[ilds] The Theories of Relativity and The Alexandria Quartet

Sumantra Nag sumantranag at gmail.com
Mon Sep 10 07:50:24 PDT 2018


"Some critics have analyzed Qurrell's ideas from a scientific point of
view. Yet their efforts seem futile since Durrell himself ,admits to using
ideas from the sciences haphazardly (K, x) and acknowledges the
inevitability of misinterpretation and oversimplification, particularly
when moving from one discipline to another. Alfred M, Bork, a physicist,
confirms this by demonstrating how Durrell's knowledge of relativity and
quantum mechanfcal ideas is largely based on popularizations of scientific
theQries, such as Sir James Jeans' Physics and Philosophy. Bork claims that
Durrell's liberal use of such popularizations invokes a "translation" of
the theory from specially formulated sclentific language into everyday
English. Thus Bork warns "a popularization of the theory is 'not' the
theory itself. Furthermore, different popularizations of a single theory
can give entirely different views on it. Bork is no doubt correct."
(Klironomos, Martha, *The Poetics and Politics of Consciousness:
Durrell's Alexandria Quartet,* Diss. McGill University, 1988.
http://www.lawrencedurrell.org/bibliog/bibalexandria-a.htm)

I think it is important to note the limitations of the professed link
between the theories of relativity and Heizenberg's uncertainty principle,
and *The Alexandria Quartet, *which has been pointed out in this study.
Here you have the views of a physicist on these theories and the nature of
the link between these scientific theories, (which are complex) and *The
Alexandria Quartet. *

As a former undergraduate student of physics (which I eventually abandoned)
I would endorse this view, not because I was an advanced student of these
theories, but because my acquaintance with the basics of these theories -
which arose at about the same time as my discovery of *The Alexandria
Quartet *during the 1960s - led me note the very basic level at which the *AQ
*might be linked with the theories of physics which were being cited. The
sheer literary power of Durrell's writing rendered the seemingly
rudimentary association with these theories of physics as something which
was not primary in the novels.

Sumantra Nag
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