Jump to content

The Alexandria Quartet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Alexandria Quartet
First UK editions
AuthorLawrence Durrell
SeriesThe Alexandria Quartet
PublisherFaber and Faber (UK) & Dutton (US)
Publication date
Publication placeGreat Britain
Media typePrint (hardback and paperback)
Pages884 (Faber edition)
ISBN0-571-08609-8 (paperback edition)
Preceded byBitter Lemons 
Followed byThe Revolt of Aphrodite 

The Alexandria Quartet is a tetralogy of novels by British writer Lawrence Durrell, published between 1957 and 1960. A critical and commercial success, the first three books present three perspectives on a single set of events and characters in Alexandria, Egypt, before and during the Second World War. The fourth book is set six years later.

As Durrell explains in his preface to Balthazar, the four novels are an exploration of relativity and the notions of continuum and subject–object relation, with modern love as the theme. The Quartet's first three books offer the same sequence of events through several points of view, allowing individual perspectives of a single set of events. The fourth book shows change over time.

The four novels are:

In a 1959 Paris Review interview,[1] Durrell described the ideas behind the Quartet in terms of a convergence of Eastern and Western metaphysics, based on Einstein's overturning of the old view of the material universe, and Freud's doing the same for the concept of stable personalities, yielding a new concept of reality.

In 1998, the Modern Library ranked The Alexandria Quartet number 70 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.


  1. ^ Andrewski, Gene; Mitchell, Julian (23 April 1959). "Lawrence Durrell: The Art of Fiction No. 23 (interview)". The Paris Review. Retrieved 1 July 2006. pp. 26–27.

Further reading

  • Haag, Michael. Alexandria: City of Memory. London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004.