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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Balthazar by Lawrence Durrell. Balthazar Alexandria Quartet 2 by Lawrence Durrell. The events of each lush and sensuous novel are seen through the eyes of the central character L. Darley, who observes the interactions of his lovers, friends, and acquaintances. Balthazar, named for Darley's friend, a doctor and mystic, interprets Darley's vie Balthazar, is the second volume of Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet, set in Alexandria, Egypt, during the s.

Balthazar, named for Darley's friend, a doctor and mystic, interprets Darley's views from a philosophical and intellectual viewpoint. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published February 19th by Sudamericana first published More Details Original Title. Alexandria Quartet 2. Alexandria Egypt Egypt. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Balthazar , please sign up. What the fuck is "Tashkent, Syria"?

This question contains spoilers… view spoiler [Who is Clea's lover in Balthazar? See 2 questions about Balthazar…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4.

Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Balthazar The Alexandria Quartet 2. Jan 01, Paul rated it it was amazing Shelves: the-durrells. The second book in the Alexandria Quartet, still seen through the central character the writer Darley.

He is now living on a remote Greek island a few years after the events of the first novel. The bulk of the novel is The second book in the Alexandria Quartet, still seen through the central character the writer Darley.

The bulk of the novel is taken up with these notes. We learn more about Pursewarden loosely based on Wyndham Lewis. There is also a long section about the annual carnival and masque at which a murder takes place. The novel ends with a brief interlude relating to Clea, who is as enigmatic as ever.

Things are never quite what they seem is also part of the message and the added nuance makes the reader question their perceptions of the first novel. Different versions of the same story; it feels almost as though Durrell is mimicking the story of Jesus in New Testament.

Durrell said the whole Quartet was about modern love. The language is luscious and feels venerable, but the themes are indeed modern, but they are age old themes and there is nothing new under the sun. The mingling of the sacred and profane in the city of Alexandria is modern, but could just as easily be a tale set in the age of the pharaohs. This was published in , but is set in the s, so Durrell is looking back through the prism of time and perhaps recapturing something of his past as well.

Real life themes mirror fiction. View all 5 comments. However, having finished it, I don't really think of it as a wholly different work. Its very nature and purpose is to tweek "Justine". It's both supplementary and complementary.

What emerges in the mind of the reader isn't so much a second distinct work, but a compound of the two. My memory of the first is now irreversibly altered by the experie First Impression Followed by a Second Initially, I suspected that this second volume of "The Alexandria Quartet" might be inferior to the first.

My memory of the first is now irreversibly altered by the experience of the second. The Great Interlinear Like "Justine", this novel is a composite of diverse fictional contributions. Over the two volumes, we absorb the narrator's words, Justine's journal, her first husband's novel "Moeurs" , letters from Clea, Pursewarden's notebooks for his novel, and the "the Great Interlinear" contributed by Balthazar as a critique of the narrator's first draft of "Justine". Durrell also uses the word "intercalary" to describe the interposition of additional material.

Lawrence Durrell, Layer by Layer Towards the Creation of a Palimpsest Balthazar explains his motive for writing the Interlinear in terms of the quest for truth: "No doubt you are bringing us to judgement on paper in the manner of writers It must fall very short of truth You have been painting the city, touch by touch, upon a curved surface - was your object poetry or fact?

If the latter, then there are things which you have a right to know. The Interlinear highlights the extent to which it is "a palimpsest upon which each of us had left his or her individual traces, layer by layer. Yet when I wrote, the full facts were not at my disposal. The picture I drew was a provisional one - like the picture of a lost civilisation deduced from a few fragmented vases, an inscribed tablet, an amulet, some human bones, a gold smiling death-mask.

Retroactive Perception Now that we know a little of the city and its characters, Durrell seemed to feel it was time we observed them interact.

Thus, there is far more narrative action in "Balthazar". However, the events that occur in this volume retroactively shape the narrator's perception and memories of the past: "In my mind's eye the city rose once more against the flat mirror of the green lake and the broken loins of sandstone which marked the desert's edge. For every aspect of the plot, there is a counter-plot. It writhes before our very eyes. A Memory Reflected in a Mirror Durrell indulges in much more description of both the psychic and the physical landscape.

However, there is more conflict in this volume. The narrator becomes more engaged in his subject matter. His perspective changes: "Once again, as always when the drama of external events altered the emotional pattern of things, I began to see the city through new eyes - to examine the shapes and contours made by human beings with the detachment of an entomologist studying a hitherto unknown species of insect.

Here it was, the race, each member of it absorbed in the solution of individual preoccupations, loves, hates and fears. A woman counting money on to a glass table, an old man feeding a dog, an Arab in a red flowerpot drawing a curtain. Equally, he acknowledges that the surface has altered his perception of the earlier layers: " A memory which catches sight of itself in a mirror.

Portrait of Josa Finney, the hostess of the Carnival ball in the novel The Key to the Self Although the narrator's mind is made of memories, he is gripped and captivated by them. They appear to have cast a spell on him. Ultimately, he seeks a release, a deliverance from their hold. The city of Alexandria might be a metaphor for life and perhaps for the individual as well, but he must escape it in order to know himself.

Ironically, he must know more before he is able to discard the wealth of information: "I must know everything in order to be at last delivered from the city How will I ever deliver myself from this whore among cities I must set it all down in cold black and white, until such time as the memory and impulse of it is spent. I know that the key I am trying to turn is in myself. Yet, he wonders whether his mission is misguided. There is no self that is static or constant, that simply perceives a constantly-changing exterior world.

The self is at the heart of relativity. Pursewarden, the novelist who has been reading Einstein 1 "In the Space and Time marriage we have the greatest Boy meets Girl story of the age! Each psyche is really an ant-hill of opposing predispositions. Personality as something with fixed attributes is an illusion - but a necessary illusion if we are to love Our view of reality is conditioned by our position in space and time - not by our personalities as we like to think.


Balthazar – Lawrence Durrell

Alexandria Quartet , British literature , Lawrence Durrell , literature , review. He claims to have put Alexandria away, sealing it and its figures into a story, the Justine manuscript. Having sent it to Balthazar, it is returned to him stuffed with margin notes, details unknown to Darley and so begins the task of assimilating them. The greatest difference between the two novels is therefore the quietly ruminative aspect of Balthazar.


Balthazar by Lawrence Durrell

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Balthazar , published in , is the second volume in The Alexandria Quartet series by British author Lawrence Durrell. Set in Alexandria, Egypt around World War II, the four novels tell essentially the same story from different points of view and come to a conclusion in Clea. Balthazar is the first novel in the series that presents a competing narrator, Balthazar, who writes back to the narrating Darley in his "great interlinear. Durrell initially titled the book Justine II in his drafts. The novel includes several last minute changes to the publisher's proofs, perhaps most significantly the replacement and expansion of the novel's introductory Note. The four novels follow this pattern.



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