Эссе: The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell


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Английский язык
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Эссе
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3

... Although this resource is not largely exploited, we sometimes see verbal tags familiar from one context given new resonance by being heard in another. (p. 163) Alexandria usurps heavily on the Alexandrians; and Durrell, with a vivid pen for colours, smells, and popular oddities, can render a bazaar, a cheap cabaret, or a hunch-backed barber briefly and brilliantly. With profundities of thought or feeling he's less successful: the Cabala and the doctrines of the Gnostics remain bits of lifeless window-dressing, and the grand passions don't get much beyond the stage of clich. Of course, that is one of the points of the tetralogy. With its gift for factoring people down to their common irreducible elements, it forms Nessim and Melissa, Darley and Justine into a crystalline quartet of compulsions and frustrations before which the explanations of time and history (whether personal or public) are relatively helpless. Racially and religiously the quartet is as balanced and unstable as the city itself, and its conflicts are quite as insoluble. But then solutions are not really in order; certainly the Joycean vision would not have encouraged Durrell to think that in Mountolive he could effectively lay out a political background along with an explanation of Pursewarden (so much better as an enigma than as a case history!) and in Clea score up a pseudo-Proustian ending-return. One senses that even though he carried it off, the romantic ending with Clea did not sit well on his artistic conscience, and in the desperate amputation of Clea's hand, he tried to set it off with a bit of strong stuff. ...