He had three younger siblings— two brothers and a sister. Like many other children of the British Raj, at the age of eleven, Durrell was sent to England for schooling, where he briefly attended St. His formal education was unsuccessful, and he failed his university entrance examinations. He began to write poetry seriously at the age of fifteen. His first collection, Quaint Fragments, was published in , when he was

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This Precious Image "Mountolive", the third volume in "The Alexandria Quartet", initially alienated me, but totally turned me around. It fell into place much more quickly, and the rewards came sooner as well. Initially, I wondered whether it might be a grab bag of ideas and impressions stitched together as an afterthought to what might otherwise have constituted a trilogy. Even if it had been conceived of as a This Precious Image "Mountolive", the third volume in "The Alexandria Quartet", initially alienated me, but totally turned me around.

Even if it had been conceived of as a trilogy, "Clea" fits in neatly. It is set some years later, both during and after the war. Whereas some of the relationships in the earlier volumes were still jostling around with the heat, by now they have started to settle. People have matured.

Some, however, have moved on or shuffled off this mortal coil. However, its concerns seem to revolve around the questions: what does it mean to live? What does it mean to love?

What does it mean to be an artist? What does the imagination have to do with the truth? In concepts if not necessarily language that evoke Hegel, the writer Pursewarden theorises: "The so-called act of living is really an act of the imagination.

By the same token, if we explore the outside world, we will also understand ourselves better. Hence, by understanding the city, we will understand its inhabitants. And vice versa. But to the same end! Each quality informs the other. Meddling with Time Pursewarden makes a similar point in relation to Proust: "Time is the catch! Space is a concrete idea, but Time is abstract But being unwilling to mobilise the meaning of time he was driven to fall back on memory, the ancestor of hope!

But being a Jew he had hope - and with Hope comes the irresistible desire to meddle. Yet, it also suggests that Proust was prone to hope and meddle, presumably in relation to the future. Perhaps, then, Pursewarden in contrast to Proust focuses more on the present than either the past or the future. The present is the only facet of Time that can be immediately influenced and mobilised by Man. Yet Pursewarden suggests that, in trying to mobilise the progress of Time into the future, this other manifestation of Man "we Celts" has the opposite problem to the Jewish predicament of hopefulness: "We Celts mate with despair out of which alone grows laughter and the desperate romance of the eternally hopeless.

We hunt the unattainable, and for us there is only a search unending. The past seems to shape both the present and the future: "It was indeed another island - I suppose the past always is.

Or are our choices simply limited to the number of cards in the pack? The Seeds of Future Events Darley, looking back on events in the the past, in preparation for writing about it, says: "It is not hard, writing at this remove in time, to realise that it had already happened, had been ordained in such a way and in no other.

The seeds of future events are carried within ourselves. They are implicit in us and unfold according to the laws of their own nature. Perhaps, not just our own fate, but we all contribute to the passage of history, which is just a record of the passage of Time. In a beautiful musical analogy, Darley writes to Clea that the individual events in our lives might "plant themselves in the speculative mind like single notes of music belonging to some larger composition which I suppose one will never hear.

But Darley refers to it as a "poisoned loving cup". Obviously, some lovers were never meant for each other at all. However, Clea is the first to appreciate that love can often be a matter of timing.

It will come. And kisses themselves became charged with the deliberate affirmation which can come only from the foreknowledge and presence of death. It would have been good to die at any moment then, for love and death had somewhere joined hands. Because, when all is said and done, this much is true.

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Clea by Lawrence Durrell



Lawrence Durrell


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