[ilds] Ambron Villa and Quartet

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Sun Apr 27 12:02:18 PDT 2008

The Ambron Villa still stands, along with its iconic tower, as of November 30, 2007, when I last saw it.  I describe it and its pending fate in an article to appear in Arion, this summer.  In short, the villa now belongs to an Alexandrian development company, which acquired it through a "secret sale."  Read Mohamed Awad's article, "The House Revisited, The City Remembered," Deus Loci:  The Lawrence Durrell Journal, NS7, 1999-2000.  A very good summary of the situation.  The company planned to demolish the villa and build an apartment complex on the site, but Awad and his friends appealed to the Egyptian Antiquities Organization and got a temporary restraining order.  The ultimate fate of the villa remains highly uncertain, but many Alexandrians are actively trying to preserve their architectural heritage throughout the city.

Re the genesis of the Quartet, from single novel to tetralogy, Michael Haag has pretty much solved that problem in great detail, at least to my satisfaction, if not to others.  Haag delivered his argument at the last meeting of OMG meeting in Victoria, 2006.  That talk should appear as an essay in a forthcoming issue of Deus Loci, although I have no idea when that will be.  Since my memory about such things is rather faulty, I shall not attempt to summarize Haag's argument, except to provide the following tidbit, which I hope is accurate enough.  Durrell originally conceived of Justine as a single novel, but after he met and hooked up with Claude Vincendon on Cyprus, she, a native Alexandrian, proved him with enough new material to expand one novel into four.  So, you might say, the "heightened emotional involvement of the reader" parallels the same involvement of the author as he discovers himself or, at least, his excitement over the discovery of a long, unfolding project.


-----Original Message-----
>From: PETER BALDWIN <delospeter at hotmail.com>
>Sent: Apr 27, 2008 9:45 AM
>To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>, Durrell list <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
>Subject: Re: [ilds] One-Volume Alexandria Quartet
>The single volume ed of the Q which Fabers put out in 1986 as a reprint had Gentleman's watercolour of D's writing Tower at the Villa Ambron on the cover. Has the villa now been demolished?
>I am trying to work out the chronology of Justine's ceasing to be the single novel originally planned and becoming the first of the Quartet because to read J as a single stand - alone novel published without the anticipation of the next three heightens, I think, the readers emotional engagement
>I can't find a date in Brewster Chamberlin's Chronology for the delivery of the ts. to fabers, nor indeed a date for publication
>In D - M Letters we have D in c1/56 [ p 279 ] making no ref to a series tho by late '57 he envisages 'three more cuttings'

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