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Title:The urban Gothic City in Lawrence Durrell's 'The Alexandria Quartet'
Author:Kreuiter, Allyson
Periodical:The English Academy Review (ISSN 1753-5360)
Geographic terms:Egypt
Great Britain
About person:Lawrence George Durrell (1912-1990)ISNI
Abstract:Although the city in Lawrence Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet has received a great deal of scholarly attention as an urban space and place, there has been limited engagement with the Gothic tropes located in Durrell's representation of the city. I will examine how urban Gothic themes such as a sense of claustrophobic enclosure, the active agency of the city, and the haunting return of the past are significant to the representation of Durrell's Alexandria. In addition, the concept of abjection, detailed by Julia Kristeva in her work 'Powers of Horror' (1982. New York: Columbia University Press), will be central to my exploration of Durrell's Alexandria as an urban Gothic space, one that is at once menacing and inviting. The abject produces an effect of horror, specifically one that is uncanny in its disruption of the familiar, threatening the certainty of the self, and creating a sense of dread and anxiety. In 'The Alexandria Quartet', this disruption is caused not only by the uncanny, but also by the Gothic, and is accompanied by a sense of something loathsome, and a compulsion to repeat the experience. Consequently, my contention is that Durrell's city is an active urban Gothic space, which functions as an uncanny mechanism of return. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]