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Alexandrian CosmopolitanismAn Archive$
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Hala Halim

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251766

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251766.001.0001

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Uncanny Hybridity into Neocolonialism

Uncanny Hybridity into Neocolonialism

(p.179) Chapter Three Uncanny Hybridity into Neocolonialism
Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism

Lawrence Durrell

Fordham University Press

Taking stock of the apparent signifiers of cosmopolitanism in Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet, the chapter elicits the way the text projects them as a menace to a (would-be) sovereign, and decidedly male, imperial subject. The argument is made that an element of the “uncanny” is at stake in the slippages between a Hellenized Alexandria and an Orientalized one, as well as between Alexandria as a modern city and one that includes a perceived African primitiveness. The chapter posits that the uncanny quality is in part a modernist experiment with Sigmund Freud's work and, more pertinently, a function of the twilight-of-empire setting and early decolonization time of writing of the Quartet. The threatening Levantine hybridity of Alexandria is ultimately made amenable to what the chapter argues is neocolonialism in the form of a pro-Zionist conspiracy that involves Copts and Jews. Thus, the Quartet, rather than being interpreted as a postcolonial text, should be read, against the grain, as a cautionary tale.

Keywords:   Modernism, Neocolonialism, Uncanny, Zionism, Hybridity, Levantine

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