extent of the Keynesian defences.

Much would then depend oh how fast and how far the Keynesian levers are pulled. They have plenty of play, since the Republicans have kept credit extremely tight, and the Democrats and the unions have argued throughout the Eisenhower period that the levers should have been pulled earlier and harder as each recession emerged. The admitted cost of this more aggressive policy would, of course, be inflation. Dr. Leon Keyserling, a leader of this school, maintains that modest inflation, within the limit of about 2 per cent per year, is a necessary cost for a satisfactory increase in growth rate, and well worth it. There is thus some significance in who is president as the economy begins its next decline. Beyond Keynes, there is the presence of Galbraith, and his policy of direct government intervention to shift private spending to the public sector, to meet America’s long list of needs for improved education, housing, roads, urban amenities, and health care. If the underlying trend in the economy is as menacing as some factors indicate, pressure may become strong enough to persuade a faltering Democratic or a baulky Republican administration that Galbraith must be accepted as well as Keynes. Starting from a different premise—the necessity of doing the same thing to compete internationally with Russia—R. H. S. Crossman predicts that within the next decade America (as well as Britain) will undertake a large-scale extension of planned economy. Whether the impetus is external or internal, or a combination, this could profoundly affect America’s economy and her politics if it happens. But, unless the administration of the day stonewalls all the way against the challenge, the American Left will still be waiting for the “bust” after the next recession.

Colin Falck

City Of The Disinherited

Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet consists of four novels — Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive and Clea —published by Faber (16s. each).
WHEN THE Alexandria Quartet struck into our critical dovecote, the cry that went up was very confused indeed. Mr. Hilary Corke (May Encounter) has said that this tells us more about the contemporary state of the dovecote than about the Alexandria Quartet, but the hawklike mercilessness of his own attack is little help towards a sympathetic or critical understanding of either. Nevertheless the first sea-wall of criticism has been badly and in most places deservedly shaken, and this may be no bad occasion for another “first” appraisal. “The central topic of the book,” Durrell writes, “is an investigation of modern love”. This seems to me the best account that anyone has yet given of what the Alexandria

Quartet is about, and yet many people have written it off along with Durrell’s other prefatory remarks—“the soup-mix recipe of a continuum”, “a four-decker novel whose form is based on the relativity proposition”—as pretentious nonsense. They may be right, in fact, that the space-time talk adds very little, but this is because the essential idea is better suggested at the beginning of Balthazar, where Pursewarden (principal novelistwithin-the-novel and general repository for some of Durrell’s most striking intuitions) writes that “We live lives based upon selected fictions. Our view of reality is conditioned by our position in space and time—not by our personalities as we like to think. Thus every interpretation of reality is based upon a unique position. Two paces east or west and the whole picture is changed”. And the relevance of this to the whole subject and technical structure of the Quartet becomes clearer when Darley, the novelist-narrator, goes on to comment that, “Personality as something with fixed attributes is an illusion—but a necessary illusion if we are to love” (his italics). Sartre once wrote that “Character has no distinct existence except as an object of knowledge to other people”. Durrell’s quartet, like Sartre’s own (Les Chemins de la Liberté), is a fictional exploration of just this proposition. It is this that justifies the ‘sliding panel’ technique. Justine introduces most of the later characters and tells centrally of Darley’s love for Justine, the wife of his friend Nessim Hosnani, a rich Coptic businessman (though if she were simply this—or simply anything— the book would not be what it is: it is essential to it that almost none of the people are ‘characters’ in the familiar sense). When, in the second novel, the doctor Balthazar makes his interlinear comments on this story, Darley, still narrating, sees that he has been deceived and is forced to reinterpret everything from the beginning. The third novel centres on the British diplomat, Mountolive who has hitherto appeared only at the margin, and again confronts the earlier accounts with new knowledge that completely alters the picture, this time in an objective, third-person narrative. Only with Clea do we move forward in time. To see why the novel demands to be cast in this form it is worth noticing another of Durrell’s prefatory remarks: “it would be worth trying an experiment to see if we cannot discover a morphological form one might appropriately call ‘classical’—for our time”. The question, of course, is why ‘for our time’? What is essential to Durrell’s form, I think, is not the literalistic idea of three dimensions of space and one of time—as he himself suggests, the characters could go on being deployed and redeployed ad virtually infinitum, and the cryptic workpoints at the end of Clea suggest some alarming new worlds—but rather the whole shifting chiaroscuro of viewpoints, the seeming elusiveness of the ‘real’ truth, the sense of the wild and ceaseless interflowing of appearances which finds its only possible expression in a brilliantly overloaded poetic language. Durrell seems hardly to believe in facts at all. And it is


their place would be. We should have thought that we should be able to distinguish between male and female. two reactions have been almost universal: to credit Durrell with an unparalleled ‘sense of place’. If we consider the other affinities between Durrell and Lawrence it may be that this comparison will not seem too fanciful. a pure balance of two single beings—as the stars balance each other”. This agreement in analysis but divergence of verdicts suggests that Durrell’s attempt to produce something classical for our time has at least produced a challenge to our critical standards. he says. But one comparison seems to me to be strikingly relevant: they recall the almost identical remarks that greeted the novels of D. Except that Lawrence did not leave off: it is Women in Love of which this may be true. if they had a place. The preparedness to live from other centres than the will and intellect. quite serene and happy” says Clea. like the intellectual world of The Mandarins. . thanks to the Hand”. Lawrence represents the crucial transition. sometimes flat. literature and philosophy of the twentieth century—with a world which has lost its meaning and where. develop an autonomous existence and significance which can provide the main current—and the key to the understanding—of the novel. rarely grows beyond this first stage. F. H. Lawrence’s world. begins to lose its objectivity. with a magnificent poetic evocation of Alexandria. “Because I don’t know what I want of you. . and if we ask what it was in Lawrence that laid him open to such incomprehension we may get a clearer perspective on Durrell: there is a sense. like Ursula and Birkin. V. ‘cut themselves finally adrift’. Durrell’s characters have been described as “sometimes almost unbearably complex. (The difference is mirrored in their language: Durrell’s need to transfix each moment and make it altogether self-sufficient places a heavy weight on his prose which Lawrence’s rarely feels. “the question of the kind of success possible in marriage. The difference with Durrell’s total cosmopolitanism is that— with the exception of Mountolive (and perhaps Nessim)—all his characters have. loosened away from any decisive social determinants. any crisis and resolution of the ‘traditional’ kind. S. only for Mountolive himself does the mauvaise foi of an integrated social existence have any direct meaning. if not in the literal form itself. and later “What I want is a strange conjunction with you—not meeting and mingling—you are quite right—but an equilibrium. emotion and personal relationship have become consuming problems in their own right. and that “after the sexual act there is still unsatisfied desire. and in life. and it could be that in this case they are quite simply true.interesting that.) Only in Mountolive do the roots seem to regain their grip. Exhausted romantics. These are standard enough critical comments. to a situation where this identification has broken down. at least. like a masked chorus”. John Coleman: Spectator). ‘the shining city of the disinherited’. but “only about Narcissism and desire”. theology and the theory of art with an openness and complexity that surpasses that of Women in Love. for a pair that have cut themselves finally adrift. says Birkin to Ursula. for all the critical discord as to whether the Alexandria Quartet is a masterpiece or an appalling wreck (Mr. But to recall Lawrence again: “it isn’t selfish at all”. in the anxiety of this meaninglessness. In this. I deliver myself over to the unknown in coming to you . not the later obsessive ‘solution’ of The Plumed Serpent. and man and woman are as indistinguishable as octopods in an aquarium tank”. in fact. And it is for this reason that the deeper significances of the novel cannot be understood in the conventional terms of role-playing “characters”. It is concerned. they are looking over the sleeping lover’s shoulder”. But no! Remove the names. in Leavis’ words. It is in this way that character. The writers and artists of Durrell’s Quartet. Could it not be the point of Clea that on the other side of Narcissism and desire just such a relationship is finally achieved? “I wait. an artist at last”. And it is because of this that they can seem to drift endlessly in and out of a poetic mirage of philosophy. they are all disinherited. perhaps what Paul Tillich has called 67 . but without that recurrent return to the rejected realities of an actual society that may appear to us necessary to the strength and structure of a novel. in which Durrell takes over where Lawrence left off.”. but to insist that none of the characters is real. or the religious community of Iris Murdoch’s The Bell. Their love. that there is no sense of interaction between them. no longer channelled into meaningful social interaction. the Alexandria Quartet may indeed—for better or for worse—be ‘classical’ for our time. I think—as is perhaps all the great art. Central to Women in Love is. because only here—it might be called a political novel—is there any continuous action. “fables”. from a society —and hence a novel—where purposes and values permeate the practical activities of life. and in various other ways as having. The idea that it is the “delicate and beautiful steel contrivance” which has made Clea an artist is surely absurd. represents the civilisation that has been diagnosed in Gerald”. (Is it an accident that just these points were commonly made of Nabokov’s Lolita?) Mountolive has been generally agreed to be the most satisfying of the four novels. . perhaps. “no distinct existence”. The society in which. Lawrence at the time of their publication. “a real human being. where emotions. R. Pritchett seems to me to indicate just this when he comments that the characters are not talking about love. Why’ is it that the accident with the harpoon (which the critics have found so ludicrous) is the one pure stroke of utter fate in the whole book? “I have crossed the border and entered into the possession of my kingdom. . Leavis quotes Middleton Murry’s review of Women in Love: “we can discern no individuality whatever in the denizens of Mr. are all at one remove from social reality. remove the sedulous catalogue of unnecessary clothing .

And whereof he cannot speak. April 10. they made several strong attacks. implicit in the whole setting and nature of the novel. and this autumn the exodus to the universities will leave a big gap in the ranks. The Club both suffers and benefits from the youth of its membership (the average age is about 19). Playing with the hurricane at their backs in the first half. is studying the Albemarle 68 . But Mr. contrasts with Justine’s continuing attempts to find meaning in action. The whole Club. Yet these difficulties are more than compensated by the general enthusiasm. the Teenager in Croydon. which is examining the Problems of the Homeless in Croydon. i. in one of which their left-winger finished a brilliant move by smashing the ball narrowly past the goal.e. the referee blew his whistle for full-time. However. Basic football skills—such as trapping and dribbling—were displayed by those players educated at grammar schools. “What a pity he doesn’t belong to N. Consequently the match was arranged to be played in Croydon on Sunday. are continually disappearing to study for examinations.‘the courage to accept acceptance’. and is trying to expose some of the very real suffering that still exists in the town. But after the Croydon goal-keeper had watched interestedly as the ball rolled past him into the goal and jumped desperately at a shot that was well over his head but which dipped under the bar. it seems to bring more people into the circle of active membership. quickly scored two opportunist goals. This makes it difficult to achieve much continuity of development. The Croydon left-winger. in which topics of a wider scope could be discussed and acted upon. The most successful of these has been the Housing Group. since many of the keenest members. and it may be that this. and in their first game the Croydon YCND and New Left confounded all expectations by beating the London New Left by five goals to four. and individual members at the moment run three study groups. or New Left” was someone’s irrelevant remark. and although this has meant some lack of efficiency. Croydon realised the advantage the wind had brought them in the first half. whereas the public school clique scorned such proletarian refinements and employed for greater directness in their offensive and defensive methods. it was generally agreed that the match had been enjoyable and worthwhile. and it is hoped that such contacts will be renewed in similar sporting activities in the future.D. fighting hard uphill into the wind. It has visited the Council Receiving Homes. Durrell chose to attempt ‘an investigation of modern love’: his truth is truth. London quickly retaliated by scoring two more goals with gentle shots which the Croydon goal-keeper contemptuously ignored. Croydon quickly turned the natural elements to their advantage. The Croydon team was composed of players of apparently antithetical styles. and readiness to take part in activities such as public demonstration and canvassing. will lead us to accuse him of a certain kind of abdication. at least one of which left the London goal-keeper feeling a wronged man. and the players were halfway off the pitch when the Croydon left-back was prompted by an over-developed social conscience to announce that the referee was five minutes early. thereof the critic should perhaps not always be ashamed to be silent. the large Croydon left-half ran through most of the London defence and served with a shot that went nowhere near the goalkeepet. each group consisting of about 12. It evolved from the spontaneous demands of those people within the Croydon YCND and the Croydon Young Socialists. It is refreshing that members of the New Left and Nuclear Disarmament Campaign should meet on such an unexpected plane. Croydon set about consolidating their lead to five goals to nil. be it of never so transient a social order. an active membership of about 50. who was then adjudged offside by the referee. Durrell makes it impossible for us to believe that she will ever succeed. However. meets twice monthly for speakers (recently: Local Co-op official. After many alarms and diversions. Bruce Reid THE CROYDON The Croydon Club New Left Club has now been in existence for about four months. there was much unexpected enthusiasm from a hitherto ostentatiously sport-despising faction of political dissenters. Gordon Redfern. Clancy Sigal). left clubs Peter Gillman Recreative Arts WHEN IT was realised by Croydon NLR Club that the London New Left Club’s challenge to a game of soccer was to be taken seriously. After the desperately-awaited half-time. who wished for some independent socialist body. and discussion. the combined presence of 21 players in the Croydon penalty area failed to produce another goal. and in another the centre-forward drove the ball confidently against the post. The London team appeared to display far greater cohesion and unity—possibly because they all wore shirts of the same colour. Ultimately this may be just. The Club runs by co-operation rather than administration. in spite of being the unfittest man on the field. Between bouts of coughing and wheezing in the changing rooms. and Croydon trooped off the pitch the winners by five goals to four. both students and apprentices. In the last quarter of an hour London attacked strongly. After a few London attacks had been rendered abortive. The Croydon goalkeeper momentarily made himself the local hero by brilliantly diving for the ball at the feet of the London left-winger. The second group.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful