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  • Durrell’s muses: Pomposity, Meretricia, and Sibyl

“Like a sinus being ground to powder” writes Lawrence Durrell in a typically overreaching description taken from Justine, the first volume of his “Alexandria Quartet.” And his late-50s tetralogy is indeed as painful as a sinus infection. The Guardian‘s John Crace might have summed it up best in his parody of the work:

The child and I are alone. I have not named it yet, though it will, of course, be Justine. I am neither happy nor unhappy: just poetically distrait. . . . And what of Justine? Was she trapped in a projection of a will too powerful which Alexandria threw down? And ought I to get out more?