s w i t h t h e e m b r a c e ' a s P u r s e w a r d e n w r i t e s " ) (C_, 6 9 4 ) . H e r a l d i c v i s i o n i s a f o r m o f p e r c e p t i o n w h i c h i s n o t a n a l y t i c a l , i n w h i c h t h e l o v e r ' s c o n c e n t r a t i o n d o e s n o t d i s p l a c e o r d i s t o r t t h e l o v e - o b j e c t i n t o a n i m p o s s i b l e f i c t i o n . F o r D u r r e l l t h i s p r o b l e m o f i m a g i n a t i o n a n d p e r c e p t i o n b e c o m e s u n i q u e l y m o d e r n — a v i s i o n o f t h e r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n o f l o v e i n a s a d i s t i c a l l y i n t r o v e r t e d m e n t a l w o r l d . I n t h e l i t e r a r y s p h e r e D u r r e l l ' s c o m p l a i n t i s i r o n i c a l l y s u m m a r i z e d b y P u r s e w a r d e n i n h i s " N o t e s t o B r o t h e r A s s " : " B u t i f y o u w i s h t o e n l a r g e t h e i m a g e t u r n t o E u r o p e , t h e E u r o p e w h i c h s p a n s , s a y , R a b e l a i s t o d e S a d e . A p r o g r e s s f r o m t h e b e l l y - c o n s c i o u s n e s s t o t h e h e a d - c o n s c i o u s n e s s , f r o m f l e s h a n d f o o d t o s w e e t ( s w e e t I ) r e a s o n . A c c o m p a n i e d b y a l l t h e i n t e r - c h a n g i n g i l l s w h i c h m o c k u s . A p r o g r e s s f r o m r e l i g i o u s e c s t a s y t o d u o d e n a l u l c e r ! " (C^, 7 5 7 ) . 3 Jung (Modern Man i n Search of a. Soul) f e l t that i n the past "psychic l i f e always found expression i n a metaphysical system of some sor t . But the conscious, modern man, despite h i s strenuous and dogged e f f o r t s to do so, can no longer r e f r a i n from acknowledging the might of psychic 3 forces." Darley sees Balthazar as one of the keys to the c i t y of Alexandria (J_, 78). Balthazar's attempt to escape h i s inverted sexuality through the Cabal f a i l s miserably because he i s t r y i n g to deny the interdependence of mind and body — i n h i s own words, " l e t t i n g my love poison my i n t e l l e c t and my i n t e l l e c t u a l reservations my love" (OJ, 706) . Narouz' preaching leads to a loss of humility, an involvement with the "powers of darkness" (J_, 144) . i n l i f e or a r t , i n s t i n c t s and psychic forces must be accepted and l i v e d out, not contained within a search for abstract t r u t h . Pursewarden, addressing Darley i n the "Notes," endorses the t e c h n i c a l mastery of the a r t of w r i t i n g , but emphasizes that "a great w r i t e r i s the servant of compulsions which are ordained by the very structure of the psyche and cannot be disregarded" (Cj, 758) . These compulsions must be not merely faced, but confronted, i f D u r r e l l ' s prototype characters are to defeat t h e i r own servitude to obsession and a n a l y s i s . CHAPTER I DURRELL'S PHILOSOPHY AND THE HERALDIC In the i n d i v i d u a l i s t a r t of the modern Romantic, love becomes a s e l f - r e f l e c t i n g mirror f o r the lover, who, i n the process of observing his own c o n f l i c t s and i l l u s i o n s p e r s o n i f i e s the aim of t h i s type of a r t i s t : "not to express himself i n h i s work, but to get to know himself by i t . " 4 Rank sees the a r t i s t ' s use of psychoanalytic theories as a l a s t attempt to f i n d an a r t i s t i c ideology other than s e l f - c o n f e s s i o n . This new a r t i s t i c personality w i l l be free to f i n d a new form i n which to create and cast aside t r a d i t i o n a l structures. D u r r e l l conjures up s e v e r a l v a r i a t i o n s of Rank's prototype a r t i s t for The Quartet. He depicts Arnauti, who depends on psychoanalysis and confession, and Pursewarden, who paraphrases Rank with "The object of w r i t i n g i s to grow a pe r s o n a l i t y which i n the end enables man to transcend a r t . " Balthazar describes Pursewarden's strange ideas about the make-up of the psyche with the example, "I regard i t as completely unsubstantial as a rainbow — i t only coheres i n t o i d e n t i f i a b l e states and a t t r i b u t e s when attention i s focused on i t . The trues t form of r i g h t attention i s of course love. Thus 'people' are as much of an i l l u s i o n to the mystic as 'matter' to the p h y s i c i s t when he i s regarding i t as a form of energy" (B_, 306) . The l a s t sentence i n t h i s quotation suggests a problem common to mystic, s c i e n t i s t , w r i t e r and lover: only concentration on small i d e n t i f i a b l e - 4 - 5 units of energy allows him to see "people" or "matter." If the area of attention i s enlarged the accepted human and material absolutes disappear. "Right attention" makes love the strongest absolute and the most easily destroyed by concentration and possession. Darley personifies the conflict between perception and emotion when he writes books describing what Pursewarden calls the "soul states of the human omelette" (C, 751). In The Black Book Lawrence Lucifer explains that by "heraldic" he means a "painted annihilation," a condition in which the actions he and his fellows perform are part of a fiction in which their "selves" are simply the "projections of an idea."^ The poet's world should be a v i t a l archetypal! image instead of a "painted annihilation." The disparity between the positive and negative modes of perception is illustrated by the contrasting views of the folklore lovers Yuna and Aziz. In Balthazar, the reader f i r s t meets them as part of Narouz' experience at the festival of Sitna Miriam. They inhabit a carnival booth as sugar figurines b r i l l i a n t with tinsel" (B_, 313) . But in the "Notes to Brother Ass" the reader sees Pursewarden's direct experience of their story (as told by Justine) and their transmutation into Artist and Muse in Pursewarden's dream. In The Alexandria Quartet love and art share a mutually parasitic relationship. Love may not nourish the man or woman in Durrell's characters, but i t does feed their art; while art cannot be perfected without the pain of love. The artists and solitaries — Pursewarden, Clea, and Darley — desire immediacy of self-revelation and are grateful when direct experience of emotional pain allows them to see outside the relative world and into the heraldic realm of v i t a l archetypal images. The ar t i s t prototypes 6 resist the bondage to history, ideas and external forces which plague Nessim and Mountolive. Durrell contrasts the latter figures with the a r t i s t prototypes, who w i l l not condemn themselves to lovelessness and self-destruction for the sake of power or ideals. Durrell's a r t i s t i c solitaries search for a tenderness which is not based on narcissism, lust, or delusive passion. The theoretical framework for the prototype artists and lovers is furnished by Durrell's free interpretation of Freud, Rank, Jung, Groddeck, and de Rougemont — original thinkers who insisted on breaking the barriers of the old ideas about mental and sexual l i f e . There are several tributes to D. H. Lawrence in The Quartet, and many to C. P. Cavafy. The former fought a l l his l i f e against "rationalized morality," and the latter realized that the pure act of acceptance or resignation ("Che Fece . . . II Gran Rifiuto" ["The Great Yea or Nay"]) determines freedom or servitude within the range of 6 experience. The Black Book illustrates many of Durrell's early personal concepts, including the heraldic vision, which offers an escape from questions of truth and the soul as well as from determinacy and causality. Clea suggests that the "poetic symbolism . . . the shape of nature i t s e l f " was what Pursewarden was trying to convey to Darley in the "Notes" (fj, 744). I believe that the heraldic balances the equation of l i f e , so that metaphysical or moral probing becomes unnecessary. Pursewarden says in the "Notes": "Whoever makes this enigmatic leap into the heraldic reality of the poetic l i f e discovers that truth has i t s own b u i l t - i n morality!" (OJ, 772). But his explanations are as enigmatic as the idea i t s e l f . Durrell's meaning is c l a r i f i e d i f heraldic is added to 7 the word something in the following quotation: The whole question, in essence, is acceptance, the depersonaliza- tion of self, of the society which one has absorbed. It is not only a question of art, but a question of l i f e . You are altered, affected, transmuted by this orientation. Whatever was your antecedent, your history, that no longer matters to me. I can no longer whimper when your head goes down like a hammer on the white pillow. The strange accidents of bone, the syntax of muscle and cartilage, exist in a relation to some- thing that i s no longer history or ideals.7 The speaker, Lawrence Lucifer, promises that whatever remains of poignant significance when "cupid's loaves and fishes are gathered up" w i l l belong to his inner strength; not destroyed by writing, but a part of l i f e . Like Lawrence Lucifer, Lawrence Durrell wishes to show a l l the p i t f a l l s of reason and passion in a literary work, yet leave the completion of love and self-possession enigmatically vague — part of l i f e , not art. "Solange," a work composed of blank verse and prose, was written in 7 1938 and "lengthened" and "retouched" for publication in 1967. "Solange" emphasizes the division of mind and body, the triumph of rational love over the mystical which i s a major complaint in The Alexandria Quartet: working with pink tongue or tooth towards some mystical emphasis, a l i f e without sanctions in the forever, so long ago, so far away from a l l this contemporary whimperdom Solange sole angel of the seekers, their prop medal and recourse faces crisper than oak-leaves your burial service covered a l l the coward and the brave the perfectly solid fact as symbol of humanity's education less a woman with legs than something, say that oven into which Descartes locked himself in order 8 to enunciate the f i r s t principle of his system; the oven Planck consulted after a l l the spectroscope's t h r i l l i n g finery to deduce the notion of quanta, always the same oven, never any bread, the XXth century loaf is an equation Solange be like mirrors accumulating nothing. The Black Book and "Solange" quotations contain a common rejection of contemporary "whimperdom" — the rationalization of love and death or spontaneous sexuality — as well as the fear and trembling of psyches obsessed by their own movements. A concise definition of heraldic would echo the description of Solange: "the perfectly solid fact as symbol." Solange represents the movements of the collective modern mind toward philosophic and sc i e n t i f i c equations which ignore a balanced enjoyment of sexuality and produce only barren abstractions. In order to escape the poles of romantic sentimentality and rational cynicism, extra-causal forces and the "shadow-side" of life"'"'"1 (Jung's term) must be uncompromisingly accepted. The sort of metaphysics Durrell wants to avoid i s typified by Gregory in The Black Book when he refers to metaphysics as "the last refuge of the actor.""'""'" Gregory sees himself 12 as "an actor on an empty stage, his only audience the c r i t i c a l self." The Hamlet prototype can never utter the affirming "Yea" of Cavafy; never elect to be_ within the "whole bloody range!1 (C, 755) from the holy to the obscene. Relativity of perception i s an isolating force, but humanity and tenderness must not disintegrate beneath the weight of i l l u s i o n . In Justine that i s Darley's condition as well as Hamlet's. The positive meaning of metaphysics for Durrell is best defined by his remarks in the preface to Groddeck's Book of the It. He refers to 9 Groddeck as a "natural philosopher, as incapable of separating body and 13 mind as he is incapable of separating health and disease." He terms Groddeck's philosophy one of "acceptance through understanding," as opposed to Freud's "philosophy of knowledge.""^ But Durrell respects Groddeck most because he "refused the temptations of an a r t i f i c i a l morality in his dealings with l i f e , and preferred to accord i t f u l l rights as an Unknown from which i t might be possible for the individual to extract an equation for ordinary living.""*"^ The acceptance of l i f e as an Unknown is a v i t a l part of Durrell's "theatre of the idea." Pursewarden, the ideological spokesman of The Quartet, repeats the same parable: fear of the dualities of good and e v i l , love and hate, contained within the man-made absolutes Love and God i s destructive. Dualism and absolutes issue from the imagination of man, especially the romantic imagination. Darley's account of his affair with Justine, her relation to Nessim, Da Capo's tale of homunculi, Balthazar's degradation for Panagotis' sake, (in fact a great part of The Quartet) demonstrate the desire to unite at the risk of a physical and/or spiritual death which is common to high romantic literature and dime-store novels. But Durrell's poetry describes erotic love as a desperate compromise between biological process and spiritual movement or transmutation. Only individual self- identification and unity can defeat the fear and shame caused by the physical-metaphysical, mind-body duality. Fraser attributes this aspect of Durrell's symbolism to Jung and the old alchemists' concept of "alchemical process as a metaphor for, or analogical representation of spiritual process. ""^ 10 "The Prayer Wheel" describes a d e l i c a t e counterpoint between love and the laws of process — "Time i n love's d i u r n a l motion." Stanza three shows the a l l i a n c e of love with natural process: Teach us the already known, Turning i n the i n v i s i b l e saucer By a pe r f e c t recreation A i r and water mix and part. Reaffirm the lover's process, Faith and love i n f l e s h alloyed, Spring the c i s t e r n s of the heart: B u i l d the house of entertainment On the c o l d circumference Candle-pointed i n the V o i d . 1 7 Stanza s i x points to the i n f i n i t y of the he r a l d i c world, where lovers become t i n y chemical units whose language and actions cannot grasp the symbolic unity of the Unknown: What i s known i s never written. By the equal d i s t r i b u t i o n He and She and I t are genders, Sparks of carbon on the c i r c l e Meeting i n the porch of sex. Faces mix and numbers mingle Many aspects of the One Teach the human compromise. Speech w i l l never s t a i n the blue, Nor the lover's o c c u l t kisses Hold the curves of Paradise.18 In The Alexandria Quartet the characters s u f f e r from the tension between desire f o r union on the sexual plane and maintenance of t h e i r nature as i n d i v i d u a l s . There i s a constant transmutation of s p i r i t u a l or emotional values from baser to higher l e v e l s (Melissa, seen as p r o s t i t u t e , muse, and honesty incarnate, by Nessim, Darley, and Pursewarden, fo r example), but the condition of desire remains s t a t i c : Crude man i n h i s coat of nerves and h a i r Whose kisses l i k e apostles go about On tra n s l a t e d business never quite h i s own, Derives from the obscure medium of the body, As through some glass c o f f i n , a r e t r i e v e d s p r i t e , Himself holding the holy b o t t l e , f a s t asleep.1^ 11 Durrell's poetry sketches a blueprint for personal equilibrium by working from the extremes of social conformity and mystical self-identification towards a "human compromise," a tragic-ironic capitulation to the conditions of l i f e under which people strive to love and recognize each other. "Elegy on the Closing of the French Brothels" is a lament on this issue of human compromise. The brothel inmates are: . . . the few great healers Who understand the penalties of confession, And cannot fear these half-invented Gods, 20 Inhabiting our own citi e s of unconquered pain. Tessa, the only named figure in the "Elegy," is a poetic relative of Melissa of Alexandria: Invented already this darker niece of Egypt, Who leaves the small hashish-pipe by the pillow, Uneasy in red slippers like the dust in urns, The smashed columns, wells f u l l of leaves, The faces white as burns.21 The close of the "Elegy" t e l l s us that when fear of the shame of physical love has been conquered no one w i l l be happier, but they w i l l be self-identified, at rest with their own natures, instead of seeking like Da Capo's homunculi to feed upon each other. The metaphysical goal i s clearly stated: . . . We have s t i l l to outgrow The prohibitions in us with the fears they grow from: For the beloved w i l l be no happier Nor the unloved less hungry when the miracle begins: Yet both w i l l be ineffably disclosed In their own natures by simplicity Like roses i n a giving off of grace.^2 Freedom, for the prototypes in The Alexandria Quartet consists of an. escape from duality and the achievement of self-identity. To concretize this poetic idea, Durrell must illustrate a paradox which is central to his philosophy: to fight or struggle for self-possession, self-love, is to lose i t . 12 The key to Durrell's parable l i e s i n the r e l a t i o n of h i s prototype characters to t h e i r imaginations and the love-ideals contained within them. Aft e r a d e t a i l e d examination of the various modes of love and t h e i psychological and h i s t o r i c a l backgrounds, two d i s t i n c t concentrations emerge around Narouz and Pursewarden, who refused to compromise and halted the i n e v i t a b l e reduction of t h e i r c r e d i b i l i t y by death. The f i r s t concentration i s upon the idea of struggle — i n the words of Narouz, "the i n j u s t i c e of a d i v i n i t y which respects only man's struggle to possess hi s own soul" (M, 578). The second area emphasizes submission, and i s best i l l u s t r a t e d by Liza's dictum that Pursewarden's "one job i s to learn how to submit to despair" (M, 440). Pursewarden l i v e s i n the l i t e r a r y imagination and h i s major love i s h i s s i s t e r , a double and a muse for whom he created a legendary world. Narouz' imagination l i e s dormant, h i s l i f e one of contact with the earth and p r i m i t i v e tribesmen, his world a palpable and harsh d a i l y r e a l i t y . Pursewarden submits to the l i f e of h i s imagination, surrendering any power over L i z a i n order that a new love may l i v e . In Narouz imaginative l i f e creates a deformed and i n f l a t e d ego, and he dies howling l i k e a wounded beast for a love he never had. The parable which emerges from the contrast between the deaths of Narouz and Pursewarden shows that love and self-possession are arts which transcend h i s t o r y and i d e a l s . D u r r e l l remarked i n an interview that "Pursewarden's suicide i s the s a c r i f i c i a l s u icide of a true cathar." His death i s Gnostic i n the sense used by de Rougemont i n describing the Catharist doctrine: " L i f e should be ended, 'not out of weariness nor out of fear of pain, but i n a state of utter detachment from nature'. 13 This state denotes an acceptance of the naked s e l f , a f e e l i n g that there i s nothing to s t r i v e for i n the external world. Narouz dies l i k e a crusader; a r e l i g i o u s and n a t i o n a l i s t i c pretext allows him to use God as a weapon i n h i s f i g h t for self-possession. Because he has no s e l f - l o v e , h i s childhood resentment and hatred surface with h i s poetic a b i l i t y . Both the p r i m i t i v e Narouz and the urbane Pursewarden are custodians of the "poetic consciousness which lay, c o i l e d l i k e a spring, i n the heart of everyone" (M, 579). The immense and s i g n i f i c a n t contrast l i e s i n the manner of t h e i r death — Pursewarden "with h i s nose cocked to the c e i l i n g , i n h i s amused privacy" (B, 313) and Narouz, with h i s whip c o i l e d around h i s body, facing the unseen enemy. The characters i n The Alexandria Quartet are types or prototypes. I t i s only by asking how these prototypes represent the l a r g e r structure of meaning, and what they stand for i n mythical and psychological r e a l i t y , that one can locate the "common axis" within The Quartet. The poles of struggle and acceptance are e a s i l y recognized. The f i r s t consists of r a t i o n a l , e t h i c a l , and c o d i f i e d modes of dealing with l i f e and b e l i e f . Examples are vassalage and the master-servant r e l a t i o n (with the attendant possible complicity i n conspiracy), the i d e a l of duty, the f i g h t i n g e t h i c , the recovery of the l o s t r i g h t s of a national group, and extreme a n a l y t i c a l thought. Ranged at t h i s end are the forces of passion, yearning, a s p i r a t i o n and, as far as the love theme i s concerned, the concomitant d e i f i c a t i o n of another person, or the need to receive nourishment from him i n a mental sense. The e n t i r e Hosnani family uses passion and struggle to obtain t h e i r aims. 14 The second mode of being resides i n the " e s s e n t i a l l y l y r i c a l " i r r a t i o n a l idea of gnosis. Here the oldest myths and fears must be confronted without the j u s t i f i c a t i o n of psychological or moral c a u s a l i t y . Here dwell the oracle, the b l i n d muse, incest, the murder of a brother, g u i l t and desires hidden from the conscious mind. Yet at t h i s end of the spectrum we f i n d tenderness, the poetic consciousness and the imagina- t i v e acceptance of the dark, i n e x p l i c a b l e facets of existence. S e l f - knowledge must emerge from the ancient culture deposits of " h i s t o r i c consciousness" which form the foundations of Alexandria and through her control the prototype characters. When E. M. Forster says that "History develops, Art stands s t i l l " he r e f e r s to the e s s e n t i a l creative task of the a r t i s t versus that of 25 the recorder of " f a c t . " D u r r e l l i s working more along the l i n e s of Otto Rank's theory of the basic dualism between the i n d i v i d u a l and the community, and the ex a l t a t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l a r t i s t as a genius. "The creative a r t i s t i c personality i s thus the f i r s t work of the productive i n d i v i d u a l , " writes Rank.^ Though "the c l a s s i c a l i n a r t i s what marches by int e n t i o n with the cosmology of the age" (B_, 385) , and the age has a c o l l e c t i v e s t y l e of i t s own, the job of the i n d i v i d u a l a r t i s t i s the one ou t l i n e d by Clea: "to harness time i n the c u l t i v a t i o n of a s t y l e of heart." Love i t s e l f , i n The Alexandria Quartet might be defined as an imbalanced equation between time and the s e l f . The history-bound characters i n The Quartet e x i s t i n a state of arrested development, even to the extent of being " l i v e d " by t h e i r complementaries i n the Alexandrian past. D u r r e l l evokes an Alexandria which i s an oasis of morbid pleasure and introsp e c t i o n , where the i l l u s i o n 15 of "time spread out f l a t " (M, 624) makes the thoughts of Petronius coeval with those of Einstein. Alexandria is a dream city which entices i t s inhabitants with false promises of fulfillment. But just outside i t s confines i s the desert, "fanned by the bleakness of a faith which renounced worldly pleasure." The landscape i t s e l f i s a model for the polarities of indulgence and renunciation, neither of which is a satis- factory solution for the true a r t i s t or lover. CHAPTER II PERSONALITY CREATION: THE NOVEL AS THERAPEUTIC INQUIRY The dualistic mode of representing character and psychological attitude makes i t necessary for The Quartet to reveal meaning and value through contrast. Many c r i t i c s have noted the number of characters who balance and echo each other through the four volumes. One function of the repetition device i s to underline the blind responses, codes, and conditioned patterns which characters like Justine, Nessim, and Mountolive operate by and build into such complicated (and to the naive Darley of Justine) glamorous exteriors. The second function of the repeated type is to highlight the chosen exemplars of the City; to demonstrate the d i f f i c u l t y under which a Pombal must labour i f he is to escape "heart-whole" (J, 24) from Alexandria i f an Antony could not. Durrell creates so many varied exemplars, tragi-comic martyrs to their own dreams, in an effort to dramatize the process of self-liberation amidst the most fantastic collection of obsessive and fanatic types. 2 7 Love, the "point faible" of the psyche, allows the novelist to take an intimate look through the windows and mirrors of the Alexandrians into their deepest motives and insights. When Pursewarden describes the terms "help-meet" and "loving-kindness" as lost and great expressions he i s demonstrating the degeneration of the definition of love from a humanly specific term to an abstraction. - 16 - 17 I believe that Durrell's response to Marc Alyn i n Le Grand Suppositoire, regarding the argument of The Black Book applies equally to The Quartet, but within a much larger f i e l d of enquiry. According to the author, The Black Book puts the case for the d i f f i c u l t y of s e l f - l i b e r a t i o n and the problem was to make of oneself an open wound so as to reach a point from which to overcome the twisted aspects of one's person a l i t y . I admired that i n M i l l e r ; a c e r t a i n contempt for l i t e r a t u r e which ends by turning i t i n t o a therapy. To free oneself of tensions. Such a p r o j e c t was rather a p h i l o s o p h i c a l one, r e l i g i o u s even, although I d i s l i k e the word. I f the truth be t o l d , I came very close to madness. I t was absolutely v i t a l for me to face up to these problems. Impossible then to f a l l back on Freud and Jung, etc., who have been such a help to me s i n c e . ^ The "Consequential Data" i n Balthazar give a more ambitious and extended objective as the "argument" of The Quartet: "My object i n the novels? To interrogate human values through an honest representation of the human passions. A desirable end, perhaps a hopeless objective" (B_, 387). Durrell's argument with the modern European value system dramatizes his personal b e l i e f i n a form of emotional s e l f - d i s c o v e r y which seems overly abstract i n h i s explanations of the "heraldic universe" and overly c r y p t i c i n h i s poems. The Quartet asks: Is there an equilibrium to be found between the i r o n i c distance of Pursewarden and the subjective analysis of Balthazar and Arnauti? Is there a means of i n v e s t i g a t i n g values, e s p e c i a l l y sexual and moral ones, without using the prophetic tone of D. H. Lawrence, or the s a t i r i c voice of Huxley or Lewis? D u r r e l l wrote Henry M i l l e r that he wanted The Quartet to have a high degree of l u c i d i t y because the "thread of EXPERIENCE shines through." Only the richness of experience can make p l a u s i b l e the revelations of self-knowledge and paradoxical l o g i c which precede entry i n t o the 18 "heraldic universe." I believe that Durrell admires the honesty of the Gnostic sects in the same way in which he respects Groddeck and Cavafy; they refused to accept a conventional morality or system of values without f i r s t investigating personal experience to the limit. R. M. Grant defines Gnostic attitudes: "The Gnostic approach to l i f e is thus a 'passionate subjectivity' which counts the world well lost for the sake of self-discovery." After emphasizing the divergent views of Gnostic sects, and their common interest in mythology, Grant states that "Gnostics were ultimately devoted not to mythology but to freedom . . . Gnostic self-knowledge, the result of revelation, is salvation; i t 30 issues in freedom and a fresh sense of creativity." The f i r s t definition could easily be inserted into Justine and not betray i t s origin. Darley's reaction to Balthazar's Interlinear shows that Justine was an entirely personal view of Alexandria which became "as dear as a philosophy of introspection, almost a monomania" (B_, 214) . Justine herself is an "arrow in darkness" in the search for self-knowledge. Her s p i r i t of passionate inquiry is marred by the "Judeo-Coptic mania for dissection" (J_, 24) and the burden of modern neuroses. Grant's second definition, referring to freedom and fresh creativity is the goal seen by Clea and Darley at the close of The Quartet. Gnosis is only one of several types of h i s t o r i c a l , literary and philosophical background which Durrell uses as thematic links to tie the efforts of individual characters to the history of Alexandria and the need to escape from i t s atmosphere of arid sexuality and abstract speculation. The i l l u s t r a t i o n of a metaphysical revelation (often the result of ironic juxtaposition of points of view) as i t emerges from the conflict 19 between time and the self, i s the raison d'etre of The Quartet. These moments of awakening from i l l u s i o n are described by Durrell as "the exact moment of creation," the "adventive moment" (C, 659), and the 31 point at which one becomes a "see-er" or a "self-seer." The four volumes are carefully planned in tone and the degree of introspection and intimacy allowed by point of view artfully shifted, so that the reader must involve himself in Justine with "passionate subjectivity" akin to .that of Darley, proceed to reflection and skepticism in Balthazar, and at last see the conspiracy and intrigue i n Mountolive on an objective level. Simultaneously the reader realizes the limitations which the characters joyfully impose upon their own freedom of action; irrevocably setting down a grid of circumstance which w i l l imprison them a l l in the name of personal fulfillment or achievement, but which is in reality i t s antithesis. This process would make a f i t t i n g summary of the history of romantic love and i t s obsessional, fated and pre-determined nature. 32 Durrell has written that Mountolive is the clou to the tetralogy. The determinism of the book is almost suffocating. Rigidity is constantly emphasized in images of ancient frescoes, ikons, suits of armour, even allusions to being buried alive: "They were both bound now, tied like bondsmen to the unrolling action which illustrated the personal predis- positions of neither. They had embarked on a free exercise of the w i l l only to find themselves shackled, bricked up by the historical process" (M, 566). On the following page the constraint put upon personal freedom by duty and ri g i d ideals is described: 20 The knowledge of the f a c t that they must, expressionless as knights n a i l e d into suits of armour, continue upon a predetermined course, constituted both a separation and a new, deeper bond; a more passionate comradeship, such as s o l d i e r s enjoy upon the f i e l d of b a t t l e , aware that they have renounced a l l thought of human continuity i n terms of love, family, f r i e n d s , home — become servants of an ir o n w i l l which exhibits i t s e l f i n the mailed mask of duty. (M, 567) Mountolive i s the book of h i s t o r i c a l process, even i n the psychological sense. Mountolive i s the only volume to provide a childhood or adolescence for the major characters — Mountolive, Nessim, and even Pursewarden. I t i s t h i s book which contains the statement that "Love i s every sort of conspiracy" (M, 556). The desire of conspirators to serve t h e i r cause regardless of the feelings of others p a r a l l e l s r e l i g i o u s or high romantic devotion of the type described by Denis de Rougemont i n Love i n the Western World; i t consumes the w i l l e i t h e r v o l u n t a r i l y or i n v o l u n t a r i l y and d e l i v e r s the characters over to the power of obsessional passions. Spontaneous action and f e e l i n g are c o r o l l a r i e s of h e r a l d i c v i s i o n . Mountolive i s characterized by images of withheld action which take the form of grotesque pregnancies. Only the c l o s i n g scene at Narouz' funeral dissolves the r a t i o n a l r e s t r a i n t s on f u l f i l l i n g the demands of the senses, and prepares the reader for the r e b i r t h of f e e l i n g i n Clea. To Nessim, the sounds of water t r i c k l i n g and sponges crushing on the body of h i s brother "seemed part of an e n t i r e l y new f a b r i c of thought and emotion" (M, 651). For Nessim, his brother's death i s a l i b e r a t i o n from the c o n f l i c t between love and duty. The master-servant d u a l i t y of t h e i r power struggle i s at l a s t n u l l i f i e d . Narouz had o r i g i n a l l y exhibited a passion to serve c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of many of the Quartet's exemplars. With Justine i t i s an "Oriental 21 desire" (B_, 242) , a kind of c a t a l y t i c function which suppresses any form of d i r e c t action, and ensures that she never emerges as a d i s c r e t e p e r s o n a l i t y . Only the desire to please and the possession of j e a l o u s l y guarded secrets give Justine's performance a meaning. An image of withheld action caused by the desire to please i s presented i n the character Nur, the trapped l e s s e r o f f i c i a l beneath Memlik. He resembles a "foetus i n a b o t t l e (M, 595) . Darley r e a l i z e s i n retrospect that Justine was carrying Pursewarden's death within her, " i n v i s i b l e as the already conceived foetus of a c h i l d " (B_, 367) . To these examples of s t i f l e d and abnormal growth must be added the picture of Mountolive " i n f l a t e d now by a sense of tremendous d i g n i t y and self-importance . . . . He walked"slowly, l i k e a pregnant woman nearing term, drinking i n the sights and sounds" (M, 625). In the context of the h i s t o r y and culture of Alexandria, t h i s passion to serve and please which y i e l d s only a f a l s e grandeur and a dangerous lack of perception towards the consequences of action i s a death for Pursewarden's dream of the t r u l y creative, expressive p e r s o n a l i t y . This desire to please at a l l costs i s the weakest spot i n the "point f a i b l e " of the psyche which i s love. Justine's q u a l i t i e s are so dispersed, she i s so uncomprehending about h e r s e l f , that the lack of unity defines her and makes her seem l i k e an ancient goddess, with no single q u a l i t y that can be loved or hated. The manner i n which Justine l i v e s — always c a l c u l a t i n g and gambling on the future while she assesses her lovers as dangerous or not dangerous to the p o l i t i c a l p l o t — i s a betrayal of love and the c i t y i t s e l f , which made even Caesar and Antony forget t h e i r p o l i t i c a l selves for a time and l i v e as lovers f i r s t . Paradoxically, but quite c l e a r l y , Justine operates by 22 the same p r i n c i p l e as David Mountolive. Pursewarden meditates on the d i f f i c u l t y of being a career diplomat and the necessary s u f f e r i n g of f a t u i t i e s " d e l i b e r a t e l y endured i n the name of what was most holy i n the profession, namely the desire to please, the determination to captivate i n order to influence" (M, 519). In the f i r s t and l a s t glimpses of Justine, from the time she d e l i v e r s Darley to Nessim to the point at which she leads Memlik down the s t r e e t , her desire to locate the weak spot, the "point f a i b l e , " and her determination to please i n order to captivate are the same. The increasing i n t e n s i t y , volume by volume, of o b j e c t i v i t y towards pain and knowledge mirrors growth i n a way t h a t - t r u l y seems not temporal, but s p a t i a l — conditioned by the angle of inquiry which dominates the p a r t i c u l a r book. Yet, because of the c a r e f u l l y designed layers of new information and speculation, the continuum of discovery experienced by the characters and the word continuum of the structure go hand i n hand. The word continuum defines and r e f l e c t s growth and the attainment of self-knowledge i n the reader of the poem " C i t i e s , Plains and People": To a l l who turn and s t a r t descending The long sad r i v e r of t h e i r growth: The tidebound, tepid, causeless Continuum of t e r r o r s i n the s p i r i t , I give you here unending In idleness an innocent beginning 33 U n t i l your pain becomes a l i t e r a t u r e . The idea of r e l a t i v i t y i s used as a t o o l to vary and adjust the points of view which e i t h e r increase or diminish t h i s pain, and the c o - r e l a t i v e degree of self-knowledge. There are many blatant c l i c h e s i n The Quartet. Most of them, such as Darley's b e l i e f that he was immeasurably enriched by h i s experience with Justine, are conventional rationales of the 23 romantic lover. The best way to assuage the pain of experience (at l e a s t i n t e l l e c t u a l l y ) i s to value experience i t s e l f as innately enriching. One of the most important i n d i c a t o r s of Durrell's purpose i s Pursewarden, and he never values experience for i t s own sake. He sees Justine as "that tiresome sexual t u r n s t i l e " (J_, 285) — an everpresent necessity rather than a fresh experience. Yet he also sees her as a human being instead of a goddess or mythic queen, and t r i e s to solve the problem of her "Check" (the obsession with a memory of childhood rape) with a suggestion of d i r e c t action. Pursewarden attempts to free her from her neuroses rather than define her by them as Darley does. Durrell's use of the novel as a vehicle for inquiry and therapeutic r e v e l a t i o n reached i t s greatest range and height i n The Quartet. Tunc and Nunquam ( c o l l e c t i v e l y t i t l e d The Revolt of Aphrodite) and the Prince of Darkness (or Monsieur) a l l e x h i b i t a s e l f - s a t i r e on t h i s revelatory and metaphysical mode, and show a complete f a i l u r e to achieve the balance of paradox and irony, form and content, that make The Alexandria Quartet a great work. The device of two or more a r t i s t s or writers i s maintained i n the l a t e r novels (in the case of Tunc-Nunquam an inventor i s substituted, but with the same general e f f e c t ) . Koepgen, the poet of Tunc-Nunquam i s a revealing character i n the s e l f - s a t i r e , which i s not contained within the text i n a f i c t i o n a l s e t t i n g (as i s the case with Darley and Pursewarden), but quite obviously i n v i t e s the reader to compare Koepgen's a r t i s t i c process to D u r r e l l ' s own. Caradoc, the a r c h i t e c t (another kind of s c i e n t i f i c a r t i s t ) comments on Koepgen: "'He has been slumming among the Gnostics, s e l l i n g h i s b i r t h r i g h t f o r a pot of message. He w i l l end by becoming an Orthodox Proust or a | 24 monarcho-trappist. A l l monks are grotesque lay figures — figures of 34 funk.'" A description of Koepgen's poems contains the same claim for a romantic identity between acts and thoughts that echoes through the Quartet: "moving ideograms of other love-objects liv i n g in their Platonic form — 'man' 'rose' 'fi r e ' 'star.' A l l the furniture of Koepgen's poems, which he claimed were really 'acts, the outer skin of 35 thought.'" This aphorism occurs in the Quartet in conjunction with the idea of sexual love as knowledge. Clea quotes Paracelsus, ("thoughts are acts") (c:, 739) and proceeds to outline Pursewarden' s theory of sex as the "key to a metaphysical search which i s our raison d'etre here below" (C_, 760) . And i t is religion, according to Pursewarden, that has prevented the realization of this truth, especially the rational- ethical form of western religious thought. The Alexandria Quartet satirizes religions and cults, whether mystic or p o l i t i c a l , which the characters espouse rather than face the frightening task of personality creation without crutches. If Pursewarden is the theoretical spokesman for the Quartet, Clea i s i t s recordkeeper. She co-ordinates and rethinks events and emotions which the other characters are too busy experiencing. Clea's letters give the last news of Alexandria in a l l of the books, excepting the objective Mountolive. In the letter at the close of Justine she sends Darley news that supports the claim of John Paul Russo that Capodistria's rape of Justine motivated the analyses of her "Check" by the other characters, and in turn set off their own self-analyses; so that "Capodistria's crime, in this sense, causes the entire Quartet." Clea proceeds to document Justine's collapse on the sexual and mental planes when the motivating force of the "Check" i s removed, the regeneration 25 of Nessim's passional l i f e with Melissa, and the subsequent shame and return of "the old heartsickness" (the disease which true Alexandrians die of, according to Leila) (C, 864). Finally Clea arrives at her point about this war for self-possession and control of the ego and sexuality which was the world of Justine. She writes: "'Lovers are never equally matched — do you think? One always overshadows the other and stunts his or her growth so that the overshadowed one must always be tormented by a desire to escape, to be free to grow. Surely this i s the only tragic thing about love?'" (J, 193). Her last hope is for a friendship which is "wordless, idealess." She leaves faith in the body to the priests. It is f i d e l i t y in the "culprit mind" that truly liberates. The Quartet clearly defines the way to failure in love through possession, pity, confessional relationships, and even love by correspondence. Capodistria becomes an arch priest to Justine, Liza a courtly love heroine to Pursewarden, Leila the image of Egypt to Mountolive, and Panagotis the "personage of Seleucia" of Cavafy's poem "One of their Gods" to Balthazar. It is important to note that Clea, as the cornerstone of the romantic development without enslavement or possession, might easily have become overshadowed by Amaril, but recovers to proudly name herself the co-author of Semira's nose. Amaril is Pygmalion, but not Clea's Pygmalion. Clea refers to Justine's reverence for Capodistria, and her search for "Humility! The last trap that awaits the ego in search of absolute truth" (J, 192) and reflects that Justine's loss of a block of her l i f e would have resulted i n religious conversion i f she had not been an Alexandrian. Yet the words arch-priest, absolution, confessional, mark 26 the remainder of Clea's commentary. She is making the same judgement that Pursewarden makes on Balthazar's dependence on the Cabal, and the general trend of city man toward occultism to combat the absence of freedom and style which the a r t i s t must struggle to extract from modern l i f e . Durrell i s paralleling Jung's analogy between the loss of true religious expression as a means of dealing with the unknown and darker contents of the psyche, and the rise of occult replacements i n the modern era. In Modern Man in Search of a Soul Jung underlines the fascination of the modern man with "the almost pathological manifestations of the unconscious mind." He points out the growth of spiritualism, theosophy, and similar mystical investigations of the psyche, and concludes: We can compare i t only to the flowering of Gnostic thought in the f i r s t and second centuries after Christ. The spiritual currents of the present have, in fact, a deep aff i n i t y with Gnosticism . . . . Compared with these move- ments the interest in s c i e n t i f i c psychology is negligible. What is striking about Gnostic systems is that they are based exclusively upon the manifestations of the unconscious, and that their moral teachings do not baulk at the shadow-side of l i f e . . . . The passionate interest in these movements arises undoubtedly from psychic energy which can no longer be invested in obsolete forms of religion.37 Pursewarden gives Darley a serious, yet ironic background to his novel God is a Humorist. Clea's letter echoes Pursewarden's assertions, especially the idea that religion is a great trap for the ego, and she was reading God is a. Humorist at the time of writing. Pursewarden explains to Darley that Balthazar "will never understand that i t is with God we must be the most careful; for He makes such a powerful appeal to what i s lowest in human nature — our feeling of insufficiency, fear of the unknown, personal failings; above a l l our monstrous egotism which sees in the martyr's crown an athletic prize which is really hard 27 to a t t a i n " (J, 116-7). He continues with one of the most grotesque and minute accounts of b i o l o g i c a l process i n l i t e r a t u r e — an organ by organ d e t a i l i n g of man, "searching for a co-ordinating scheme, the syntax of a W i l l , which might s t a b i l i z e everything and take the tragedy out of i t " (J, 117). The noise of the body motions, the mechanics of thought.on the a r t e r i a l l e v e l , never allow a mystic quiet, a pause i n which to ascertain one's exact p o s i t i o n . The g r i s l y account ends with the sound of a voice reading Cavafy, "with an emotion so deep that i t was almost horror": Ideal voices and much beloved Of those who died, of those who are Now l o s t f o r us l i k e the very dead; Sometimes within a dream they speak Or i n the t i c k i n g brain a thought revives them . . . . Both these utterances of the A r t i s t betray the most powerful demiurge who leers over The Quartet: the natural appetite for tragedy and chaos, revealed i n the act of worshipping our greatest weaknesses (dependency, egotism, g u i l t ) and the mind which a r b i t r a r i l y returns l o s t i deals i n forms which do not e x i s t for the s u f f e r i n g v i c t i m i n r e a l i t y ; l o s t opportunities for human contact i n a world i n which the characters are s o l i t a r i e s . The only mode of escape i s by looking honestly at the tr a n s i t o r i n e s s of l i f e and i t s "shadow-side." D u r r e l l employs a considerable amount of background l i t e r a t u r e on the theory and psychology of love, and the influence of writers who have b a t t l e d morality i n The Man Who Died i s c i t e d as an example of a parable depicting the r e b i r t h of free man — "His [Lawrence's] struggle i s ours — to rescue Jesus from Moses" (C_, 762) . The "Notes to Brother Ass" i n Clea are often tedious and over-blown, but they do d e l i v e r a prophetic 28 message, i f the frozen images of r e l i g i o u s s t r i c t u r e i n Mountolive are kept i n mind, and the personal findings of the mole-like Darley of Justine r e c a l l e d — the enrichment of even a " f a l s e " love. The search of the a r t i s t for a way to r e l a t e the physical and the metaphysical becomes one which centres on the love experience. Otto Rank finds a r t responsible for the i n d i v i d u a l i z a t i o n of God, and the humanization of the soul. Men of an age l i k e the Renaissance, such as Shakespeare and Michelangelo, a r t i s t s i s o l a t e d from c o l l e c t i v e r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f s , 3: developed a need for an i n d i v i d u a l Muse, or i n d i v i d u a l i z e d soul concept. The despair which Pursewarden suffers i s exactly the malady of the a r t i s t inseparably, and i n t h i s case, incestuously re l a t e d to h i s Muse. Like a l l e g o r i c a l characters, the. prototypes of The Alexandria Quartet are governed by c e r t a i n passions or ideas which control t h e i r actions. Narouz, i n s p i r e d by the recluse Taor, has reasserted the p r i m i t i v e worship of the soul of the land i t s e l f , beloved Egypt. Although Narouz i s i n f e c t e d by the will-to-power, the source of poetic beauty i s the same — the idea of the soul and the i n d i v i d u a l muse. Here Narouz and Pursewarden meet i n "man's struggle to possess h i s own soul." The enigmatic a r t i s t and the a s c e t i c who wields a whip, are both plagued by a love which was doomed to remain an ideogram, both treasuring a creature who inhabits t h e i r v i s i o n s . But the a r t i s t abandons his w i l l and submits to death when circumstances v i o l a t e h i s dream of union with L i z a . The p r i m i t i v e b a t t l e s an uncontrollable unknown with h i s w i l l . In "The Quartet: Two Reviews," L i o n e l T r i l l i n g discusses the determination of the modern n o v e l i s t to subordinate the work and the reader to h i s w i l l , and concludes with a very perceptive i n t u i t i o n : 29 We can almost suppose that Mr. Durrell confronted this question explicitly, and h i t upon the answer that the only possible way was by inverting the tendency of the novel, by chucking out the w i l l . We can fancy that at this crucial point in his career he read The Man Who Died and found in Lawrence's story of resurrection a parable of the possible rebirth of the novel — the world to be thought-of not as a f i e l d upon which the battle for salvation is fought but simply as the offer of life.39 He continues to suggest Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation as a second inspiration towards reaction against the traditional concerns of the novel. But Durrell's purpose i s not to banish the w i l l entirely; only to show the f u l l range of the battle, and to distinguish the dormant w i l l for l i f e and right attention from the frenzied destructive w i l l of passion. The danger of an allegorizing experiment of this kind is pinpointed by Joyce Cary in Art and Reality. A really great writer, obsessed with his theme wishes to develop i t as clearly as possible, therefore, "Just because of this clearness, this definition of meaning, allegory i s a standing temptation to the great writers. What's more, their greatest triumphs are achieved in that narrow space between allegory and the 40 dramatic scene. Lawrence's masterpiece, St. Mawr, is an example." Tolstoy's use of Vronsky's horse and i t s relation to Anna in Anna Karenina is unfavourably compared to Lawrence's superior use of St. Mawr as a symbol to personify his intuitively conceived theme within a conceptual structure. Cary has valuable remarks to make on the mechanical nature of allegory i f i t is not properly transformed from intuition to concept, as in St. Mawr. The self-evident weakness in The Quartet is the puppet-like quality of i t s characters. This i s due to the planned oppressive atmosphere of place, which is i t s e l f a device that enables 30 the author to conceptualize the characters; to l e t them l i v e out h i s own process of self-questioning, to make them perform the t r a n s l a t i o n from i n t u i t i o n i n t o concept. The emotional alchemy, the untranslatable moment of f e e l i n g , i s changed i n t o the Word. The e s s e n t i a l f i n a l stage of the process, as Cary describes i t , i s the transformation o f the 41 concept "back into a vehicle which conveys the i n t u i t i o n . " Lawrence D u r r e l l often f a i l s to perform t h i s ultimate and c r u c i a l step. Thus the ending of Clea, which symbolizes a r e b i r t h , a l i b e r a t i o n from the burdens of g u i l t and misplaced emotion, a p o s i t i v e submission to l i f e instead of a defense against i t , takes the form of a strong i n t u i t i o n without a strong conceptual framework to support i t . That D u r r e l l himself was aware of the mechanism of the moral allegory and h i s over-casual use of the device, i s evidenced by h i s remarks to Henry M i l l e r on the subject of The Dark Labyrinth. He refe r s to the book as "'an extended morality, 1 but written a r t l e s s l y i n the s t y l e of a detective story. G u i l t , S u p e r s t i t i o n , The Good L i f e , a l l 42 appear as ordinary people . . . ." The Quartet i s immeasurably superior to The Dark Labyrinth, yet traces of the technique of the l a t t e r remain. This most expansive of writers i n des c r i p t i o n , prose s t y l e , and exotic atmosphere, i n s e r t s character sketches and i n v i t e s the reader to decode characters i n t o Tarot card key figur e s . The Quartet was Dur r e l l ' s f i r s t serious e f f o r t since The Black Book. A more metaphysical-philosophic questioning of experience by a greater v a r i e t y of characters (both the actors i n the book and analogous complementaries of h i s t o r i c a l Alexandria) replaces the h y s t e r i c a l and personalized view of the protagonist i n the e a r l i e r book. In The Quartet the c l a r i t y of allegory i s approximated by the basic d u a l i t y of the condition of l i f e i t s e l f . Love e x i s t s as a tension and a c o n f l i c t , wrested from the s p l i t between mind and body, the metaphysical world and the realm of carnal desire, the demands of the pagan Aphrodite and the mind-habits of Judaeq-Coptic heritage, u n t i l the r e b i r t h of free emotion occurs i n Clea. The e s s e n t i a l conceptual 43 base i s that of a " d i a l e c t i c between p h y s i c a l and metaphysical love." Alexandria i s a l i v i n g example of t h i s d i a l e c t i c ; at once the anus mundi and the White C i t y , populated by holy men and procurers. D u r r e l l discarded the s t y l e of Aldous Huxley, but he retained Huxley's technique of c a r e f u l l y seeding the text with philosophic speculation. Point Counter Point i s obviously analogous to The Quartet. The epigraph at the beginning of Point Counter Point i s almost duplicated i n Pursewarden's "inaudible commentary" during h i s evening with Melissa. The Huxley epigraph reads: "What meaneth nature by these diverse laws — / Passion and reason, s e l f - d i v i s i o n ' s cause?" Pursewarden's version i s : "What meaneth Heaven by these diverse laws?/Eros, Agape — s e l f - d i v i s i o n ' s cause" (M, 533). The r e l a t i o n between the Huxley-Quarles figure and the Lawrence-Rampion character i n Huxley's book i s p a r a l l e l e d by Durrell's use of a Pursewarden who i s a Huxley type, yet empathizes with Lawrence's a s p i r a t i o n s . Like The Quartet, Point Counter Point incorporates the notebook writings of i t s major author f i g u r e . The f i r s t excerpt from the Ouarles notebook describes the technique D u r r e l l uses i n The Alexandria Quartet. Beginning with an analogy to musical modulation — not only of key, but also of mood — the discussion shows the two ways i n which a n o v e l i s t may "modulate": e i t h e r by d u p l i c a t i n g prototype s i t u a t i o n s , i n order that d i s s i m i l a r characters may be seen i n the same predicament, or the 32 opposite — s i m i l a r people i n d i s s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n s . The second a l t e r n a t i v e i s the more important one i n terms of The Quartet: "The n o v e l i s t can assume the god-like creative p r i v i l e g e and simply e l e c t to consider the events of the story i n t h e i r various aspects — emotional, s c i e n t i f i c , economic, r e l i g i o u s , metaphysical, etc. He w i l l modulate from one to the other — as, from the aesthetic to the psycho-chemical aspect of 44 things, from the r e l i g i o u s to the p h y s i o l o g i c a l or f i n a n c i a l . " Included i n t h i s self-advice i s the idea of putting a n o v e l i s t i n t o the work to j u s t i f y aesthetic generalization, and the recognition of the monstrous q u a l i t y (as characters) of people who r e e l o f f ideas too p a t l y . The r e l a t i o n of these statements to The Alexandria Quartet i s too obvious to d e t a i l . Rampion's so l u t i o n to the i n d i v i d u a l psychology i n modern society i s to have people l i v i n g " d u a l i s t i c a l l y , i n two compartments," one for the human being, and the other for the i n d u s t r i a l i z e d worker. The major difference between Durrell's Quartet and the e a r l i e r ' m u l t i p l i c i t y ' novels of the English t r a d i t i o n , such as Point Counter Point i s the complete absence of the pressure of the working l i f e , the modern i n d u s t r i a l complex, and even of vignettes l i k e the bar scenes which are so important i n Point Counter Point and Ulysses. The cafe's of Alexandria are a part of the s e t t i n g which i s never v i v i d l y pictured, and although the v e n a l i t y of the c i t y i s continually emphasized, the major characters e i t h e r have money but do not seem to care much for i t , or have some profession which assures them a small income. Yet D u r r e l l manages to have Pursewarden r e a l i z e that Melissa's, or anyone's, compart- mentalization of t h e i r feelings away from t h e i r working l i f e i s Death (M, 529). D u r r e l l has e f f e c t i v e l y eliminated class d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n s 33 and the background of modern industrialism which detract from the purely emotional f i e l d of most of the major novels of twentieth century writers, Joyce Cary's trilogies, a l l the works of Lawrence, Joyce's Ulysses, Musil's The Man Without Qualities, Conrad's Nostromo a l l contain varying economic, social or p o l i t i c a l factors which often outweigh the thematic concern with love and art. Durrell's Alexandrian background simply reinforces the love theme and makes an experiential synthesis and variety of modulation easier to achieve. He has created a setting which embodies, historically and philosophically, the Eros-Agape conflict represented by the two sheiks in Mountolive — the true holy man and the procurer. Alexandria is a place where religion and celebration join in a true marriage of space and time: "The dozen faiths and religions shared a celebration which time had sanctified, which was made common to a l l and dedicated to a season and a landscape, completely obliterating i t s canon referents in lore and code" (B_, 318) . Huxley's essay "Fashions in Love" gives an almost perfect synopsis of Durrell's metaphoric and conceptual plan for the Quartet. The same dualism is placed against a background of myth, the same hope evinced that the individual may dislodge himself from the "human compromise": "At any given historical moment human behaviour is a compromise (enforced from without by law and custom, from within by belief in religious or philosophical myths) between the raw instinct on the one hand and the unattainable ideal on the other — a compromise, in our sculptural metaphor, between the unshaped block of stone and the many-armed dancing 45 Krishna." Huxley's thesis is that a revived mythology is necessary to recreate the conflict between external or inner restraint and the 34 unbridled sexual impulse (this conflict being essential in order to produce Love). He suggests D. H. Lawrence's new formulation of nature mythology as promising, emphasizes the personal, inner quality of this form of restraint and declares Human Personality, although a mythical figure i t s e l f (as 'personality as a whole') preferable to God. This is the same paradox which forms a continuous thematic thread in The Quartet: although personality as a whole i s an i l l u s i o n , personal fulfillment or the achievement of some sort of unitary competency as a person i s essential. The sculptural metaphor which Huxley refers to i s linked to personal achievement by Clea when she talks about the "perfection to be achieved in matching oneself to one's capacities — at every level" (C_, 745). To do this the ar t i s t (in the sculptural metaphor) must "disengage i t s e l f from the dull block of marble which houses i t , and start to li v e " (C_, 744) . Huxley also uses the sea as a metaphor for the road to transcendence. He writes that "What is being pointed out by the anti-theologians is that i t is not much use having a compass i f one doesn't possess a ship in which to cross the sea. Among the transcendental pragmatists of the Orient the stress i s lai d on the ship — the method of self-transcendence, by means of which the individual makes his own destiny and, to some 46 extent, that of the people with whom he comes in contact." Darley's voyage to the island and his return to Alexandria is part of a self- educational moulding of his own destiny. When Balthazar delivers the Justine manuscript to Darley's island (which Clea refers to as a "sort of metaphor like Descartes' oven") (B, 382), Darley finds the boat's anchor-chain a "moving sight to one who, like myself, had been landlocked 35 i n s p i r i t as a l l writers are — indeed, become l i k e a ship i n a b o t t l e , s a i l i n g nowhere . . . " (B, 213). Scobie, who possesses the a b i l i t y for constant "sea-change," l i v e s i n a sort of eternal Present where memory i s captured and f r e s h l y held, i n the same way i n which an a r t i s t should transform the moment without l o s i n g i t s immediacy. This i s the h e r a l d i c "preservation i n essence" to which D u r r e l l r e f e r s . Huxley uses the same phrase from King Lear, "Ripeness i s a l l , " which D u r r e l l applies to Scobie to characterize Frieda Lawrence. Huxley i n t e r p r e t s i t as r e f l e c t i n g an " e s s e n t i a l l y r e a l i s t i c view of l i f e , " which includes the a b i l i t y to accept everything with the heart as a c h i l d does and the capacity to l i v e each moment as i t comes, i n t o t a l i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the mood as i t appears.^ 7 This i s the same q u a l i t y which D u r r e l l ' s prototypes must s t r i v e for: the "perfection to be achieved i n matching oneself to one's capacities — at every l e v e l . " I f Huxley t e l l s us what i s needed to restore the balance between i n s t i n c t and i d e a l , Wyndham Lewis traces the h i s t o r i c a l separation between sexual and mental l i f e . He comments on the connection between Romance and morals and summarizes h i s argument by d i s t i n g u i s h i n g the atmosphere of Alexandria from that of Athens. The frenzied sexuality of Alexandria i s explained i n the following passage from Time and Western Man: Our c i v i l i z a t i o n i s much more a r t i f i c i a l than that of Greece or Rome; and the main cause for that i s the c h r i s t i a n e t h i c . Where Romance enters the sphere of morals i s at the gate of sex; and nearly a l l the diabolism (helping i t s e l f to the t r a d i t i o n a l sadic and i n v e r t machinery), springing up so eagerly i n a puritan s o i l , can be traced to a sex-root. I t i s even extremely easy i n the modern West to sexify everything, i n a way that would have been impossible i n the greek world, for instance. To see t h i s , you have only to 36 consider the f a c t that the Athens of Socrates was notorious, as h i s dialogues witness, for what i s (for us) the most obsessing sort of sex-cult. Yet i t did not become the r i v a l of thought, the l i f e of the i n t e l l e c t and that of the senses co-existed harmoniously; and philosophic speculation, for the men who disputed with Socrates, was evidently as e x c i t i n g as any of t h e i r other occupations. The dialogues of Plato have not an alexandrian e f f l u v i a of feminine scent; nor do they erect pointers on a l l the pathways of the mind, waving f r a n t i c a l l y back to the gonadal ecstasies of the commencement of l i f e . They are as l o f t i l y detached from the p a r t i c u l a r delights i n fashion with the Athenian as i t i s possible to be; the core of the mind was not involved, or even touched, by the claims of that group of glands, i n spite of the f a c t that the puppets who used to conduct the i n t e l l e c t u a l contests were often conventionally epicene. The psychological composition of the mind of such a philosopher as Socrates, or Democritus, showed no bias whatever such as you i n e v i t a b l y f i n d i n a Wilde or a Pater — that alexandrian enervation and softening of a l l the male chastity of mind. He continues to p a r a l l e l chivalrous love on a man-woman plane to the boy-love of the Greeks, and to declare that " i t i s not sex, properly speaking and a l l i t s simple and natural appeal, that i s i n question at a l l ; i t i s the d i a b o l i c s locked up i n the e d i f i c e of 'morals' that i s the arch-enemy of the a r t i s t . To circumvent that r i d i c u l o u s but 48 formidable s p i r i t i s a necessary but d i f f i c u l t enterprize." D u r r e l l ' s Pursewarden- i s a composite figure who echoes the great l i t e r a r y t h e o r i s t s on sex and morals. Pursewarden owes much to Lawrence, Huxley, and Lewis, and the balance of his character, including h i s i n a b i l i t y to take i t a l l too se r i o u s l y , belongs to Lawrence D u r r e l l . CHAPTER III DESTRUCTIVE LOVE A. PASSION AND THE WILL The destructive nature of passionate love i s represented i n two ways: by the mental l u s t f o r power and possession, and by the p h y s i c a l l y damaging madness created by obsessional devotion to a beloved image. The destructive will-to-power i s contrasted with the creative a r t i s t i c w i l l . D u r r e l l uses Eastern philosophy, the h i s t o r y of courtly love, the Cabal, and the Alexandrian past to embellish the a c t i v i t i e s of h i s prototypes. The extent of Durrell's success i n evoking the strangely dedicated l i v e s of h i s characters i s demonstrated by the f a c t that Justine, l i k e the whores i n the s t r e e t , has "desires belonging not to themselves, but to remote ancestors speaking through them" (B_, 324) , which i s much more 'r e a l ' an idea for the reader to accept than her actual background (a poor Jewish g i r l of the q u a r t i e r ) . Justine and Nessim are l i k e "saints p r a c t i c i n g the c h i l l y a r t of seminal stoppage i n order the more c l e a r l y to recognize themselves" (M, 557). This notion of fecundation of the mind refe r s to Nessim's f e e l i n g that Justine desires to "fecundate" h i s actions and also applies to Narouz' discovery of h i s vocation as a preacher (M, 491). The gratuitous increase i n 38.: mental or visionary power i n t h i s ' r e l i g i o u s ' aspect of love resembles a description of the asexual germination by which plant l i f e reproduces, and makes sex t r u l y a "psychic act" and a form of mirror-worship. This mental fecundation i s r e l a t e d to the machinery of reason; a power-lust masquerading as passionate love. Justine and Nessim's pact r e s u l t s i n dedication to a cause i n the pseudo-religious sense, and a spurious l i b e r a t i o n of s e l f i n the realm of action. I use the term r e l i g i o u s i n the way de Rougemont employs i t i n describing the r e l i g i o n of courtly love: a voluntary worship and vassalage for the sake of an i d e a l . Rougemont's general exposition of love i n Love i n the Western World and Love Declared shares c e r t a i n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s with conspiracy — most notably the l i e s upon which love and conspiracy feed, and the secrecy demanded by Eros i f i t i s to t h r i v e . D u r r e l l r e f e r s to the "fecund s i l e n c e s " (M, 581) of the royal game of chess — another metaphor for the breeding ground of reasoned action. The secrets Justine shares with Nessim leave him free to act. Revealing to each other the naked power, "the e l e c t r i c current" (M, 490) which l i e s under the d a i l y facade of personality, confers a kind of holiness on conspirators and desert fathers a l i k e ; a confidence i n t h e i r powers which i s l i t t l e more than the delusive security of shared perception created by shared desire. Narouz sees Taor's v i s i o n s and she h i s ; Mountolive sees Egypt with L e i l a ' s eyes. Pursewarden sees for L i z a . In t h i s context, the episode of the Magzub and the descriptions of dervishes and t h e i r powers of mental and p h y s i c a l control p a r a l l e l the conditions under which the i n t r i g u e r s i n love and p o l i t i c s operate. Justine has "the b r i l l i a n t look of innocence which comes only with conversion to a r e l i g i o u s way of l i f e " (M, 556). 39 The important difference between the manner in which Justine and Nessim nourish each other's minds and the way in which Narouz attains his power as a preacher consists of the contrast between reason which operates with a "sort of holiness conferred by secrecy, by the appetites of a shared w i l l , by desires joined at the waist" (M, 560) , and a far deeper level of the w i l l ; not the dry and calculating will-to-death, but the w i l l - t o - l i f e , the true a r t i s t i c w i l l . It i s inevitable that the description of these two different universes of feeling should be so similar. It is necessary to expose the point which Durrell i s making: that we labour against our real creativity and the "poetic consciousness, and at the moment at which a person recognizes this fact, as Nessim does, a battle ensues between the intellect and the emotions. Nessim is trapped between love and duty, with only the f r a i l excuses of the alter ego to save him from confronting an insoluble c r i s i s and the destruction of either himself or his brother. Nessim understands what T r i l l i n g calls "the offer of l i f e " : And then i t slowly came upon him that in a paradoxical sort of way Narouz was right in his desire to inflame the sleeping w i l l — for he saw the world, not so much as a p o l i t i c a l chessboard but as a pulse beating within a greater w i l l which only the poetry of the psalms could invoke and body forth. To awaken not merely the impulses of the forebrain with i t s limited formulations, but the sleeping beauty underneath — the poetic consciousness which lay, coiled like a spring, in the heart of everyone. (M, 578-9) Nessim's experience is the reverse of the one which brings Darley's alter ego into play when he rescues Clea at the end of The Quartet. In a perfect display of Durrellian paradoxical logic, Narouz the man of action discovers his alter ego as a poet and Darley the striving poet finds his alter ego as a man of action. 40 The episode which describes Nessim's sudden awareness of "poetic consciousness" i s reminiscent i n i t s terminology of D. H. Lawrence's "dark gods." But i n the context of Durrell's work and his i n t e r e s t i n Gnosticism, i t expresses the l y r i c a l aspect of gnosis; the un v e i l i n g of the shadow or hidden side of experience denied by the conscious mind. In the Lyons and Antrim interview D u r r e l l expands on the h i s t o r i c a l pressure of the Church, which t r i e d to remove the h e r e t i c a l , apocalyptic side of C h r i s t i a n i t y , although i t continued to recur " a n a c h r o n i s t i c a l l y " through the Gnostics and other C h r i s t i a n mystics, such as Eckhart and Ruysbroeck. D u r r e l l compares the "toughness" of the I n q u i s i t i o n to the ri g o r of Communism today, and continues: I f you mention the word "humanity" or "happiness" you are committing a th e o l o g i c a l s i n . And so from Coptic times onwards, when the church s p l i t , the source of the s p l i t i n Byzantium was "keep these bloody mystics out." They wanted to keep the mystics out of the church l i k e Plato ^ wanted the poets out of the i d e a l state. They make i t unstable. The most basic character differences i n The Quartet, the most polar a n t i t h e s i s of phys i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and mental at t i t u d e s , e x i s t s between Nessim and Narouz. They symbolize the t o t a l s p l i t i n response to l i f e ; one cold and w i l l e d through the mind, the other a matter of d i r e c t i n t u i t i v e response. This dualism i s c r u c i a l to the love theme i n The Quartet, and joins the h i s t o r i c a l references to the circumstances of the modern p l o t . The Nessim-Narouz d i v i s i o n i s the best i l l u s t r a t i o n of desires and motives completely divorced from, the i l l u s i o n of personality — that "necessary i l l u s i o n i f we are to love I " (B_, 210). The brothers are always uncomfortable i n each other's presence and t h i s r e f l e c t s the inner d i v i s i o n between them. Only convention and family respect hold the established l i m i t s of t h e i r p e r s o n a l i t i e s i n t a c t . Narouz 41 does not share the modern wish to f l e e from " i n t o l e r a b l e temporal conditions" which Nessim agonizes over i n the great h i s t o r i c a l retrospective i n Justine. Nessim can empathize with the hopeless stagnation expressed i n Cavafy's "The C i t y " ; he also knows that he i s incapable of obeying the command of Plotinus: "withdraw into yourself and look" (J, 148). Nessim, the banker i n h i s s t e e l and glass o f f i c e , i s the completely modern man. Narouz, the desert farmer, i s the p r i m i t i v e driven by h i s i n s t i n c t s . Like morality play f i gures, they are symbols of t h e i r governing passions rather than characters. D u r r e l l i s i n t e r e s t e d i n gnosis as a method of f i g h t i n g moral r e s t r i c t i o n s on psychic freedom and an honest way of looking at the subconscious. Perhaps influenced by de Rougemont, he also alludes to courtly love as a h e r e t i c a l r e l i g i o n and a r e f i n i n g force i n the Church-bound feudal world. Although The Prince of Darkness i s not a coherent work of a r t , i t reveals the writer's i n t e r e s t i n h e r e t i c a l r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f s . The n o v e l i s t S u t c l i f f e , with h i s major theme of love, i s another version of the p rofessional D u r r e l l . Among S u t c l i f f e ' s characters, who "succeed i n running away with the author," are Piers and Bruce. Piers i s the complete romantic and a p r a c t i s i n g Gnostic and Bruce the s c i e n t i f i c and skeptic side of the w r i t e r . Here i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note Anais Nin's analysis of D u r r e l l : "He himself writes without f e e l i n g , impersonally. But there i s something else there. I think he i s a romantic seeking to repudiate or deny t h i s . I think he i s a poet and a painter, and that he w i l l never open human beings i n the way Henry does. But he w i l l not go into them e i t h e r , into t h e i r f e e l i n g s as I do."^ 42 In The Prince of Darkness Piers explains to Bruce the importance of Gnosticism, and relates i t to Communism and the Inquisition in words which parallel Durrell's remarks in the Lyons and Antrim interview: But this belief throws into r e l i e f every form of heresy, every form of chivalrous dissent from the great l i e which the Church would have us live by. You w i l l find l i t t l e fragments of this basic refusal to sign the confession (to use modern Russian terms) in so many places that i t i s quite bewildering — . . . But what about the Courts of Love and their gradual extinction? The love the troubadours extolled made orthodoxy very thoughtful — in particular because i t posited a new freedom for the woman, and a new role as a Muse and refiner of the coarser male s p i r i t . This was not . to be relished by people who f e l t happier within the iron truss of the Inquisition . . . . 5 1 If there is one generalization that can be made about the women of The Quartet i t is that they are refiners and muses. Even Melissa as a prostitute refines. Her nobility and honesty deny Darley and Pursewarden the luxury of the pity they wish to feel for her and forces them to confront themselves. Deprived of Justine, Nessim becomes an obese parody of a Levantine businessman. About Clea and Liza there is no doubt. They form the Light and Dark halves of an imaginative portrait of the total Muse. Clea is a version of the courtly love heroine, as is Liza. Clea's only fault according to Pursewarden is that her beauty i s too absolute (C, 771). Darley says that she is "too noble to love otherwise than passionately; and yet at the same time quite capable of loving someone to whom she spoke only once a year" (B_, 240-1). Her ideal nature and a b i l i t y to discriminate between love and the physical presence of the lover is diametrically opposed to Justine's attitude towards Pursewarden when she declares that they wouldn't necessarily have to sleep together, but only see one another (B_, .295). Justine needs constant mental stimulation from others to replace the self-love she lacks. 43 She uses her body only to serve the cause which i s her mental passion. In a f l o u r i s h of language D u r r e l l describes the Alexandria where body and mind function independently of each other and love i s an escape from the monotony of l i f e , a place where ascetism and p r o s t i t u t i o n seem to meet on equal terms: " I t was not sex they o f f e r e d i n t h e i r monotonous seclusion among the yellow f l a r e s , but l i k e the true inhabitants of Alexandria, the deep forgetfulness of p a r t u r i t i o n , compounded of p h y s i c a l pleasures taken without aversion" (J, 153). C r i t i c s have deprecated D u r r e l l ' s use of Gnostic doctrine as a surface decoration, suggestive but not sustaining. John Arthos, i n h i s a r t i c l e on D u r r e l l ' s Gnosticism, intones: " I t i s one thing to l e t one's imagination explore a system of thought, and another to square i t with one's commitments." He believes the soul of Durrell's Alexandria i s only the mask of the author's own self-consciousness, "driven remorse- l e s s l y to disown the demands of ethics i n order to claim a supernatural 52 and all-embracing s i g n i f i c a n c e for h i s i s o l a t i o n . " The m o r a l i s t i c prison which D u r r e l l condemns i n The Black Book closes i t s c r i t i c a l bars upon him once more. The e t h i c a l complaint of Arthos i s i r o n i c a l l y answered by The Quartet, which i s a parable about the attempt to d i s p e l the Alexandrian d i v i s i o n of l i f e i n t o sexual obsession and obsessive analysis while also keeping Judaeo-christian e t h i c s at bay. The i r o n i c moral h i s t o r i a n i n D u r r e l l speaks through Pursewarden, who writes i n the "Notes": Now i f the Jews would only assimilate they would give us a valuable lead i n the matter of breaking down puritanism everywhere. For they are the license-holders of the closed system, the e t h i c a l response! Even our absurd food 44 prohibitions and inhibitions are copied from their Melancholy priest-ridden rigamarole about flesh and foul. Aye! We artists are not interested in policies but in values — this is our f i e l d of battle! (C, 760) B. MADNESS AND THE IMAGE Involvement in power struggles, battles of the w i l l and intrigues comprise the external views of destructive passion in The Alexandria Quartet. ., Madness, and obsession with a delusive image of another person which almost completely conditions a character's perception of himself and his environment is the core of inner destructive love. Durrell s k i l l f u l l y unites the classical idea of love as a form of madness with modern psychological views on the subject. Friedman, in The Alexandria Quartet: Love for Art's Sake, quotes the passage from Rank included in Durrell's A Key to Modern Poetry which serves i n The Quartet as Pursewarden's doctrine of the truly liberated a r t i s t as a personality-creator, divorced from the protection 53 from real l i f e afforded by art. In terms of the love theme, this protection i s given by the Muse whom the a r t i s t sets up as an image, a controlling visual picture. One of the significant technical details in Clea is the fact that the power of the image is destroyed and realized for what i t i s : a mental conjuration. Darley reflects upon Pursewarden's saying that one must come to terms with truth at last, and finds i t : . . . nourishing — the,cold spray of a wave which carried one always a l i t t l e farther towards self-realization. I saw now that my own Justine had indeed been an i l l u s i o n i s t ' s creation, raised upon the faulty armature of misinterpreted words, actions, gestures. Truly there was no blame here; the real culprit was my love which had invented an image on which to feed. Nor was there any question of dishonesty, 45 for the p i c t u r e was coloured a f t e r the n e c e s s i t i e s of the love which invented i t . Lovers, l i k e doctors, colouring an unpalatable medicine to make i t easier for the unwary to swallow! (G, 694) The erection of the love-object as a romantic image of perfection r e s u l t s i n s e l f - d e l u s i o n and i n h i b i t s s e l f - l o v e and active p e r s o n a l i t y - c r e a t i o n of the type which Rank describes. Another consequence of obsessional love i s the d i s t o r t i o n of the natural flow of time, attended by ludicrous mental f a l s i f i c a t i o n s of r e a l i t y . Narouz' love for Clea and Mountolive's for L e i l a portray the horrors of a c h i l d i s h dependence on a love-object. D u r r e l l ' s paradoxical irony i s most obvious i n passages such as the one which describes Narouz' discovery of "true love" i n the f a c t that he could hate Clea for one moment i n time. But as Pursewarden says, time i s af f e c t e d by motion, one pace east or west can change everything; love can be a f f e c t e d by a t r i c k of the senses, such as the voice of the Arab whore which Narouz mistakes for Clea's. In a moment of yearning and sexual release, he purges himself of Clea's image, the mental i d e a l i z a t i o n of someone he hardly knew. The most h o r r i f y i n g example of s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n r e s u l t i n g from the d e i f i c a t i o n of another person i s Balthazar's passion for Panagotis. I t i s i r o n i c (and a planned part of Darley's program of learning i n Clea) that the characters who l e n t their, names to the f i r s t two volumes of the tetralogy should use the same words to describe the tortuous extremes of love which ended i n a divorce from t h e i r way of g i v i n g meaning to l i f e ; a v i r t u a l state of temporary i n s a n i t y . Both Balthazar and Justine experience a "desire to swallow the world." Both encounter a loss of the w i l l ; Justine because she can no longer function as the 46 amoral goddess i n her f i e l d — the p o l i t i c a l chessboard. For Balthazar, the desire to swallow the world i s equated with the wish "to drain the sore of love u n t i l i t healed" (£, 704). The Balthazar who thought himself exempt from the sufferings of love has turned into a man who sees i n the " d i r t y , venal and empty" actor Panagotis "the personage of Seleucia on whom Cavafy based his poem" (C_, 704) . Balthazar has not maintained the Greek d i v i s i o n between the a f f a i r s of the mind and those of the body described by Wyndham Lewis. His "innate masculinity of Mind" has succumbed to the image of Panagotis. D u r r e l l returns to modern psychology and has Balthazar describe h i s self-degradation i n terms of the symbols which accompanied i t . The examples of "love based on an eye-tooth, a disgust fathered by shortsight, a passion founded on hairy w r i s t s , " and the revulsion caused by Balthazar's own green f i n g e r - s t a l l are c l e a r l y derived from Georg Groddeck (C_, 705) . As D u r r e l l says i n h i s preface to the Book of the I t , Groddeck's l i t e r a r y work i s not available i n English. But the Book of the I t gives ample evidence that what captivated Groddeck was "symbolization." He writes: The symbol was the very f i r s t thing I learned i n the whole f i e l d of a n a l y t i c a l knowledge, and i t has since never l o s t i t s importance to me. A long, long road of fourteen years now l i e s behind me, and i f I t r y to look back upon i t , i t i s f u l l of strange discoveries of symbolism, r i c h l y v a r i e d and shot through with changing colors . . . . That mental l i f e i s one continuous symbolization was to me so obvious that I impatiently pushed aside the masses of new thoughts and feelings — new to me, at l e a s t — that arose i n me, and i n mad haste pursued the working of symbolization i n . organic disease. And t h i s working was, to me, magical.->4 * The r e l a t i o n to psychology becomes even c l e a r e r when, a f t e r an enumeration of inanimate objects which induce love or hate, Balthazar continues to ask what one can say of t h i s "very approximate science which has 47 carelessly overflowed into anthropology on one side, theology on the other? There i s much they do not know as yet: for instance that one kneels in church because one kneels to enter a woman, or that circumcision is derived from the clipping of the vine, without which i t w i l l run to leaf and produce no f r u i t ! " (C, 706). He is commenting on the vast number of symbols and associations which have yet to be organically related to l i f e . But the fact remains for him, (in exactly the same words in which Melissa expressed the pain of separation from Darley), that with Panagotis gone, "everything in nature disappeared." The mirror which i s l i f e is only the surface upon which the symbols of the It reflect. And this absolute void i n nature caused by the loss of the beloved image demonstrates Durrell's reversal of Descartes: "I am, therefore I can love.""*"' Darley reacts to Melissa's statement with the same non-understanding of this f i r s t proposition with which Clea fends off the unwanted obsession of Narouz — "But nobody has the right to occupy such a place in another's l i f e , nobody.'" (B, 301). Balthazar has been trapped by the Absolute of Love while trying to maintain the most extreme form of the "human compromise" — the one for which Alexandria is famous — the median between the two points of extreme sensuality and intellectual asceticism. He realizes that he has not succeeded in being true to either pole; in fact love and inte l l e c t have undermined each other. Melissa's completely natural quality, the best part of her personality, vanishes when Pursewarden t e l l s her some of the secrets of the world of intellect and intrigue. For a moment she can play Justine's role, and i t makes the most innocent of creatures ugly and venal, eager to boast of old Cohen's importance. It 48 is Melissa's lack of vanity, not her lack of w i l l , which makes her innocent. The appearance of her mirror, a broken fragment, is the symbol of this humility and the absence of physical innocence in a l i f e in which her body can discharge the debts of a weaker Darley. Narouz also has a polarized personality which is easily distorted by new situations. On one hand he fights a l l ease and pleasure with daily hardship and the taming of both land and animals; on the other he kneels at Clea's feet emitting p i t i f u l cries and acknowledging the weakness of his love. The power which makes love a "beast" and a form of madness is brought out in the account of Narouz taming a horse and in the documentation of Clea's feelings in the midst of her passion for Justine. In the case of Narouz: Nothing could fi n a l l y tire that powerful body — not even the orgasm he had experienced in long savage battle . . . . His mind was a jumble of sharp stabbing colours and appre- hensions — as i f the whole sensory apparatus had melted in the heat like a colour-box, fusing thought and wish and desire. He was light-headed with joy and f e l t as unsubstantial as a rainbow. (B, 270) His fear that Clea is Nessim's intended transforms this feeling of elation into i t s opposite: "Narouz f e l t himself turned to ice — to a figure in a coat of mail . . . ." The aetiology of love and madness (the passage which "could serve not only for Clea but indeed for a l l of us"), describes changes in the nature of reality caused by a nervous breakdown due to love experienced by one of Balthazar's patients: Walking towards the studio she would suddenly feel herself become breathlessly insubstantial, as i f she were a figure painted on canvas. Her breathing became painful. Then after a moment she was overtaken by a feeling of happiness and well-being so intense that she seemed to have become weightless . . . . This was i t s e l f succeeded by other disagreeable sensations — as of a hot clamp round her 49 skull, pressing i t , of the beating of wings in her ears. Half-dreaming in bed, suddenly horns rammed downwards into her brain, impaling her mind; in a brazen red glare she saw the bloodshot eyes of the mithraic animal. (B_, 242) The fusing of sensation, the feeling of being simply an image on canvas reflects the complete loss of identity experienced by a mind in the grasp of passion. Darley, the observer in The Quartet, shares in the battle of the mind in love, but his detachment and ambivalence and the protection of art reserve f u l l participation for Clea, when the actual war joins the metaphorical one. CHAPTER IV CHARACTERS Although D u r r e l l considers Pursewarden a highly successful character, most c r i t i c s and friends (including Henry M i l l e r ) disagree. Pursewarden's b r u t a l honesty and l o y a l t y to the l i f e of h i s imagination i s most impressive when i t i s contrasted with Darley's i n a b i l i t y to organize the s e l f which i s "only a huge, disorganized and shapeless society of l u s t s and impulses." Darley i s a model of the struggle for self-possession. Pursewarden i s a model of the attainment of s e l f - l i b e r a t i o n . Pursewarden acts out the l i f e of h i s imagination i n the present. Darley i s a slave to the past l i f e o f hi s imagination. A l l other major characters function i n r e l a t i o n to these two figures and must be considered i n conjunction with them. A. Darley Darley never succeeds i n organizing h i s "society" of c o n f l i c t i n g desires u n t i l the apocalyptic world of Alexandria at war lends a new meaning to s u r v i v a l . Images of b a t t l e , both personal and c u l t u r a l , are a constant feature of Dur r e l l ' s d e s c r i p t i o n of peace-time Alexandria. The enemies are the great Romantic l i e s : the myth of the pe r f e c t match, the image of the love-goddess, and the joy of l o s i n g oneself i n passion. - 50 - 51 The City is not only a place of power and danger, but also a battlefield, from which a person must be exceptionally strong to escape "heart-whole" after he has learned his lesson about fortune and love — before he can accept what T r i l l i n g terms "the offer of l i f e . " Cavafy's "The God Abandons Antony" (J_, 202) expresses this destructive power which must be responded to with a pride and resignation befitting the opponent, the City. Darley thinks of his own experience in Alexandria, starting "before I ever knew Melissa and ending somewhere soon in an idle pragmatic death in a city to which I did not belong" as a story — something already part of history and foredoomed. He continues his meditation: "I walked across this mirage of narrow intersecting alleys as one might walk across a ba t t l e f i e l d which had swallowed up a l l the friends of one's youth; yet I could not help in delighting at every scent and sound — a survivor's delight" (J_, 154). In Justine the battle i s fought primarily i n order to escape the temptations of the body, the questioning of the sex act, and the pressure of fear and guilt. Darley feels like a survivor when he thinks he has identified the hunchbacked lover of the whore, who jumped up like "someone rising in a crowded tram to surrender his place to a inutile"" de l a guerre" (J, 152). Later Balthazar's Interlinear w i l l change Darley's mind and make him consider more closely the idea of quenching thirst for the beloved through a hired body. But at this point he accepts the ludicrous and tragic horror of the sex act and the position of the participants; thereby surviving the f i r s t snare of the "love beast." He believes that the desires of the flesh cannot destroy him now. Like Clea, who patiently awaits the end of the battle with her 52 own instincts, Darley has achieved the f i r s t step in depersonalizing the sex act. He considers himself to be "a person already formed who could not be broken" (J, 160). Even i f this wholeness consists of detachment and naivete, i t comprises his liberty in relation to Justine, because she cannot captivate or possess him. Darley defines possession in terms of battle: "to be passionately at war for the qualities in one another to contend for the treasures of each other's personalities" (J_, 161). Darley is involved in the battle for self-possession, but his ambivalence inhibits any direct action or control over his own destiny. Like Dick Gregory in The Black Book, he can only imagine his actions. Gregory describes the problem: " A l l my l i f e I have done this — imagined my actions. I have never taken part in them. It is the catharsis of pure action which is so wounding an absolute to contemplate now."^ A passage in Balthazar reflects the blending of Darley's divided and intellectualized attitudes towards good and e v i l , l i f e and death. Real l i f e and the l i f e of the imagination are hopelessly confused in Darley's mind. While Justine and Darley s i t under the desert sky holding hands, Justine asks Darley the most commonplace lover's question: what is he thinking? Aloud he t e l l s her to look at the star which was the Pole Star fourteen thousand years ago. But his interior reply is one of the few examples of stream-of-consciousness in The Quartet: What was I thinking? Of a passage in Proclus which says that Orpheus ruled over the silver race, meaning those who led a 'silver' l i f e ; on Balthazar's mantelpiece presumably among the pipe-cleaners and the Indian woodcarving of monkeys which neither saw, spoke nor heard e v i l , under a magic pentacle from Pythagoras. What was I thinking? The foetus in i t s waxen wallet, the locust squatting in the horn of the wheat, an Arab quoting a proverb which reverberated in the mind. 'The memory of man is as old as misfortune.' 53 The quails from the burst cage spread upon the ground softly like honey, having no idea of escape. In the Scent Bazaar the flavour of Persian l i l a c . (B, 368) Like Blake's "The Sick Rose," Darley's meditation pictures e v i l trapped within nature; while the outer appearance remains good, the three monkeys refuse to look; yet the memory of man cannot expunge i t , and dumb animals no longer care to search for freedom because captivity i s sweet. This l i s t of ideas and sensations represents the inverted mind, incapable of acting to escape i t s own confines. Such a mind is incapable of realizing love in the active manner defined by Pursewarden; as a "help-meet" or in "loving-kindness." The passage points to i t s own significance because i t is placed between two quotations from Pursewarden: "'The power of woman is such' writes Pursewarden 'that a single kiss can paraphrase the reality of a man's l i f e and turn i t . . .'," and "'They looked at each other, aware that there was neither youth nor strength enough between them to prevent their separation'" (B_, 368). Yet these words occur at a point at which Darley has fearfully suggested to Justine that he might have to go and confess their "love" to Nessim, and she has mockingly replied, "You could not do that. You are an Anglo-Saxon . . . you couldn't step outside the law like that, could you?" In this mockery of a love scene, complete with evasions, l i e s , and an ironic glimpse of the Egyptian outlaws against the s i l l y moral authority represented by the Anglo-Saxon race, we see the romance already stripped away. Only the s p i r i t of place, the natural backdrop of the desert, confers surface glamour and romantic atmosphere. Only the quotations from Pursewarden sound the note of passion, while the characters involved seem almost bloodless in their detachment. And the greatest irony of 54 a l l is contained in Darley's subsequent assertion that he now sees them a l l as "members of a city whose actions lay just outside the scope of the plotting or conniving s p i r i t : Alexandrians" (B_, 369) . Mountolive w i l l detail the plotting s p i r i t and dispel the i l l u s i o n of unity with the city — both passional and hi s t o r i c a l . Because i t is Darley's voice which does the major narration through- out most of The Quartet we tend to forget that at last he i s an innocent, for he never finds out the truth (as Pursewarden does) about Melissa, or more factually, about the p o l i t i c a l conspiracy. He simply escapes Justine's grasp through the natural attainment of self-possession — through Time. In the end he remains only an observer; never exposed to the dilemma of Pursewarden and never forced to share in the v i t a l l y important correct analysis of other minds upon which Justine and Nessim depend for survival. For Darley, the exploration of love and power is l i t t l e more than the pastime of an a r t i s t i c mind wandering away from i t s true course and into the realm of criticism and analysis. The objective view given of Darley in Mountolive is often contemptuous. Justine calls him unobservant (M, 580) and Pursewarden wonders how he can handle two women when he seems so unable to possess himself (M, 480). In fact the judgment upon Darley shares the same metaphor — Turk — that Pursewarden uses to describe Maskeleyne, the epitome of the s t i f f , unimaginative army officer. "These modest British types — do they a l l turn out to be Turks secretly?" Pursewarden asks about Darley. Earlier he gives a portrait of the classic British 'Turk': "Well, since the Army discovered that imagination is a major factor in producing cowardice they have trained the Maskeleyne breed in the virtues of 55 counter-imagination: a sort of amnesia which is almost Turkish. The contempt for death has been turned into a contempt for l i f e and this type of man accepts l i f e only on his own terms" (M, 475). Although this i s an exaggeratedly harsh judgment when applied to Darley, i t must be acknowledged that in his fact-finding attempts to conquer his imagination and search for truth he i s a minor version of the agent of counter- imagination. Instead of allowing himself to receive impressions and react upon them naturally, he interrogates his feelings and rearranges them — not in the order of memory, but in the order in which they f i t into the merely personal significance which events acquired in his mind. Thus in Clea he is completely surprised by his new feeling of revulsion towards Justine; he can barely suppress the temptation to "embrace her once more in order to explore this engrossing and inexplicable novelty of feeling further!" (C_, 695). He asks himself i f i t is possible that "a few items of information merely, facts like sand tric k l i n g into the hour-glass of the mind, had irrevocably altered the image's qualities . . . ." Even at this late stage 'Darley cannot reconcile the real and the remembered. He reveals his need to avoid a merely intellectual curiosity and recover the lost innocence of the true story-teller by writing "Once upon a time." He is no longer t e l l i n g a story, but merely analyzing the impact of new facts upon the image. The f i c t i v e quality of his own former biography is exposed, but at the same time his desire to write and his confidence i n his a b i l i t y to become a writer fade with "the impulse to confide in the world" (C_, 839). Here Darley's conception of literary inspiration i s childishly innocent and superficial, as well as highly Romantic (in the sense of "the dialogue of the mind with i t s e l f " ) . Durrell 56 is in favour of a style which reaches beyond the confessional. In contrast with the confessional mode of Darley and Arnauti, Pursewarden's savage compartmentalization of his private agonies does seem "Classical." B. Pursewarden — and Relation to Other Characters Pursewarden's exaltation as an a r t i s t and man of letters, Scobie's attainment of sainthood, Balthazar's reinstatement in his c l i n i c , and the apotheosis of Romantic Love in the case of Amaril and Semira, have 57 been noted as examples of the "regeneration" characteristic of Clea. The most obvious common denominator between these regenerations is that what has been of private and personal value, given as a confidence or as privileged information to some of the characters, becomes to a large extent public property. This depersonalization creates a unity of being which was impossible for the struggling individuals of the f i r s t three volumes. In Durrell's own philosophic terminology, depersona- lization means "preservation in essence" and an entry into the freedom of the heraldic universe. Pursewarden cannot be recalled in physical detail and preserved in a private way from history, whose property he has become. Even his room at the "Mount Vulture" has been changed into a brothel. With his private letters, which remain unknown to a l l but Liza, Mountolive and Darley, the private Pursewarden disappears, leaving only his public testament to survive him (including the "Conversations with Brother Ass"). Even Henry Miller, who eulogized The Quartet, failed to find something which Durrell had expressly asked him to note. From the correspondence, i t is obvious that this special point dear to the author 57 r e l a t e s to Pursewarden. M i l l e r writes, "What I missed, by obtusity, no doubt, was what you t o l d me to look f o r . Unless i t was those notes of Pursewarden." A f t e r a c r i t i c i s m of Pursewarden as a character, and a digression he returns to the subject: "To come back to Pursewarden. Maybe I should reread a l l four books and see afresh. No doubt I've missed the boat somewhere." M i l l e r also asks i f there i s a s p e c i a l reason f o r Du r r e l l ' s habit of "making characters speak through exchange 5 8 of l e t t e r s . " I make no claim to f i n d t h a t M i l l e r could not, but the process which repeats i t s e l f i s the transmutation of l i f e and personal experience i n t o l i t e r a t u r e , or into love i n s i l e n c e , i n the dimension of the dream-world. When Clea remarks near the beginning of Justine, "There are only three things to be done with a woman . . . . You can love her, s u f f e r for her, or turn her in t o l i t e r a t u r e , " Darley i s achieving none of these goals, but Pursewarden i s l i v i n g out a l l three, although the reader has not yet been introduced to him. Pursewarden loves and su f f e r s s i l e n t l y ; h i s voice i s heard only i n l i t e r a r y works or i n i r o n i c statements. Arnauti, whom Darley studies i n Justine, has the mania to explain, the r a t i o n a l disease which Pursewarden opposes with h i s l i f e and h i s a r t . Only a d i r e c t v i s i o n of h i s own attachment to the r a t i o n a l de-Sadian i l l n e s s of the European mind, an a r r i v a l a t Pursewarden's state, can t r u l y bring Darley out of Arnauti's world and into Pursewarden's. "For Clea too," writes Darley, "the l i t t l e book of Arnauti's upon Justine seemed shallow and in f e c t e d by the desire to explain everything." " ' I t i s our disease' she said 'to want to contain everything within the frame of reference of a psychology, a philosophy'" (J_, 68). The p a r t i c u l a r 58 reference i s to Justine, who i s uncontainable, because, "Like a l l amoral people she verges on the Goddess." Justine f a i l s as a lover i n the eyes of Darley, but retains her amoral and goddess-like capacity for change and regeneration of a type which i s impossible for any of the more prosaic characters. Clea's d e s c r i p t i o n of Justine's seduction of Memlik contains the true q u a l i t y of the immoral and p r i m i t i v e goddess, playing a dangerous world-affecting game with the human desires. The p o r t r a i t i s both transcendent and f a r c i c a l . Justine i s c l a s s i c a l i n the sense that she does not i s o l a t e h e r s e l f and submit to the inner private l i f e of the romantic, but uses the external world to her b e n e f i t . Arnauti and Justine are compared to a minor Antony and Cleopatra i n Justine, and the protagonist h e r s e l f , l i k e Cleopatra, may shrink i n the view of ordinary morality to the dimensions of a scheming and empty-headed temptress, yet r e t a i n a stature above and beyond what Balthazar terms an i n t e l l e c t u a l tendency to " i s o l a t e a moral q u a l i t y i n the free act." Balthazar describes the ultimate depersonalization i n the very depths of the subconscious when he continues: " A l l love-making to one less i n s t r u c t e d than oneself has the added d e l i c i o u s t h r i l l which comes from the consciousness of perverting, of p u l l i n g them down into the mud from which passions r i s e — together with poems and theories of God. I t i s wiser perhaps not to make a judgement!' (B, 244) . Justine and Pursewarden form negatives, or reversed shadows of the matched " r i g h t " p a i r . They remain b a s i c a l l y unchanged through the four volumes, although t h e i r images i n the eyes of others are constantly s h i f t i n g . Both have p e r s o n a l i t i e s which adapt to s i t u a t i o n s , but remain amorphous i n t h e i r o u t l i n e s . They refuse to compromise, ,59 to solidify and accept the "arbitration of time." Justine reports that Pursewarden told her that her sense of guilt was atrophied (C_, 695) . Only the reader discovers that Pursewarden's g i f t of cash to Darley and Melissa was an attempt to "cure these twinges of a puritan conscience which lurked on underneath the carefree surface of an amoral l i f e " (M, 528). Pursewarden admires Justine's lack of guilt and i s contemptuous of the neuroses which mar her character. Justine, like the classical type, sustains herself on experience but is not enriched or enlightened by i t ; Pursewarden envies her the freedom from the romantic sense of guilt and the need to grow and learn to know oneself through experience. "Cities, Plains and People" perhaps contains the key to their protean immortality: So better with the happy Discover than with the wise Who teach the sad valour Of endurance through the seasons, In change the unchanging Death by compromise. ̂ Although i t might be hard to think of Justine and Pursewarden as "happy," i t is the ironic sense of the paradoxical logic of love, the Laughter, that these characters alone can share. Justine t e l l s Darley how she laughed when she discovered the equipment with which.every Copt proposes in Narouz' closet, ready to send to Clea. To Darley's naturally surprised query she replies, "Yes, laughed u n t i l the tears ran down my cheeks. But I was really laughing at myself, at you, at a l l of us. One stumbles over i t at every turn of the road, doesn't one; under every sofa the same corpse, in every cupboard the same skeleton? What can one do but laugh?" (C, 698). 60. The suggestion that Pursewarden and Justine share something in common, and even that both of them recognize the fact, echoes through the four volumes. These two characters live.out the illusions of personality. Their roles are constantly shifting, their masks changing; they accept the necessity of role-playing which the other characters only give lip-service to. Nessim complains to Justine about the tiresomeness of acting a part.. She replies, "Sh, Nessim! Then I should not know who I was" (M, 581). Both Justine and Pursewarden are l i v i n g mockeries of the standard personality, that unitary whole with i t s limited scope. Clea claims to be the "only person to have loved Pursewarden for himself while hewas-alive . . . I loved him for himself, I say, because s t r i c t l y he had no self." She mentions Darley saying that Justine "also says something like this," but proceeds to dismiss i t as a woman's natural attraction to a man with plenty of female intuition (C_, 735) . But there i s a delicate battle waged between Justine and Pursewarden to be the "truer pagan." Justine reports to Nessim that Pursewarden is dangerous because, "'He is somehow coid and clever and self-centred. Completely amoral — like an Egyptian! He would not deeply care i f we died tomorrow. I cannot reach him'" (M, 562). Yet Pursewarden is disgusted by his false compassion for Melissa, and s t i l l tries to purge himself of the remains of puritan conscience hidden by an amoral exterior. With Melissa, in Mountolive'.s central scene, Pursewarden plays the role of comic drunk and lover until she inadvertently reaches his emotions. The highest irony i s that Melissa humbly and unknowingly touches the literary core of Pursewarden's existence — the love, the 61 muse, and the "story" of his own l i f e , which he continually writes in his mind — instantly transforming the experience into the impersonal medium of words. His shifting outer skin of thought, the inexplicable acts which comprise his daily l i f e , have been stripped away; his "point faible" l e f t exposed before he has been able to turn i t into literature. The predatory Justine, whom Clea compares to an animal digging to find Pursewarden' s secret strength (C_, 735), would understand the psychic shock of this unmasking; the pain of a direct confrontation with his method of giving meaning to experience. Melissa and Nessim are referred to as a "doomed brother and sister" when they enter a love which is "the stepchild of confession and release" (J, 165), and like Pursewarden and Liza, the f u l l realization of their selves occurs only i n the historic-mythic past or in an unattainable future. It is no wonder that these characters have so l i t t l e concern for their bodies. They are the exemplars of an Alexandria of the mind from which death must free one of them. The scene between Pursewarden and Melissa in Mountolive is one that could best be claimed as the centre of Durrell's love theme; and the most important in revealing the "conspiracy of the mind against i t s e l f " that is the mode of l i v i n g of the City's exemplars. Before Melissa t e l l s his fortune, we have the last glimpse of the Pursewarden who has successfully transformed personal failure and bitterness against Anglo-Saxon restrictions upon the freedom of love into a literature of moments captured freshly and immediately. It is here that Durrell uses the greatest of the City's poetic exemplars, C. P. Cavafy, as the Alexandrian complementary of Pursewarden. Although this link is not as clear as 62 the relation of D. H. Lawrence, I believe that i t is f a i r l y obvious i f this sordid and already "guillotined" love scene, with i t s dirty sheets, decomposing manuscripts and failure of the "biological memory" is compared to the setting of one of Cavafy's love poems; and the way in which he transformed the fleeting experience of the body into epigrammatic written memorials i s set side by side with the following description of Pursewarden's method: "As usual, at a level far below the probings of self-disgust or humiliation, he was writing, swiftly and smoothly in his clear mind. He was covering sheet upon sheet of paper. For so many years now he had taken to writing out his l i f e in his own mind — the l i v i n g and the writing were simultaneous. He transferred the moment bodily to paper as i t was lived, warm from the oven, naked and exposed . . .". (M, 530). When Melissa's palmis t r y foretells his death, Pursewarden repeats to himself the verses he had written for Justine on the subject of the "Check," and the pain of meeting the truth directly. He sees Justine s i t t i n g in exactly the same pose as Melissa, "holding his hand with sympathy" (M, 532). His bitterness explodes, but he banishes the memories which caused i t and reverts to the story of his own l i f e , as a historic-mythic chronicle: "'Later, in search of an askesis he followed the desert fathers to Alexandria, to a place between two deserts, between the two breasts of Melissa. O morosa delectatio. And he buried his face there among the dunes, covered by her quick hair'" (M, 533). Instead of preservation of the naked experience, which creates the "heraldic" mode, we get a kind of historical self-pity, and a kinship with Justine admitted. Pursewarden's l i f e of unmatched perfection with 63 L i z a consisted o f an enchanted-castle l i f e of studying La Lioba, one of the foremost Ca t h a r i s t l a d i e s . Justine's "Noble S e l f " i s an e l e c t r i f i e d s k u l l , "a v i s i t a n t from d i s t a n t mythology" (J, 113). Like Justine and Nessim, L i z a and Pursewarden are incestuous brother and s i s t e r , complementing each other's hopeless a r i d i t y to create an i d e a l world of f u l f i l l m e n t , and by so doing, becoming h a l f - s e l v e s , i d o l a t r o u s l y worshipping what they lack; concepts resurrected from h i s t o r y rather than l i v i n g people. Both great hetaerae who l i v e through t h e i r involvement i n the a f f a i r s of men, and incestuous love have a prominent place i n the h i s t o r y of Alexandria but have been made taboo by the modern European e t h i c a l system. Dur r e l l ' s palimpsest technique i s shown at i t s best i n t h i s c e n t r a l scene i n Mountolive. H i s t o r i c a l Alexandria as a s p a t i a l r e a l i t y of the present i s s t i l l recording the same story of i n c e s t and empty sexual encounters. On the temporal plane, Clea's declaration that p i t y i n g love i s the most dangerous form i s r e a l i z e d . Melissa, who confronts l i f e too honestly, succeeds i n wresting Pursewarden's secret from him, where Justine, who would rather swallow the world than confront i t , f a i l e d . The a r t i s t faces h i s c o n f l i c t with love. He cannot accept p i t y or share the l i f e of h i s imagination. Isolated i n t h i s manner, he must e i t h e r transmute h i s l i f e i nto l i t e r a t u r e or confront the actual death which must follow the death of h i s f e e l i n g s . The a r t i s t must l o v i n g l y submit to the t r a n s i t o r i n e s s of even the strongest emotional events and tenderly preserve them, without bitterness at t h i s passing. Da Capo voices a rare meditation ( i r o n i c a l l y , just before h i s impending "death") on h i s father's a b i l i t y to "say things 64 so pointed that they engage the attention and memory of others," and wishes that he could leave as much behind him (J, 171). If there is a hero in The Quartet, i t must be Pursewarden, and Da Capo's remarks follow a discussion of Pursewarden's novels i n which Capodistria sees old Parr the sensualist, with his apology that his skirt-fever i s really beauty-hunger, as a version of himself. Da Capo feels that the astonishing fact about Pursewarden's novels i s that "he presents a series of spiritual problems as i f they were commonplaces and illustrates them with his characters." This is the technique which Durrell uses to engage attention and make The Quartet a kind of open-ended partial biography, not only of the characters within i t , but of Everyman. Cavafy has attained the level of a sort of divinity in this world of verbal preservation of personal emotion and self-discovery. Like Pursewarden, whose "irony was really tenderness turned inside out like a glove"- (C_, 791) , and Da Capo's father, of whom i t seems possible that "his ironies concealed a wounded s p i r i t " (J_, 171) , Cavafy had "an exquisite balance of irony and tenderness . . . " (J_, 79). Balthazar feels that Cavafy was "catching every minute as i t flew and turning i t upside down to expose i t s happy side. He was really using himself up, his inner self, in l i v i n g . " Again, this i s the function of the Romantic a r t i s t according to Rank. The Classical a r t i s t uses material from the external world, but the true romantic derives his inspiration almost entirely from within. Durrell explores the differentiation between the notions of Classical and Romantic in The Quartet as well as the distinction between Eros and Agape. Pursewarden points to a parallel between the body-mind division, the departure of ethics from i t s Greek separation from the pleasures 65 of the f l e s h , and the development of the Western novel, which departs from the free fantasy of the Arabian Nights t a l e s and the balanced mixture of sex and romance c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Chaucer. Pursewarden wants to restore the "wholy bloody range" (C, 755). There are normal external b a r r i e r s to romance i n the Quartet, such as the poverty which conditions Melissa's l i f e , but the basic c o n f l i c t i s r e f l e c t e d i n the case of the b l i n d c h i l d which f i n a l l y separated L i z a and Pursewarden through fear and g u i l t over a hereditary defect which they f e l t was a r e s u l t of breaching the i n c e s t taboo. Denis de Rougemont questions the almost d i a b o l i c insistence of the Western l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n of love upon a unity which ignores the d i v e r s i t y of l i f e i t s e l f : "Can i t be i n order to please author and reader? I t i s a l l one; for the demon of courtly love which prompts the lovers i n t h e i r inmost selves to the devices that are the cause of t h e i r pain i s the very demon of the novel as we i n the West l i k e i t to b e . " ^ The European Eros, with i t s demand for a condition i n which "absolute unity must be the negation of the present human being i n h i s s u f f e r i n g m u l t i p l i c i t y " allows no f u l f i l l m e n t f o r l o v e r s . Pursewarden asserts that the epic romances of Chaucer are the type of l i t e r a t u r e he would l i k e to produce, but that given the s o p h i s t i c a t i o n of the modern audience t h i s i s impossible. Robert Scholes points out, i n The Fabulators, that D u r r e l l i s following an Alexandrian romantic-epic t r a d i t i o n ; a multi-episode, multi-character s t y l e which i s a close r e l a t i v e of the fable and the f a i r y - t a l e . He c i t e s the Et h i o p i c a of Heliodorus as a work which "stands very much i n the same r e l a t i o n to the Homeric epics as D u r r e l l ' s Quartet does to such great r e a l i s t i c novels of the nineteenth century 66 as Anna K a r e n i n a and Middlemarch." The m u l t i p l i c i t y o f n a r r a t o r s , s e t p i e c e s and time d i s t o r t i o n s a r e common to b o t h The Q u a r t e t and t h e E t h i o p i c a . S c h o l e s c o n t i n u e s t o u n d e r s c o r e t h e f a c t t h a t the "Once upon a time" which ends The Q u a r t e t i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f t h e Greek- E g y p t i a n l i t e r a t u r e o f A l e x a n d r i a and n o t o f t h e " e p i c c o n t o u r s " r e f e r r e d t o by P u r s e w a r d e n . ^ But Pursewarden's l a s t r e p o r t e d words i n d i c a t e t h a t he had d e c i d e d t o w r i t e a book " ' a l l about Love'" (M, 541), and t h e e x p e r i e n c e o f l i s t e n i n g t o J u s t i n e r e l a t e t h e o l d Arab l o v e e p i c , which i s "one o f t h e most s i g n i f i c a n t and memorable moments o f a w r i t e r ' s l i f e " (C, 769), a f f e c t s him so d e e p l y t h a t when he s l e e p s t h a t n i g h t h i s muse, L i z a , appears t o him i n the g u i s e o f Yuna. Y e t t h i s L i z a - Y u n a f i g u r e i s a mummy, and Pursewarden must b u r y h i s dream i n the d e s e r t sands. T h i s p a r a b l e i s e q u a l i n impact t o the one which c o n c l u d e s C l e a and i s d i r e c t l y l i n k e d t o Pursewarden's a p p r e h e n s i o n o f M e l i s s a as a t o t a l l y n a t u r a l b e i n g . She cannot u n d e r s t a n d h i s i r o n y o r h i s melancholy r o m a n t i c i s m . Pursewarden f a i l s t o w r i t e as he wishes t o , j u s t as he f a i l s t o l o v e t h e way he imagines he s h o u l d . In The Q u a r t e t the o n l y examples o f Pursewarden's l i t e r a r y works are ro m a n t i c p o e t r y based on L i z a o r t h e d i s t a n t i r o n y o f God i s a_ Humorist. Pursewarden sees a new d e f i n i t i o n o f n a t u r a l i s m i n the a b s o l u t e l y n a t u r a l r e s p o n s e o f t h e audience t o t h e i m a g i n a t i o n o f t h e a r t . I t i s a v i s i o n o f a t r u l y l o v i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h e t e l l e r o f t h e t a l e and t h e l i s t e n e r s ; a s t i r r i n g i d e a l o f t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f a time when everyone c o u l d l i s t e n w i t h the extreme " r i g h t a t t e n t i o n " o f the c h i l d p r o s t i t u t e s who h e a r J u s t i n e : "The p o e t r y had s t r i p p e d them t o t h e bone and l e f t o n l y t h e i r n a t u r a l s e l v e s t o f l o w e r thus i n e x p r e s s i o n s f a i t h f u l l y 67: portraying t h e i r t i n y stunted s p i r i t s ! " (C, 769). Again the movement i s one which attempts to escape the claustrophobic confines of i n d i v i d u a l psychology and s u b j e c t i v i t y , to move from the private and highly i n t e l l e c t u a l i z e d "Romantic agony" to the more pu b l i c shared naivety of the Arabian Nights t a l e s , where love and pain are displayed i n s t o r i e s 62 of "what may be c a l l e d the etiology of mutilation." The power of love should s t r i p away the outer masks the same way the power of poetry does, and leave the s p i r i t exposed, whether stunted or not. Cavafy achieved t h i s goal; he exposed the pain of love with a tenderness which was never e c l i p s e d by sentiment or irony. C. Melissa The scene that might be termed t r a g i c i n view of the l o v e - p l i g h t of modern man i s the one i n which Pursewarden and Melissa dance together i n the club where she works. The major question and answer o f t h i s episode i s reported twice i n The Quartet i n an antonymic verbal form which has a synonymous meaning. The f i r s t occasion occurs i n Justine, where Pursewarden's query i s : "Comment vous defendez-vous contre l a s o l i t u d e ? " Her reply: "Monsieur, je suis devenue l a solitude meme" (J_, 163) . Mountolive, which recounts the "actual" incident, instead of the remembered anecdote, has Pursewarden ask with drunken irony: "Melissa, comment vous defendez-vous contre l a foule?" Her reply: "Monsieur, je ne me defends plus." While she answers she makes a gesture, "as i f i n d i c a t i n g a t o t a l world . . ." (M, 526). Melissa confronts the shadow-side of l i f e honestly. She r e a d i l y admits that she s u f f e r s from a condition common to a l l The Quartet characters, as well as modern l i t e r a t u r e and modern society. 6 8 The value of Durrell's Alexandrian s e t t i n g and inhabitants rests i n the a b i l i t y o f the best of them, l i k e Cavafy, to plumb the depths of the psyche where perversions and r e l i g i o n s are born; to confront the fear and trembling of a mind and body surrounded by the most diverse fellows of the human kind. Despite h i s oblique and decorative s t y l e , D u r r e l l ranks with the great writers i n h i s i r o n i c depiction of the d i f f i c u l t y of confronting the lower or shadow side of l i f e . Few speeches could be more demonstrative of the mind's w i l l to believe i n another's love when a l l the conditions of r e a l i t y give the l i e to i l l u s i o n , than Melissa's reply to Pursewarden's stark question, "Does Darley know?" (r e f e r r i n g to her p r o s t i t u t i o n ) . "'Oh yes' she s a i d q u i e t l y . 'You know, he i s very good. Our l i f e i s a struggle, but he knows me. He t r u s t s me. He never asks for any d e t a i l s . He knows that one day when we have enough money to go away I w i l l stop a l l t h i s . I t i s not important for us.' I t sounded quaint, l i k e some f e a r f u l blasphemy i n the mouth of a c h i l d " (M, 527). Melissa i s the a n t i t h e s i s of a l l romantic passion, a l l g u i l t f e e l i n g s l i n k e d to society, a l l e f f o r t s at i n t r i g u e against h e r s e l f or others. She i s described as a "statue of pride hanging i t s head" (J_, 53); a person robbed of a l l narcissism. Pride, i n Melissa, causes increased ugliness rather than beauty. Pursewarden i s trapped by what Clea c a l l s the laws of shyness: "you can only give yourself, t r a g i c a l l y , to those who l e a s t understand" (J_, 97) . He has confided i n Melissa, someone who cannot understand h i s internalized moral dilemma because she has experienced only the grotesque r e a l i t y of love on the s t r e e t s . D u r r e l l i s showing us the p e r f e c t unreason of the l o g i c of love; paradoxical l o g i c which plays 69 cruel tricks on the emotions. This moment of shared secrets, apparently devoid of intrigue, is i t s e l f a victim of the fatal gap in the defences of the conspirators Justine and Nessim. The triumphant second of confidences exchanged in tenderness, without the daggers of treachery or power to stale and wound the spontaneous emotion, is k i l l e d by the external force of the p o l i t i c a l plot. Melissa's portrait i s especially striking in view of the city's history because she is a displaced Greek; one of the survivors of the Hellenistic race stranded on the shores of Alexandria. Although her l i f e is the most debased among those who are major characters, she is perhaps in her honesty, naturalness and child-like trust, the most moral character in The Quartet. Durrell's idea of morality is best illustrated by Melissa's ina b i l i t y to f a l l prey to false sentiment. The fact that she refuses to v i s i t old Cohen on his deathbed does not indicate the same shrinking from the force of another's devotion as does Clea's refusal (and eventual compliance); to attend the dying Narouz. Melissa does not think of herself as one imposed upon by the unwanted affection of Cohen; she simply knows that in her l i f e , miserable as i t i s , he meant nothing. Apart from Cavafy, with his pan-Hellenic poetry, Melissa is Durrell's only Greek figure, desperately, even heroically attempting to hold onto the Greek idea of the individual soul which Pursewarden discusses in the "Notes" (C, 768). The fact that both Clea and Melissa receive a deathbed plea which they reject shows their real knowledge of the nature of these desperate calls and their own uncompromising emotional stance. Clea perceives that Narouz seems to be confessing his love in the "tone of a man talking to himself" (B_, 375) . When Melissa 70 declines to see Cohen, Darley becomes a witness to the "dense jungle of his illusions . . . " (J, 91). As Cohen unconsciously reveals his deepest self he talks about three woman or female names. Darley assumes that the third mentioned, Rebecca, must be his daughter, "for i t is the children who deliver the f i n a l coup de grace in a l l these terrible transactions of the heart . . . " . (J_, 92). The whore, the wife and the daughter a l l merge into one portrait of remorse and regret. Even in the l i f e of old Cohen there are three versions of the verb "love" — the only thing which can sustain a man in the face of a lapse of the w i l l to l i v e . But love cannot be exploited by the dying ego, f i n a l l y humbled to the point of begging. Durrell may over-dramatize, but his deathbed scenes are powerful reminders of the fate of those who f a i l to confront their true feelings and lack the courage to express their love. D. Clea and Balthazar Clea and Balthazar suffer such severe wounds in Clea because they have tried to remain aloof and unaffected by the emotional battles going on a l l around them. An important hint of Clea's future role and an explanation of her apparent a b i l i t y to outlast the ravages of love, even when physically affected by passion, is given in Balthazar. Her effort to stave off her feeling for Justine is a vain one, but "She knew that the heart wearies of monotony, that habit and despair are the bedfellows of love, and she waited patiently, as a very old woman might, for the flesh to outgrow i t s promptings, . . . " (B, 242). The attitude of an aged woman, awaiting the death of instinctive urges, confirms Clea as a non-participant in the carnival search for identity, 71 a defeatist in the violent carnal world of Alexandria; one who is not fully alive because she refuses to i n f l i c t the necessary wounds upon herself. This is the major reason for her famous injury, and links her non-involvement to that of Balthazar. Balthazar's foolishness in his love for Panagotis presents a glaring contradiction to his avowed freedom from the a f f l i c t i o n in the volume which bears his name. His homosexuality supposedly allows his mind to roam amidst the poetry of calculus, free of the enslavement of romantic passion. Here Balthazar and Clea share a common condition. The Clea of the early volumes has had only one af f a i r — a lesbian one with Justine. Although she realizes that she belongs to men, she remains virginal and aloof until she goes to Syria. She has yet to become a survivor of Alexandria. Groddeck writes that i t is not homosexuality which is hard for him to understand (as i t is an obvious consequence of self-love), but the contrary: how the interest in the opposite sex develops remains a puzzle.^ He also asserts that Christ understood this basic contradiction perfectly when He said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." What psychology calls narcissism is the instinct toward self-gratification, and Christ "made clear His conviction that man gives most of his love to himself, and the prattle of good people He called Pharisaical and 64 hypocritical, which indeed i t i s . " Clea makes a definitive speech about love, and i t s limited allotment to any one person, which concludes: "For i t s destination l i e s somewhere in the deepest regions of the psyche where i t w i l l come to recognize i t s e l f as self-love, the ground upon which we build the sort of health of the psyche. I do not mean egoism or narcissism" (J, 109). To possess genuine self-love i s to become 72 depersonalized in the non-egotistical sense; to lose the desire to prove or analyze oneself. But this positive depersonalization brings with i t the a b i l i t y to share love, and not the void created by the loss of the beloved which results i n the anguished cry, "Everything in nature disappeared." Clea and Balthazar are the most verbally philosophic inhabitants of The Quartet and through most of the work they retain a kind of protective wall between themselves and the general sexual melee. Clea cherishes the memory of her af f a i r with Justine and, except for a humorous request to Pursewarden to deprive her of her virginity, remains untouched until the reported af f a i r with Amaril. Balthazar's affairs are not detailed u n t i l the disastrous infatuation with Panagotis i s also reported after the fact. Scobie, the other major homosexual character, has a perfect "father and daughter" relation with Clea. Balthazar tends the sick and Clea not only functions as c l i n i c a r t i s t , but also sees Melissa out of l i f e , coaches Semira, and generally performs the services of nurse and mentor. Although these two characters are parties and witnesses to more of The Quartet's secrets than anyone else, and although they are presented as being more objective, they have a highly developed individual way of perceiving events which also serves to protect them. Balthazar sees through the mysticism of the Cabal or the starkness of the city's genito-urinary system. Clea's romantic and innocent vision allows her to make assertions which are often absolute, but lack empathy with the sufferings of those she comments upon. Definitely both Clea and Balthazar are to some extent inverts who value s e l f - l o v e more highly than most Alexandrians, but need a wounding and p a i n f u l encounter with the opposing desires of others to a t t a i n a true equilibrium. E. Variations on the Holy Man In another display of paradoxical irony, D u r r e l l creates two holy men for The Quartet who could not possibly be farther from each other i n p e r s onality, although both are marvelously s e l f - i d e n t i f i e d . The b l i n d preacher at Memlik's "Night of God" and Scobie share an a b i l i t y to unite others through the unique g i f t of themselves. The only demonstra- t i o n i n The Quartet of the b e l i e f that each person has the a b i l i t y to be an a r t i s t i f h i s s p i r i t i s awakened, simply by a word l i k e Edelweiss or the c a l l of the muezzin, i s given by the b l i n d preacher. He i s " f u l l of the k i n e t i c beauty of a human being whose soul has become a votive object" (M, 605). Here i s the only approximation of t o t a l l y happy love i n The Quartet; poised between two worlds, i t i s termed "ghostly content- ment of an absolute f a i t h i n something which was the more s a t i s f y i n g for not being f u l l y apprehended by the reason." The o l d man i n s p i r e s a group of venal scheming businessmen to breathless sighs and s i l e n t contemplations. Memlik, the most grotesque miser i n Alexandria, s t a r t s the proceedings with the words: "The only way to become united with God i s by constant intercourse with him" (M, 606). The audience immediately compose themselves i n t o an attit u d e of extreme attention. The images which follow describe the awakening of natural forces. The o l d sheik e n t h r a l l s h i s l i s t e n e r s , who "followed the notation of the verses as they f e l l from h i s l i p s with care and rapture, gradually seeking t h e i r 74 way together out into the main stream of the poetry, like a school of fish following a leader by instinct out into the deep sea" (M, 607). This is Durrell's evocation of the art buried in the inmost heart of every man, which can be brought to light by simple right attention, by tenderness. Here there i s no fear of losing or revealing a part of the self which is compartmentalized or kept secret. This episode's relation to the love theme becomes clearer when contrasted with the world-infected image of the battle of Eros which escapes Pursewarden during his night with Melissa: "The shark-infested seas of love which closed over the doomed sailor's head in a voiceless paralysis of the dream, the deep-sea dream which dragged one slowly downwards, dismembered and dismembering . . . " (M, 531). He sees in Melissa's sexual slang (the term "la Veuve") only another metaphor for a lost tenderness extended into a hideous mimicry of castration. The sea imagery reflects the two poles: the pure natural instinct of the animated heart and the touch of the central pulse of l i f e and the opposed devouring, diminishing and cannibal forces within the mind. Durrell's g i f t is the display of paradox within synthesis: the a b i l i t y to actually convey the "whole bloody range." The character Scobie is the crowning achievement in this area; for, in almost a l l of Scobie's speeches, loves normally designated religious and holy, loves called perverse or sexual, merge and blur boundaries and remain indefinable by any kind of code; ethical, religious or moral. And i t is Scobie who explains his homosexual "Tendencies" by t e l l i n g Darley: "'It's the lack of tenderness, old man. It a l l depends on cunning, somehow, you get lonely'" (B_, 227). Scobie is a triumph of the absurd 75 vision coupled with great humour; together they produce a human solidity which the other prototypes lack. The unusually honest and r e a l i s t i c assertions which he makes about his condition, such as the avowal that he could never lay a finger on Abdul, or that he is not fully Answerable when in his transvestite costume, are symptomatic of what might be called philosophic resignation when exhibited by any other character. In Scobie, these truisms reflect a bedrock level of consciousness, an absence of i l l u s i o n , as opposed to the aphoristic experimentation of the more sophisticated and less honest. CHAPTER V THE BATTLE OF CLEA Darley had started out i n Justine to search for t r u t h , but Justine h e r s e l f t e l l s him i n Clea that he prefers a "mythical p i c t u r e framed by the f i v e senses" (C_, 693) . I r o n i c a l l y , Justine t e l l s him th i s at a point where i t has already become unnecessary. He has begun to perceive more than a s t a t i c fresco of images surrounded by the senses. As noted before, Mountolive exhibits the height of the fresco and Pursewarden's death l i b e r a t e s Mountolive"s v i s i o n and sets him free i n the time-stream to "improvise" (another word which s i g n i f i e s active p e r s o n a l i t y - c r e a t i o n ) . The death forced a change i n h i s f i x e d set of personal r e l a t i o n s , operating by code and convention rather than by true a f f e c t i o n . I t i s Pursewarden's decision not to l i v e with i l l u s i o n any longer that forces L e i l a to meet Mountolive and dissolves h i s mythical image of Egypt. The en t i r e c r i s i s r e l i e v e s him of a burden of sentiment and memory and enables him to act. Like Darley, he wishes to bring back the image he once held, but r e a l i t y has forced growth beyond sentiment. Pursewarden has enacted the most extreme form of l i b e r a t i o n from the absolute of Love and joined himself to h i s hidden burden of emotion, h i s priv a t e dream. In Clea, the remaining characters are r e l i e v e d of a hoard of memories and feelings which make up a t o t a l l y p r i v a t e and incommunicable world of invention and imagination. 77 In Clea, the images erected by memory and dream, which enslaved the characters i n a kind of bondage to the forms of t h e i r imagination are torn down. The i d o l s and eidolons disappear or are not recognized. The predominance of the v i s u a l sense, the power to evoke the image by "the mere act of seeing" (C_, 694) i s ended. The most s t r i k i n g symbolic demonstration of t h i s loss of meaning through the v i s u a l memory i s e f f e c t e d i n the scene i n which Darley attempts to recapture Melissa, and finds her so completely vanished that not even the black and white d e t a i l of a picture can restore the actual events or words of a forgotten afternoon. The r e l a t i o n of t h i s event to Pursewarden and to l i t e r a t u r e constitutes the paradoxical irony of Darley's discovery. As Melissa reached behind Pursewarden's l i t e r a r y s e l f to become a r e a l i t y i n h i s eyes instead of an image, Darley wore out the r e a l being through using her i n h i s l i t e r a r y work. The transmutation has come f u l l c i r c l e . . Words parted to reveal the natural woman f o r Pursewarden, while Darley o b l i t e r a t e d hi s i n d i v i d u a l i d e n t i t y i n h i s w r i t i n g . The i l l u s i o n s of Darley's confessional h i s t o r y of Alexandria have been "written out"; the reign of what he c a l l s the " l y i n g self-deception so natural to sentimentalists" (C, 681) terminated. The 'sadic' tendency i s defined i n Swann's Way as the adoption of melodrama by the sentimentalist as a means of j u s t i f y i n g the act of pleasure by making i t appear e v i l . Darley has surpassed the sadic tendency i n himself which caused the exaggerated fears and 65 self-deceptions of Justine. What sounds natural i n the mouth of Melissa, with her Greek wish for angels to watch over Darley, the completely natural q u a l i t y that Pursewarden finds i n her, seems out of place when quoted by Balthazar. 78 As an epitaph to a love affair, "everything in nature disappeared" (C, 706) is powerful and as easily remembered as the cry of Narouz for Clea. Durrell may be demonstrating the echoing recurrence of words and emotions; a kind of transposition of Melissa's feeling when even her memory has become faint. More probably, this repetition is a reminder of the inexorable demands of the physical plane, and a further destruction of the delusive images of love of the f i r s t three books. The illness that Melissa dies of is the symbolic equivalent of Clea's near-death — a failure of the sexual nature. Melissa's desire for death, in a world in which she has known l i t t l e else but the most solitary moments of professional sex, is accompanied by a wish that Clea make love to Darley. Only in Clea are the lovers freed from the domination of passionate love. Clea ceases her love-making with Darley because she i s being terrorized by the hauntings of Narouz, whose livi n g touch she shrank from. After the accident with the spear gun she l i e s in the same bed which Melissa occupied and t e l l s Darley that although she loved Amaril the sex act convinced her that he was not the man for her. And we remember Melissa's description of Darley as a lover. He was not lover enough; could not give Melissa enough love to keep her alive. Scobie's "scrying" predicted that Darley would not have the strength to rescue Clea when the dark one tried to drag her to the underworld. Finally,: in a r t i f i c i a l respiration, by this " p i t i f u l simulacrum of the sexual act — life-saving, l i f e - giving," (C_, 851) Darley succeeds in loving Clea with an action forceful enough to defeat the "horror" (C_, 855) supposedly i n f l i c t e d by Narouz, the strongest representative of the cruelties of distorted passion, and the character who set Clea up as an unobtainable image of love. 79 Deliverance from a struggle with the passions i s described i n terms which mimic r e l i g i o u s r e v e l a t i o n . Clea d e l i v e r s a message about her a r t i s t i c r e b i r t h at the end of The Quartet: "I have crossed the border and entered i n t o the possession of my kingdom, thanks to the Hand" (C_, 874). When Darley returns to Clea i n i t i a l l y , he feels as though he has been on a "huge a r i d detour i n a desert of my own imaginings" (C, 726). The b a t t l e of Clea i s not so much an external one, fought against the desires of others and the w i l l of the C i t y , as i t i s an i n t e r n a l subconscious drama. D u r r e l l employs a Romantic-epic s t y l e and a decorative m u l t i p l i c i t y of background i n the three e a r l i e r volumes to a greater degree than i n Clea, which restores not only actual chronology, but also creates a theatre for the inner drama of the characters' subconscious. C. S. Lewis p a r a l l e l s the experiences of the age i n which allegory was born to those of a beginner i n modern psychology,^ and also points out that "the gaze turned inward with a moral purpose does not discover character. No man i s a 'character' to himself, and l e a s t of a l l while he thinks of good and e v i l . Character i s what he has to produce; within he finds only the raw material, the passions and emotions which contend fo r mastery. That unitary 'soul' or 'personality' which i n t e r e s t s the n o v e l i s t i s f o r him merely the arena i n which the combatants meet: i t i s to the combatants — those 'accidents occurring i n a substance' — that he must attend."^ 7 In a footnote to the above he concludes that, "As Passions become People for the a l l e g o r i s t , so x (in the unconscious) becomes Passions for the analyst; or at l e a s t he can t a l k of them only as i f they were 'desires' . . . . As the f i r s t century dived i n t o the psychological by the a i d of P e r s o n i f i c a t i o n the twentieth dives to 80 the sub-soul by the a i d of ' P a s s i o n i f i c a t i o n ' . " The Quartet i s f u l l of examples of the " P a s s i o n i f i c a t i o n " process, such as the p o r t r a i t of Clea at the moment when she r e a l i z e s the c o n f l i c t between "good" and " e v i l , " desire and disgust, which creates the passion for Justine i n the surprised "personality" who i s herself an analyst of the b a t t l e f i e l d o f her own psyche. Clea i s puzzled because "these disgusts came from p r e c i s e l y the same quarters as the desire to hear once more that hoarse noble voice — they too arose only from the expectation of seeing her beloved once more. These p o l a r i t i e s of f e e l i n g bewildered and frightened her by t h e i r suddenness" (B, 241). The reader is- forced to ask: What are our values based on i f our desires and our perception of them i s as sudden and as p o l a r i z e d as t h i s ? Darley finds i t necessary to describe Justine and Nessim to the c h i l d " i n terms of myth or allegory — the poetry of I n f a n t uncertainty" (C, 661). He saw that "the main theatre (of the heart's a f f e c t i o n s , of memory, of love?) was the same; yet the differences of d e t a i l , of decor stuck out obstinately" (C, 670). The C i t y i s a theatre t h i s time, and also "the c i t y of childhood" (C, 671). Examples p r o l i f e r a t e : "the whole toybox of Egyptian l i f e " (C, 675), "Alexandria has become a huge orphanage" (C_, 732), Liza's voice, "which might have been that of uncertain adolescence" (C_, 783) , the group of people who wait on the p i e r a f t e r Fosca's f a t a l accident " i n great patience and submissiveness l i k e c h i l d r e n " (C, 819), and Pombal s c r i b b l i n g dragons and whorls on a pad, "Just l i k e a c h i l d " (C_, 821) . The reader and the characters are prepared for a Yuna and Aziz f a i r y - t a l e world; are indoctrinated into the uncertain a b i l i t y of c h i l d r e n to believe what they can intensely 81 feel, but cannot explain. The power of prophecy is f e l t as a reality, especially in the instance of Mountolive's appearance in Liza's l i f e , so that when Scobie's prediction about Clea comes true i t seems a natural part of events in the theatre of Clea. A really new cycle has begun for the prototypes; one in which statues are torn from the marble block and set free to live, in which youth ends forever in order that a new youthfulness of determination and self-sufficiency can begin. As Liza finishes burning Pursewarden's letters she is silent, "her head hanging in profound concentration over this ancient image, like a soothsayer gazing fixedly into the dark crystal of youth" (C_, 804) . The symbolic suspense i s sustained through the images of childhood, drama, and prophecy. The skeptic Darley, who would have tried to find a rational explanation for the fact that Clea has fallen out of love, feels compelled "to present i t as something else — preposterous as i t may sound — as a visitation of an agency, a power initiated in some uncommon region beyond the scope of the ordinary imagination" (C_, 836). The drama may be called cosmic or subconscious, but Durrell is certainly successful in concretizing the unknown factor in human desire and those impulses and emotions which masquerade as desire; so that love i t s e l f in i t s different forms becomes almost an allegorical personage, or a modern "Passionification." Darley returns to Alexandria thinking of the city as "something which I myself had deflowered . . . " (C, 701). The city has been a lover whose lost innocence has given him the a b i l i t y to comprehend the physical-metaphysical duality of desire, to descend to the sub-soul and feel the arbitrary and accidental nature of the Love which he described as an absolute in Justine. When Darley realizes 8.2 that Amaril was a "playing card" which he hadn't turned over, he uses the word "love" only "to s i g n i f y my recognition of the thing's autonomous nature" (C_, 855), what Lewis c a l l s "an accident occurring i n a substance." The memory novel has t r u l y turned into a drama, a temps deiivre^ instead of a temps re'trouve. Improvisation succeeds c a l c u l a t i o n . Dialogue succeeds r e f l e c t i o n and an a l y s i s . Clea describes L i z a as looking l i k e "some strange Greek statue come to l i f e " (C_, 743) and proceeds i n her next speech to quote Pursewarden: "Heed me, reader, for the a r t i s t i s you, a l l of us — the statue which must disengage i t s e l f from the d u l l block of marble which houses i t , and s t a r t to l i v e " (C, 744). His message to L i z a , about s t a r t i n g to l i v e , i s the same one which Nessim gives to Justine. But Pursewarden's desire i s to free L i z a to love another and f i n d an i n d i v i d u a l i d e n t i t y , while Nessim wishes to bind Justine to him as a fellow conspirator. Clea i s an extremely Platonic book i n i t s imagery; as e x p l i c i t i n points as the description:of Liza's eyes as she cradles Pursewarden's death mask; so large that "they overflowed the whole face, and turned i t i nto a cave of in t e r r o g a t i o n " (C_, 741). As Lewis says, A r i s t o t l e was the philosopher of d i v i s i o n s , who set a wedge between heaven and 64 h e l l , reason and passion. I t seems that D u r r e l l has shown the height of t h i s philosophic d i v i s i o n i n Mountolive, and i n Clea he not only returns to an emotional c h i l d - l i k e acceptance, but also to an e a r l i e r philosophic and l i t e r a r y world. Again, as i n "Solange," there i s a n o s t a l g i a f o r a time when emotions were not f i l t e r e d through the head-consciousness, and passion d i d not b l i n d the reasoning powers. The r i v e r of sex described so dramatically i n Mountolive — "the broad 83 underground r i v e r flowing from Petronius to Frank Ha r r i s " — (M, 625) has i t s source i n the Roman age and not the Greek. In a l l those centuries since the H e l l e n i c hiatus, c o u r t l y love alone r a i s e d the concept of love i n l i t e r a r y debate high above the e x c l u s i v e l y sexual, and Clea contains many images of t h i s c o u r t l i n e s s . Perhaps the most s t a r t l i n g i s Pombal's acceptance of the a t t i t u d e of Fosca's husband, whose "notions of honour . . . would do c r e d i t to a troubadour" (C_, 683) . In t h i s tragi-comic version o f courtly love, i t i s the woman who dies and whose death provides the most e x p l i c i t d escription of death i n The Quartet. The conjecture about what i t must f e e l l i k e to die i s relayed i n terms which form the opposite pole to Pursewarden's d e s c r i p t i o n of love as the truest form of " r i g h t attention." There i s also the suggestion that death i s a kindly wound, whose pain soon passes when the v i c t i m i s transported i n t o an alternate dream-world. The scene i s composed c a r e f u l l y i n the dominant imagery of Clea — p a i n t i n g and the theatre. The eyes of the spectators are "drawn, as i f by the l i n e s - o f - f o r c e of some great marine painting" (C_, 816) to the scene of the tragedy and Darley r e f l e c t s "how i r o n i c a l l y i t had been planned by the i n v i s i b l e stage-masters who d i r e c t human actions." He thinks that Fosca "must have f e l t , perhaps, simply a vague and unusual dispersion of her attention, the swift anaesthesia of shock which follows so s w i f t l y upon the wound" (C, 817). She l i e s , "smiling to h e r s e l f i n the other kind of dream" (C_, 818) . The other characters f i n d that t h i s incident has exemplified something so f a r beyond the merely personal l e v e l that they f e e l cut o f f from one another; unable to express the normal feelings of sympathy. Pombal tal k s to Darley a f t e r the event "as one might t a l k 84 to an imaginary friend while under anaesthetic" (C_, 825) . The suggestion of an alternate world whose sensations and reactions are mythic or dream-like, occult, or somnambulistic, is ever-present. The process of depersonalization separates the characters from each other so that they may take possession of themselves at the greatest moments of c r i s i s . Thematically, the erotic-metaphysical dialectic and i t s linkage to death, myth, and dream forms the central concern of The Quartet. The City becomes more of a personified author than anything else in Clea and the largest isolated set description of landscape evokes the ancient melancholy of pastoral Egypt instead of the concrete venality and merchandised sexuality of the city. In order to prepare for the rebirth parable, to rejuvenate love i t s e l f , Durrell must make use of the sun and moon, the Adam of medieval legend, and the spectre of pastoral Egyptian l i f e . The awareness of inner drama and destiny is stretched out to join the external world and abolish the control of contingency and necessity. Darley finds that only the Greek poems can express the happiness and renewed l i f e of the last summer in Alexandria: "I am hunting for metaphors which might convey something of the piercing happiness too seldom granted to those who love; but words, which were f i r s t invented against despair, are too crude to mirror the properties of something so profoundly at peace with i t s e l f , at one with i t s e l f . . . . Unless perhaps i t were simpler to repeat under one 1s breath some lines torn from a Greek poem, written once in the shadow of a s a i l , on a thirsty promontory in Byzantium" (C_, 827) . And again, in describing the restoration of Clea before her accident: "'natural as a city's grey-eyed Muse' — to quote the Greek poem" (C_, 846) . Darley reflects 85 that everything which had happened was pre-ordained and merely "'coming to pass 1"; that the "scenario had already been devised somewhere, the actors chosen, the timing rehearsed down to the last detail in the mind of that invisible author — which perhaps would prove to be only the city i t s e l f : the Alexandria of the human estate. The seeds of future events, are carried within ourselves. They are implicit in us and unfold according to the laws of their own nature" (C, 828). The germinal metaphor points to the imagery of fecundation and the companion possibility of rebirth. Alexandria must pass away with the God, as in Cavafy's poem ("The God Abandons Antony") in order that the characters may be free to find a l i f e completely separated from the destructive demands of the city of bondsmen to sensuality and uncertain analysis. The entire epiphanic feeling of Clea is framed in images of defloration and childbirth, while the uncertain adolescence is l e f t behind. The polymorphous eroticism of Alexandria is succeeded by a series of romantic unions between major characters: Liza and Mountolive, Amaril and Semira, Darley and Clea, and Pursewarden and his dream-Muse. The romantic love represented by Amaril and Semira is described by Darley i n terms of the city — a "city now trying softly to spread the sticky prismatic wings of a new-born dragon-fly on the night" (C_, 723) . Darley announces that a whole new geography of Alexandria was born through Clea, "a new biography to replace the old one" (C_, 832) , simply because of the novel quality of his love for her. The fresh dispensation is a highly physical one nevertheless, teeming with images of "animal contents" (C_, 832) , which words cannot explain. The conflict between time and the self has been resolved; the new self-knowledge or 86 gnosis is based on an acceptance of biological rhythms and the continuum of nature even when things are constantly passing away. Death is called a "pedigree" (C_, 833) for kisses because the dead have an unused portion of their biological rhythms and particular gestures which recur in li v i n g beings. Perhaps the dictum that emerges most clearly in the parable of Clea is that acceptance of death and self-abnegation are absolutely necessary for l i f e ; that even our bodies and gestures do not fully belong to us. This i s why Clea can create afresh with a mechanical hand, and even receive the a r t i s t i c reward of a breakthrough in style. She has shared a part of herself with the dead and become the true muse of Alexandria. Her art is no longer a way to protect herself from l i f e ; so she can truly enter the heraldic present and join in the immediacy of perception and sensation. The awakening from the dream world into immediacy and self-possession requires a great shock of the kind which Pursewarden and Clea receive. In Clea the hazy illusionary quality of perception is gradually supplanted by the heraldic view of a world like a playing card; a vivid one-dimensional image. This flatness (or "time spread out flat") i s intensified until the action i s freed i n the manner in which a swimmer at last breaks the surface. When Darley reaches the boat, dragging Clea's body, he has seen the last of the historical underwater world of the drowned sailors. The death and decay, the brutality of natural process which would have frightened the Darley of Justine can now be almost laughed at, as witnessed i n the letter he writes to Clea from his island: This barley i s lai d upon the f l a t roofs for threshing out the chaff which they do with sticks. Barley! hardly i s the word spoken before the ant-processions begin, long chains of dark ants trying to carry i t away to their private 87 storehouses. This i n turn has a l e r t e d the yellow l i z a r d s ; they prowl about eating the ants, l y i n g i n ambush winking t h e i r eyes. And, as i f following out the octave of c a u s a l i t y i n nature, here come the cats to hunt and eat the l i z a r d s . This i s not good for them, and many die of a wasting disease a t t r i b u t e d to t h i s f o l l y . But I suppose the t h r i l l of the chase i s on them. And then? Well, now and then a viper k i l l s a cat stone dead. And the man with his spade breaks the snake's back. And the man? Autumn fevers come on with the f i r s t r a i n . The o l d men tumble i n t o the grave l i k e f r u i t o f f a tree. F i n i t a l a guerra! (C, 871) Darley's b a t t l e against the conditions of l i f e has ended. Alexandria as a state of mind has l e f t him; the c i t y has been exorcised by h i s f e e l i n g of self-possession. The war i s over without a struggle, leaving Darley ready to f r e e l y and l o v i n g l y share a story with h i s l i s t e n e r s and write "Once upon a time . . .," the l e a s t subjective of story beginnings. He i s free to love with a tenderness and immediacy unaffected by images and memories which cloud perception. Cavafy describes the Alexandrian i l l n e s s from which Darley has recovered: I ' l l stand here. And I ' l l make myself believe that I r e a l l y see a l l t h i s (I a c t u a l l y d i d see i t for a minute when I f i r s t stopped) and not my usual day-dreams here too, memories, my images of sensuality.68 The reign of memory and the image i s over, the c o n f l i c t between time and the s e l f has been resolved. Both Darley and Lawrence D u r r e l l have discovered an equilibrium, a balance between mysticism and i n t e l l e c t u - alism. F i n i t a l a guerra. 88 CONCLUSION Critics have argued that the rebirth or regeneration which the characters experience in Clea is vague and a r t i f i c i a l , a forced ending and a weakness on the part of the author. But i t must be remembered that The Alexandria Quartet is a novel of great length (the books are "siblings" and not sequels, as Durrell states in the preface to the 1962 edition), which contains features more appropriate to poetry. Prophetic intuitions, fleeting moments of heightened perception and sensation and random bits of philosophy constantly invade the narrative structure. The mysteries involved in the re l a t i v i t y and multiplicity of perception and the psychological mechanics of thought and desire, dream and premonition, replace what the ancient world would have called metaphysics. The extent of real knowledge about perception and psychological mechanism is limited, and the terminology used to describe these obscure unconscious worlds is even more restricted. For this reason, Durrell cannot describe, a complete alteration in his characters' method of evaluating experience in any other than a symbolic form. In addition, the ending of The Quartet must avoid portraying a change in "personality," that a r t i f i c i a l construct which the lovers must cling to in order to identify themselves. Love which builds a fixed set of attributes around the beloved image faces sure destruction at the hands of the natural interchange between time and the self. The rescue of Clea must be a self-possessed as well as an unself-conscior.s response to the event, an immediate entry into unified perception, desire and action. 89 Finally, i t i s Durrell's embellished truisms and playful bits of ironic philosophy which sustain a reader and encourage him to speculate on the philosophy of love i t s e l f . In an age which has lost the fear of the supernatural and unknown and the abil i t y to appreciate the mystery behind the rational explanation of phenomena, Durrell does come closer than his contemporaries to Chaucer in his s p i r i t of intellectual play and his ab i l i t y to leave the reader free to interpret the parable in The Quartet. FOOTNOTES Lawrence Durrell, "Lawrence Durrell Answers a Few Questions," The World of Lawrence Durrell, ed. Harry T. Moore (Carbondale: Southern I l l i n o i s University Press, 1962), p. 157. 2 Lawrence Durrell, The Alexandria Quartet (London: Faber and Faber, 1962), p. 556. The Alexandria Quartet was f i r s t published by Faber and Faber, London, and E. P. Dutton, New York, in four volumes: Justine (1957), Balthazar (1958), Mountolive (London, 1958; New York, 1959) and Clea (1960). The one-volume edition was f i r s t published in London by Faber and Faber in 1962. A l l subsequent references to The Quartet in this paper w i l l be followed by J_, B_. M, or C_ to indicate the novel .and by the page number from the 1962 edition in parentheses. C. G. Jung, Modern Man in Search of a_ Soul, .trans. W. S. Dell and Cary F. Baynes (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1933), p. 203. 4 Otto Rank, The Myth of the Birth of the Hero and Other Writings (New York: Vintage-Knopf, 1959), p. 208. 5 Lawrence Durrell, The Black Book (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1963), p. 167. ^ C. P. Cavafy, Cj_ P^ Cavafy: Selected Poems, trans. Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972), p. 3. 7 Durrell, The Black Book, p. 151. p Lawrence Durrell, S p i r i t of Place: Letters and Essays on Travel, ed. Alan G. Thomas, new ed. (London: Faber and Faber, 1971), p. 404. 9 Durrell, Spirit of Place, pp. 406-407. 1 0 Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul, p. 207. 1 1 Durrell, The Black Book, p. 199. 1 2 Durrell, The Black Book, p. 201. - 90 - 91 1 3 Lawrence D u r r e l l , "Introduction," The Book of the I t , Georg Groddeck, trans. V. M. E. C o l l i n s (New York: Vintage, 1949), p. v i . 1 4 D u r r e l l , "Introduction," The Book of the I t , p. xix. D u r r e l l , "Introduction," The Book of the I t , p. x x i i . G. S. Fraser, Lawrence D u r r e l l : A Study, rev. ed. (London: Faber and Faber, 1973), p. 101. Lawrence D u r r e l l , Collected Poems (London: Faber and Faber, I960) , p ». 246. 18 D u r r e l l , Collected Poems, P- 247. 19 D u r r e l l , Collected Poems, P- 258. 20 D u r r e l l , Collected Poems, P- 258. 21 D u r r e l l , Collected Poems, P- 258. 22 D u r r e l l , C o l l e c t e d Poems, P- 259. 23 D u r r e l l , "The Knelle r Tape," The World of Lawrence D u r r e l l , p. 168. 2 4 Denis de Rougemont, Love i n the Western World, trans. Montgomery Belgion, 2nd. ed. (New York: Pantheon, 1956), p. 87. 25 E. M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1927), p. 39. 2 6 Rank, Myth of the B i r t h of the Hero, p. 132. 27 D u r r e l l , "Lawrence D u r r e l l Answers a Few Questions," The World of Lawrence D u r r e l l , p. 157. 2 8 Lawrence D u r r e l l , The Big Supposer: A Dialogue with Marc Alyn, trans. Francine Barker (London: Abelard-Schumann, 1973), pp. 45-46. 29 Lawrence D u r r e l l , Lawrence D u r r e l l and Henry M i l l e r : A Private Correspondence, ed. George Wickes (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1963), p. 225. R. M. Grant, Gnosticism and Early C h r i s t i a n i t y (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959) , p. 9. 31 Lawrence D u r r e l l , Nunquam (London: Faber and Faber, 1970) ,. p. 54. D u r r e l l , "Letters from Lawrence D u r r e l l , " The World of Lawrence D u r r e l l , p. 230. 92 3 3 D u r r e l l , C o l l e c t e d Poems, p. 196. 34 Lawrence D u r r e l l , Tunc (London: Faber and Faber, 1968), p. 90. 35 D u r r e l l , Tunc, p. 53. 3 ^ John Paul Russo, "Love i n Lawrence D u r r e l l , " P r a i r i e Schooner, 43, (1969), p. 400. 37 Jung, Modern Man i n Search of a_ Soul, pp. 206-207. 3 8 Rank, The Myth of the B i r t h of the Hero, p. 146. 39 L i o n e l T r i l l i n g , "The Quartet: Two Reviews," World of Lawrence D u r r e l l , p. 58. 40 Joyce Cary, Art and R e a l i t y : Ways of the Creative Process (New York: Doubleday-Anchor, 1961), p. 174. 4 1 Cary, p. 178. 42 D u r r e l l , Lawrence D u r r e l l and Henry M i l l e r , p. 201. 43 Frederick R. K a r l , "Lawrence D u r r e l l : Physical and Metaphysical Love," The Con temporary English Novel (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1962), p. 42. 4 4 Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point (New York: The Modern Library, 1928), p. 350. 4 ^ Aldous Huxley, "Fashions i n Love," Do What You W i l l (London: Chatto and Windus, 1956), p. 131. 4 ^ Aldous Huxley, Letters of Aldous Huxley, ed. Grover Smith (New York and Evanston: Harper and Row, 1969), p. 829. 4 7 Huxley, Le t t e r s , p. 831. 4 8 Wyndham Lewis, Time and Western Man (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1928), pp. 15-16. 4 9 Eugene Lyons and Harry Antrim, "An Interview with Lawrence D u r r e l l , " Shenandoah, 22, No. 2 (1971), pp. 48-49. Anais Nin, The Diary of Anais Nin, ed. Gunther Stuhlmann, II (New York: Swallow Press and Brace, Harcourt & World, 1967) , p. 231. 51 Lawrence D u r r e l l , Monsieur (New York: Viking Press, 1975), p. 161. ^ 2 John Arthos, "Lawrence Du r r e l l ' s Gnosticism," The Personalist, 43, (1962), p. 372. 93 Alan Warren Friedman, The Alexandria Quartet: Art f o r Love's Sake (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970), p. 140. 54 Groddeck, The Book of the I t , p. 230. 5 5 D u r r e l l , "Introduction," The Book of the I t , p. x i . 5 6 D u r r e l l , The Black Book, p. 196. 57 Friedman, p. 142. 5 8 D u r r e l l , Lawrence D u r r e l l and Henry M i l l e r , p. 362. 5 9 D u r r e l l , Collected Poems, p. 207. ^° de Rougemont, Love i n the Western World, p. 37. 6 1 Robert Scholes, The Fabulators (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 23. 6 2 Northrop Frye, Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m : Four Essays (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957), p. 193. ^ Groddeck, p. 202. 6 4 Groddeck, p. 76. 6 5 Marcel Proust, Swann's Way, trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff, 1922; r p t . , 2 vols. (London: Chatto and Windus, 1966), I, pp. 224-225. 6 6 C. S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love: A Study i n Medieval T r a d i t i o n (London: Oxford University Press, 1938), p. 65. f- —j Lewis, p. 61. 6 8 C. P. Cavafy, C. P. Cavafy: Selected Poems, p. 29. BIBLIOGRAPHY Arcy d', M. C., S. J. The Mind and Heart of Love: Lion and Unicorn. A Study i n Eros and Agape. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1947. Arthos, John. "Lawrence Du r r e l l ' s Gnosticism." The Pe r s o n a l i s t, 43 (1962), 360-373. Beyle, Henri. On Love, trans. P h i l i p Sidney Woolf and C e c i l N. Sidney Woolf. London: Duckworth & Co., 1915. Brown, Norman 0. L i f e Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1959. Cartwright, Michael Percy. "The Alexandria Quartet: A Comedy for the Twentieth Century or Lawrence D u r r e l l , The Pardoner, and His Miraculous Pig's Knuckle." D i s s e r t a t i o n Abstracts In t e r n a t i o n a l , 31 (1970), 5391A (University of Nebraska). Cary, Joyce. A r t and Real i t y : Ways of the Creative Process. New York Doubleday-Anchor, 1961. Cavafy, C. P. The Complete Poems of C. P. Cavafy, trans. Rae Dalven. London: Chatto & Windus, 1961. . C^ P^ Cavafy: Selected Poems, trans. Edmund Keeley and P h i l i p Sherrard. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972. D u r r e l l , Lawrence. The Alexandria Quartet. London: Faber and Faber, 1962. , and Marc Alyn. The Big Supposer: A dialogue with Marc". Alyn, trans. Francine Barker. London: Abelard-Schumann, 1973. The Black Book. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1963. Collected Poems. London: Faber and Faber, 1960. "Introduction." The Book of the I t by Georg Groddeck, trans. V. M. E. C o l l i n s . New York: Vintage, 1949. 95 . "The Kneller Tape." The World of Lawrence D u r r e l l , ed. Harry T. Moore. Carbondale: Southern I l l i n o i s University Press, 1962. . "Lawrence D u r r e l l Answers a Few Questions." The World of Lawrence D u r r e l l , ed. Harry T. Moore. Carbondale: Southern I l l i n o i s University Press, 1962. , and Henry M i l l e r . Lawrence D u r r e l l and Henry M i l l e r : A Private Correspondence, ed. George Wickes. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1963. "Letters from Lawrence D u r r e l l . " The World of Lawrence D u r r e l l , ed. Harry T. Moore. Carbondale: Southern I l l i n o i s U niversity Press, 1962. Monsieur. New York: Viking Press, 1975. Nunguam. London: Faber and Faber, 1970. . S p i r i t of Place: Letters and Essays on Travel, ed. Alan G. Thomas. New ed. London: Faber and Faber, 1971. Tunc. London: Faber and Faber, 1968. Forster, E. M. Alexandria: A History and Guide. Rev. ed. Gloucester: Peter Smith, 1968. . Aspects of the Novel. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1927. Fraser, G. S. Lawrence D u r r e l l : A Study. Rev. ed. London: Faber and Faber, 1973. Friedman, Alan Warren. The Alexandria Quartet: Art f o r Love's Sake. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970. Frye, Northrop. Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m : Four Essays. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957. Gordon, Ambrose J r . "Time, Space and Eros: The Alexandria Quartet Rehearsed." Six Contemporary Novels. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1962. Gossman, Ann. "Love's Alchemy i n The Alexandria Quartet." C r i t i q u e , 13, No. 2 (1971), 83-96. Grant, R. M. Gnosticism and Early C h r i s t i a n i t y . New York: Columbia University Press, 1959. Groddeck, Georg. The Book of the I t , trans. V. M. E. C o l l i n s . New York: Vintage, 1949. 96 Huxley, Aldous. "Fashions i n Love." Do What You W i l l . London: Chatto & Windus, 1956. . Letters of Aldous Huxley, ed. Grover Smith. New York and Evanston: Harper and Row, 1969. Point Counter Point. New York: The Modern Library, 1928. Jung, C. G. Modern Man i n Search of a Soul, trans. W. S. D e l l and Cary F. Baynes. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1933. Ka r l , Frederick R. "Lawrence D u r r e l l : P h ysical and Metaphysical Love." The Contemporary English Novel. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1962. Katope, Christopher G. "Cavafy and Dur r e l l ' s The Alexandria Quartet." Comparative L i t e r a t u r e , 21 (Spring 1969), 125-37. Lewis, C. S. The Allegory of Love: A Study i n Medieval T r a d i t i o n . London: Oxford University Press, 1938. Lewis, Wyndham. Time and Western Man. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1928. Lyons, Eugene, and Harry Antrim. "An Interview with Lawrence D u r r e l l . " Shenandoah, 22, No. 2 (1971), 42-58. Nin, Anais. The Diary of Anais Nin,ed. Gunther Stuhlmann, I I . New York: Swallow Press and Brace, Harcourt and World, 1967. Perles, A l f r e d . My Friend Lawrence D u r r e l l . Northwood: Scorpion Press, 1961. Proust, Marcel. Swann's Way, trans. C. K. Moncrieff. 2 vo l s . , 1922; rp t . London: Chatto & Windus, 1966. Rank, Otto. The Myth of the B i r t h of the Hero and Other Writings. New York: Vintage-Knopf, 1959. Rougemont, Denis de. Love i n the Western World, trans. Montgomery Belgion. 2nd. ed. New York: Pantheon, 1956. . Love Declared: Essays on the Myths of Love, trans. Richard Howard. Boston: Beacon Press, 1963. Russo, John Paul. "Love i n Lawrence D u r r e l l . " P r a i r i e Schooner, 43 (1969), 396-407. Saurat, Denis. L i t e r a t u r e and Occult T r a d i t i o n : Studies i n Ph i l o s o p h i c a l Poetry, trans. Dorothy Bolton. London: G. B e l l & Sons, 1930. 97 Scholes, Robert. The Fabulators. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967. Taylor, Chet. "Dissonance and Digression: The I l l - F i t t i n g Fusion of Philosophy and Form in Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet." Modern Fiction Studies, 17 (1971), 167-79. T r i l l i n g , Lionel. "The Quartet: Two Reviews." The World of Lawrence Durrell, ed. Harry T. Moore. Carbondale: Southern I l l i n o i s University Press, 1962. Unterecker, John. Lawrence D u r r e l l . Columbia Essays on Modern Writers, No. 6. New York: Columbia University Press, 1964.


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