chapter  10
Registering the Charge
Mood and Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet
WithRex Ferguson
Pages 20

The sticky entanglements of 1930s and 1940s Alexandria is precisely what The Alexandria Quartet describes. Yet, on the face of it, Lawrence Durrell’s text might seem specifically designed to promote a different kind of readerly disentanglement. The confusing twists and turns of the plot are constitutive of an Alexandria which is a rich muddle of histories, cultures, and ethnicities and which is felt as a range of light touches which surround the body. Alexandria’s mood is made manifest through an abundance of descriptive passages which activate complex lines of connection between the city’s physical environment, social conditions, and tangled history. Intimately physical, mood is literally an atmosphere that lightly touches and surrounds the body: the ‘climate’ which is inhabited. Intimately physical, mood is literally an atmosphere that lightly touches and surrounds the body: the ‘climate’ which is inhabited.