"A SPONTANEOUS, RESOURCEFUL NEW BEAUTY": HANDSOME SET OF DURRELL'S ALEXANDRIA QUARTET IN FIRST EDITIONS
DURRELL, Lawrence. The Alexandria Quartet: Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive, Clea. London: Faber and Faber, (1957-60). Octavo, original red, blue, yellow, and orange cloth, original dust jackets. Housed together in a custom clamshell box. $4000.
First editions of all four novels in the Alexandria Quartet—"an investigation of modern love"—in bright original dust jackets.
Durrell's landmark tetralogy, a piercing view of love in Alexandrian society in the years before WWII, shimmers as if capturing "the landscape of a dream." The first of his four novels Justine "demands comparison with the best books of our century." Balthazar continues Durrell's epic series with "a spontaneous, resourceful new beauty" and, in the third novel Mountolive, Durrell again creates a "work of splendid craft and troubling veracity." The tetralogy's final novel Clea completes Durrell's stated design of modeling "the series on 'the relativity proposition' in physics"— altogether achieving "a spontaneous, resourceful new beauty" (New York Times). "'The central topic… is an investigation of modern love,' Durrell proclaimed, while a subsidiary theme is the nature of fiction itself" (Parker & Kermode, 370). "We cannot see the whole of any given character or event in one novel alone. Each novel is meaningless on its own" (Burgess, 99 Novels, 67). First editions, first printings in first issue dust jackets (none price-clipped).
Books near-fine to fine with scattered foxing mainly to preliminaries and edges; dust jackets near-fine to fine with trace of toning to spines and edges, faint dampstaining to spines of Justine, Balthazar. A lovely set.