DURRELL, Lawrence. The Alexandria Quartet [Justine; Balthazar; Mountolive; Clea]. London: Faber and Faber, 1957-60.
8vo. 4 vols.; original publisher's cloth, contrasting painted label gilt to spine; in the unclipped decorative dust-jackets (15/16s. Net); the jacket of 'Justine' a little faded to spine, with some rubbing to paper of front paste-down; jacket creased to foot with some very subtle internal repair; 'Balthazar' jacket a little spotted and browned, in places, with endleaves lightly offset; 'Mountolive' with bookseller sticker to front paste-down, jacket chipped to head of spine with some internal tape repair; a couple of miniscule pin holes along spine fold; still a superior set, with the jackets retaining much of their colour.
First editions, first impressions, of all four volumes. 'Justine' found here in the earliest design, without the handprint to the spine.
Durrell's acclaimed tetralogy presents four perspectives on a single set of events and characters in Alexandria, Egypt, before and during World War II. It was considered experimental for its day, perhaps a response to the work of the author's friend Henry Miller. As Durrell himself put it, the events which occur can be viewed 'stereoscopically'; a device, he claimed, which amounted to a new concept of reality, reflecting the ideas of Freud and Einstein and a convergence of western and eastern metaphysics.
In 1998, the Modern Library ranked The Alexandria Quartet number 70 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.