Original Research

The flâneuse and the City as uncanny home in Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria quartet

Allyson Kreuiter
Literator | Vol 36, No 1 | a1165 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v36i1.1165 | © 2015 Allyson Kreuiter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 October 2014 | Published: 28 July 2015

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Allyson Kreuiter, Department of English, University of South Africa, South Africa


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Abstract

The concept of the home is not something that can be readily associated with Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria quartet. Generally, the word home is defined as a place where one lives, a house or dwelling. The idea of home is associated with the architectural construct of the house, as both a place and a space. With this in mind, I approach the conceptualisation of the house as representative of safety and happy remembrance from a somewhat different premise, exploring Durrell’s representation of Alexandria as an enclosing womb-like home that voraciously consumes her inhabitants. Although Durrell’s Alexandria has been considered by scholars from many angles, I propose my position represents a rather different approach to the manner in which the city has previously been examined. Durrell’s city, as uncanny home, will be shown to create her residents as fragments of her own consciousness, and this is particularly true of the character Justine. The narrator Darley’s memories of Justine moving through the streets of the city evoke her in the guise of a flâneuse and this flânerie, I go on to suggest, establishes a symbiosis between herself and the city, setting up an interplay through which Justine becomes the proxy for the city as unhomely home.

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