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Title: A universe perpetually shifting : transition and liminality in Lawrence Durrell's Opus
Author: Clawson, James M.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
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In his 1952 text Key to Modern Poetry, Lawrence Durrell describes “the whole universe of ideas” as “a universe perpetually shifting, changing its relations and tenses as verbs do in speech, altering its outlines”. The construction of such a sense of flux, with constant change superseding stability, is also one I recognise in Durrell’s major novels, what he has called his “opus”: The Black Book, The Alexandria Quartet, The Revolt of Aphrodite, and The Avignon Quintet. This thesis considers changeability in Durrell’s major novels to offer a series of readings tied together by the philosophy of William James as well as the writings on liminality by Victor Turner and Arnold van Gennep. Turner’s sense of liminality is one that is fruitful: the liminal stage of the rite of passage not only problematises structural categorisations, but it also offers interface among them. Far from a unidirectional construction, the liminal stage presents an upheaval and indeterminacy that can work to strengthen or weaken a sense of movement along a linear construction. I approach Durrell’s opus from a number of these linear constructions – each warranting its own theoretical model – looking first at the relationship of the subject and object, secondly at that of fiction and reality, thirdly at geographical locales, fourthly at considerations of time, and finally at the placement of the opus along the construction of modernist and postmodernist trends. Ultimately, this sense of the liminal is one that in Durrell’s writing offers an extended range of theoretical consideration, opening the idea of transition between any two states as one that can outwardly influence those states.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available