Lawrence Durrell

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Lawrence Durrell

CBE
Lawrence Durrell visit to Israel (997009326813105171).jpg
Lawrence Durrell during his visit to Israel in 1962
BornLawrence George Durrell
(1912-02-27)27 February 1912
Jalandhar, Punjab, British India
Died7 November 1990(1990-11-07) (aged 78)
Sommières, France
Occupation
  • Biographer
  • poet
  • playwright
  • novelist
NationalityBritish
Education St Edmund's School, Canterbury
Period1931–1990
Notable works The Alexandria Quartet
Spouses
    Nancy Isobel Myers
    (m. 1935;div. 1947)
      Eve "Yvette" Cohen
      (m. 1947;div. 1955)
        Claude-Marie Vincendon
        (m. 1961;died 1967)
          Ghislaine de Boysson
          (m. 1973;div. 1979)
Parents
Relatives
Website
lawrencedurrell.org

Lawrence George Durrell CBE ( /ˈdʊərəl,ˈdʌr-/ ; [1] 27 February 1912[ citation needed ] – 7 November 1990) was an expatriate British novelist, poet, dramatist, and travel writer. He was the eldest brother of naturalist and writer Gerald Durrell.

Contents

Born in India to British colonial parents, he was sent to England at the age of eleven for his education. He did not like formal education, but started writing poetry at age 15. His first book was published in 1935, when he was 23. In March 1935 he and his mother and younger siblings moved to the island of Corfu. Durrell spent many years thereafter living around the world.

His most famous work is The Alexandria Quartet, published between 1957 and 1960. The best-known novel in the series is the first, Justine . Beginning in 1974, Durrell published The Avignon Quintet, using many of the same techniques. The first of these novels, Monsieur, or the Prince of Darkness, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1974. The middle novel, Constance, or Solitary Practices, was nominated for the 1982 Booker Prize. By the end of the century, Durrell was a bestselling author and one of the most celebrated writers in England. [2]

Durrell supported his writing by working for many years in the Foreign Service of the British government. His sojourns in various places during and after World War II (such as his time in Alexandria, Egypt) inspired much of his work. He married four times, and had a daughter with each of his first two wives.

Early years in India and schooling in England

Durrell was born in Jalandhar, British India, the eldest son of Indian-born British colonials Louisa (who was Anglo-Irish) and Lawrence Samuel Durrell, an engineer of English ancestry. [2] His first school was St. Joseph's School, North Point, Darjeeling. He had three younger siblings— two brothers and a sister - naturalist Gerald Durrell, Leslie Durrell and author Margaret Durrell.

Like many other children of the British Raj, at the age of eleven, Durrell was sent to England for schooling, where he briefly attended St. Olave's Grammar School before being sent to St. Edmund's School, Canterbury. His formal education was unsuccessful, and he failed his university entrance examinations. He began to write poetry seriously at the age of fifteen. His first collection, Quaint Fragments, was published in 1931, when he was 19.

Durrell's father died of a brain haemorrhage in 1928, at the age of 43. His mother brought the family to England, and in 1932, she, Durrell, and his younger siblings settled in Bournemouth. There, he and his younger brother Gerald became friends with Alan G. Thomas, who had a bookstore and would become an antiquarian. [3]

Adult life and prose writings

First marriage and Durrell's move to Corfu

On 22 January 1935, Durrell married Nancy Isobel Myers (1912–1983). It was the first of his four marriages. [4] Durrell was always unhappy in England, and in March of that year he persuaded his new wife, and his mother and younger siblings, to move to the Greek island of Corfu. There they could live more economically and escape both the English weather, and what Durrell considered the stultifying English culture, which he described as "the English death". [5]

That same year Durrell's first novel, Pied Piper of Lovers, was published by Cassell. Around this time he chanced upon a copy of Henry Miller's 1934 novel Tropic of Cancer. [6] After reading it, he wrote to Miller, expressing intense admiration for his novel. Durrell's letter sparked an enduring friendship [6] and mutually critical relationship that spanned 45 years. Durrell's next novel, Panic Spring, was strongly influenced by Miller's work, [7] while his 1938 novel The Black Book abounded with "four-letter words... grotesques,... [and] its mood equally as apocalyptic" as Tropic. [7]

In Corfu, Lawrence and Nancy lived together in bohemian style. For the first few months, the couple lived with the rest of the Durrell family in the Villa Anemoyanni at Kontokali. In early 1936, Durrell and Nancy moved to the White House, a fisherman's cottage on the shore of Corfu's northeastern coast at Kalami, then a tiny fishing village. Durrell's friend Theodore Stephanides, a Greek doctor, scientist, and poet, was a frequent guest, and Miller stayed at the White House in 1939.

Durrell fictionalised this period of his sojourn on Corfu in the lyrical novel Prospero's Cell. His younger brother Gerald Durrell, who became a naturalist, published his own version in his memoir My Family and Other Animals (1954) and in the following two books of Gerald's so-called Corfu Trilogy, published in 1969 and 1978. Gerald describes Lawrence as living permanently with his mother and siblings—his wife Nancy is not mentioned at all. Lawrence, in his turn, refers only briefly to his brother Leslie, and he does not mention that his mother and two other siblings were also living on Corfu in those years. The accounts cover a few of the same topics; for example, both Gerald and Lawrence describe the roles played in their lives by the Corfiot taxi driver Spyros Halikiopoulos and Theodore Stephanides. In Corfu, Lawrence became friends with Marie Aspioti, with whom he cooperated in the publication of Lear's Corfu. [8] :260

Pre WW2: In Paris with Miller and Nin

In August 1937, Lawrence and Nancy travelled to the Villa Seurat in Paris to meet Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin. Together with Alfred Perles, Nin, Miller, and Durrell "began a collaboration aimed at founding their own literary movement. Their projects included The Shame of the Morning and the Booster, a country club house organ that the Villa Seurat group appropriated "for their own artistic . . . ends." [9] They also started the Villa Seurat Series in order to publish Durrell's Black Book, Miller's Max and the White Phagocytes, and Nin's Winter of Artifice. Jack Kahane of the Obelisk Press served as publisher.

Durrell said that he had three literary uncles: T. S. Eliot, the Greek poet George Seferis, and Miller. He first read Miller after finding a copy of Tropic of Cancer that had been left behind in a public lavatory. He said the book shook him "from stem to stern". [6]

Durrell's first novel of note, The Black Book: An Agon, was strongly influenced by Miller; it was published in Paris in 1938. The mildly pornographic work was not published in Great Britain until 1973. In the story, the main character Lawrence Lucifer struggles to escape the spiritual sterility of dying England and finds Greece to be a warm and fertile environment.

World War Two

Breakdown of marriage

At the outbreak of World War Two in 1939, Durrell's mother and siblings returned to England, while Nancy and he remained on Corfu. In 1940, they had a daughter, Penelope Berengaria. After the fall of Greece, Lawrence and Nancy escaped via Crete to Alexandria, Egypt. The marriage was already under strain and they separated in 1942. Nancy took the baby Penelope with her to Jerusalem.

During his years on Corfu, Durrell had made notes for a book about the island. He did not write it fully until he was in Egypt towards the end of the war. In the book Prospero's Cell, Durrell described Corfu as "this brilliant little speck of an island in the Ionian,"[ page needed ] with waters "like the heartbeat of the world itself". [10]

Press attaché in Egypt and Rhodes; second marriage

During World War Two, Durrell served as a press attaché to the British embassies, first in Cairo and then Alexandria. While in Alexandria he met Eve (Yvette) Cohen (1918–2004), a Jewish Alexandrian. She inspired his character Justine in The Alexandria Quartet. In 1947, after his divorce from Nancy was completed, Durrell married Eve Cohen, with whom he had been living since 1942. [11] The couple's daughter, Sappho Jane, was born in Oxfordshire in 1951, [12] and named after the ancient Greek poet Sappho. [13]

In May 1945, Durrell obtained a posting to Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese islands which Italy had taken over from the disintegrating Ottoman Empire in 1912 during the Balkan Wars. With the Italian surrender to the Allies in 1943, German forces took over most of the islands and held onto them as besieged fortresses until the war's end. Mainland Greece was at that time locked in civil war. A temporary British military government was established in the Dodecanese at war's end, pending sovereignty being transferred to Greece in 1947, as part of war reparations from Italy. Durrell set up house with Eve in the little gatekeeper's lodge of an old Turkish cemetery, just across the road from the building used by the British Administration. (Today this is the Casino in Rhodes' new town.) His co-habitation with Eve Cohen could be discreetly ignored by his employer, while the couple gained from staying within the perimeter security zone of the main building. His book Reflections on a Marine Venus was inspired by this period and was a lyrical celebration of the island. It avoids more than a passing mention of the troubled war times.

Lawrence Durrell's home in Rhodes from 20 May 1945 until 10 April 1947 LDurrellHouseRhodes.JPG
Lawrence Durrell's home in Rhodes from 20 May 1945 until 10 April 1947

British Council work in Córdoba and Belgrade; teaching in Cyprus

In 1947, Durrell was appointed director of the British Council Institute in Córdoba, Argentina. He served there for eighteen months, giving lectures on cultural topics. [14] He returned to London with Eve in the summer of 1948, around the time that Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia broke ties with Stalin's Cominform. Durrell was posted by the British Council to Belgrade, Yugoslavia, [15] and served there until 1952. This sojourn gave him material for his novel White Eagles over Serbia (1957).

In 1952, Eve had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalised in England. Durrell moved to Cyprus with their daughter Sappho Jane, buying a house and taking a position teaching English literature at the Pancyprian Gymnasium to support his writing. He next worked in public relations for the British government during the local agitation for union with Greece. He wrote about his time in Cyprus in Bitter Lemons , which won the Duff Cooper Prize in 1957. In 1954, he was selected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Durrell left Cyprus in August 1956. Political agitation on the island and his British government position resulted in his becoming a target for assassination attempts. [8] :27

Justine and The Alexandria Quartet

In 1957, Durrell published Justine, the first novel of what was to become his most famous work, The Alexandria Quartet. Justine, Balthazar (1958), Mountolive (1958), and Clea (1960), deal with events before and during the Second World War in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. The first three books tell essentially the same story and series of events, but from the varying perspectives of different characters. Durrell described this technique in his introductory note in Balthazar as "relativistic." Only in the final novel, Clea, does the story advance in time and reach a conclusion. Critics praised the Quartet for its richness of style, the variety and vividness of its characters, its movement between the personal and the political, and its locations in and around the ancient Egyptian city which Durrell portrays as the chief protagonist: "The city which used us as its flora—precipitated in us conflicts which were hers and which we mistook for our own: beloved Alexandria!" The Times Literary Supplement review of the Quartet stated: "If ever a work bore an instantly recognizable signature on every sentence, this is it."

In 2012, when the Nobel Records were opened after 50 years, it was revealed that Durrell had been nominated for the 1961 Nobel Prize in Literature, but did not make the final list. [16] In 1962, however, he did receive serious consideration, along with Robert Graves, Jean Anouilh, and Karen Blixen, but ultimately lost to John Steinbeck. [17] The Academy decided that "Durrell was not to be given preference this year"—probably because "they did not think that The Alexandria Quartet was enough, so they decided to keep him under observation for the future." However, he was never nominated again. [17] They also noted that he "gives a dubious aftertaste … because of [his] monomaniacal preoccupation with erotic complications." [17]

Two further marriages and settling in Languedoc

In 1955 Durrell separated from Eve Cohen. He married again in 1961, to Claude-Marie Vincendon, whom he met on Cyprus. She was a Jewish woman born in Alexandria. Durrell was devastated when Claude-Marie died of cancer in 1967. He married for the fourth and last time in 1973, to Ghislaine de Boysson, a French woman. They divorced in 1979.

Durrell settled in Sommières, a small village in Languedoc, France, where he purchased a large house on the edge of the village. The house was situated in extensive grounds surrounded by a wall. Here he wrote The Revolt of Aphrodite, comprising Tunc (1968) and Nunquam (1970). He also completed The Avignon Quintet, published from 1974 to 1985, which used many of the same motifs and styles found in his metafictional Alexandria Quartet. Although the related works are frequently described as a quintet, Durrell referred to it as a "quincunx."

The opening novel, Monsieur, or the Prince of Darkness, received the 1974 James Tait Black Memorial Prize. That year, Durrell was living in the United States and serving as the Andrew Mellon Visiting Professor of Humanities at the California Institute of Technology. [18] The middle novel of the quincunx, Constance, or Solitary Practices (1981), which portrays France in the 1940s under the German occupation, was nominated for the Booker Prize in 1982.

Other works from this period are Sicilian Carousel, a non-fiction celebration of that island, The Greek Islands, and Caesar's Vast Ghost, which is set in and chiefly about the region of Provence, France.

Later years, literary influences, attitudes and reputation

A longtime smoker, Durrell suffered from emphysema for many years. He died of a stroke at his house in Sommières in November 1990, and was buried in the churchyard of the Chapelle St-Julien de Montredon in Sommières.

He was predeceased by his younger daughter, Sappho Jane, who took her own life in 1985 at age 33. After Durrell's death, it emerged that Sappho's diaries included allusions to an alleged incestuous relationship with her father. [13] [19] [20] [21]

Durrell's government service and his attitudes

Durrell worked for several years in the service of the Foreign Office. He was senior press officer to the British embassies in Athens and Cairo, press attaché in Alexandria and Belgrade, and director of the British Institutes in Kalamata, Greece, and Córdoba, Argentina. He was also director of Public Relations in the Dodecanese Islands and on Cyprus. He later refused an honour as a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, because he felt his "conservative, reactionary and right-wing" political views might be a cause for embarrassment. [8] :185 Durrell's works of humour, Esprit de Corps and Stiff Upper Lip, are about life in the diplomatic corps, particularly in Serbia. He claimed to have disliked both Egypt and Argentina, [22] although not nearly so much as he disliked Yugoslavia.

Durrell's poetry

Durrell's poetry has been overshadowed by his novels, but Peter Porter, in his introduction to a Selected Poems, calls Durrell "One of the best [poets] of the past hundred years. And one of the most enjoyable." [23] Porter describes Durrell's poetry: "Always beautiful as sound and syntax. Its innovation lies in its refusal to be more high-minded than the things it records, together with its handling of the whole lexicon of language." [24]

British citizenship

For much of his life, Durrell resisted being identified solely as British, or as only affiliated with Britain. He preferred to be considered cosmopolitan. Since his death, there have been claims that Durrell never had British citizenship, but he was originally classified as a British citizen as he was born to British colonial parents living in India under the British Raj.

In 1966 Durrell and many other former and present British residents became classified as non-patrial, as a result of an amendment to the Commonwealth Immigrants Act. [2] The law was covertly intended to reduce migration from India, Pakistan, and the West Indies, but Durrell was also penalized by it and refused citizenship. He had not been told that he needed to "register as a British citizen in 1962 under the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962." [2]

As The Guardian reported in 2002, Durrell in 1966 was "one of the best selling, most celebrated English novelists of the late 20th century" and "at the height of his fame." [2] Denied the normal citizenship right to enter or settle in Britain, Durrell had to apply for a visa for each entry. Diplomats were outraged and embarrassed at these events. "Sir Patrick Reilly, the ambassador in Paris, was so incensed that he wrote to his Foreign Office superiors: 'I venture to suggest it might be wise to ensure that ministers, both in the Foreign Office and the Home Office, are aware that one of our greatest living writers in the English language is being debarred from the citizenship of the United Kingdom to which he is entitled.'" [2]

Legacy

After Durrell's death, his lifelong friend Alan G. Thomas donated a collection of books and periodicals associated with Durrell to the British Library. This is maintained as the distinct Lawrence Durrell Collection. Thomas had earlier edited an anthology of writings, letters and poetry by Durrell, published as Spirit of Place (1969). It contained material related to Durrell's own published works. An important documentary resource is kept by the Bibliothèque Lawrence Durrell at the Université Paris Ouest in Nanterre.[ citation needed ]

Bibliography

Novels

Travel

Poetry

Drama

Humour

Letters and essays

Editing and translating

Notes

  1. "Durrell". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary .
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Ezard, John (29 April 2002). "Durrell Fell Foul of Migrant Law". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  3. Botting, Douglas (1999). Gerald Durrell: The Authorised Biography. HarperCollins. ISBN   0-00-255660-X.
  4. MacNiven, Ian S. (1998). Lawrence Durrell: A Biography. Faber and Faber. ISBN   0-571-17248-2. p. xiii.
  5. Anna Lillios, "Lawrence Durrell," in Magill's Survey of World Literature, volume 7, pp. 2334–2342; Salem Press, Inc., 1995
  6. 1 2 3 Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine : Durrell, Lawrence (31 March 2014). "Lawrence Durrell speaking at UCLA 1/12/1972". YouTube. From the archives of the UCLA Communications Studies Department. Digitized 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  7. 1 2 Karl Orend, "New Bibles", Times Literary Supplement 22 August 2008 p 15
  8. 1 2 3 Lillios, Anna (2004). Lawrence Durrell and the Greek World. Susquehanna University Press. ISBN   978-1575910765 . Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  9. Dearborn, Mary V. (1992). The Happiest Man Alive: A Biography of Henry Miller. Touchstone Books. ISBN   0-671-77982-6. p. 192 and picture insert captions.
  10. Durrell, Lawrence (1978). Prospero's cell : a guide to the landscape and manners of the island of Corcyra. Penguin Books. p.  100. ISBN   0140046852.
  11. "Journals and Letters [of] Sappho Durrell". Sappho Durrell, quoted posthumously in a lengthy review of an "edited selection from the journals and letters [of Sappho Durrell] ... drawn mainly from 1979". Granta 37. 1 October 1991. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  12. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  13. 1 2 Jay Rayner (14 September 1991). "Inside Story: Daddy Dearest - The writer Lawrence Durrell cast a long, dark shadow over the short and troubled life of his daughter, Sappho". The Guardian . London. Retrieved 13 October 2020 via Google Groups.
  14. Interview with Marc Alyn, published in Paris in 1972, translated by Francine Barker in 1974; reprinted in Earl G. Ingersoll, Lawrence Durrell: Conversations, Associated University Presses, 1998. ISBN   0-8386-3723-X. p. 138.
  15. Alyn, op. cit. Ingersoll, page 139.
  16. J. D. Mersault, "The Prince Returns: In Defense of Lawrence Durrell", The American Reader, n.d.; accessed 14 October 2016
  17. 1 2 3 Alison Flood (3 January 2013). "Swedish Academy reopens controversy surrounding Steinbeck's Nobel prize". The Guardian . Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  18. Andrews, Deborah. (ed)., ed. (1991). The Annual Obituary 1990. Gale. p. 678.
  19. Cohen, Roger (14 August 1991). "A Daughter's Intimations". The New York Times . Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  20. "A man pursued by furies (a review of Bowker's biography)". The Herald . 14 December 1996. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  21. Redwine, Bruce. Tales of Incest: The Agony of Saph and Pa Durrell. www.academia.edu.
  22. José Ruiz Mas (2003). Lawrence Durrell in Cyprus: A Philhellene against Enosis. Epos. p. 230. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012.
  23. Porter, Peter, ed. (2006). Lawrence Durrell: Selected Poems. Faber and Faber.
  24. Porter 2006 , p. xxi

Further reading

Biography and interviews

Critical Studies

Critical articles

Articles

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gerald Durrell</span> British naturalist, writer and television presenter (1925–1995)

Gerald Malcolm Durrell, was a British naturalist, writer, zookeeper, conservationist, and television presenter. He founded the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Jersey Zoo on the Channel Island of Jersey in 1959. He wrote approximately forty books, mainly about his life as an animal collector and enthusiast, the most famous being My Family and Other Animals (1956). Those memoirs of his family's years living in Greece were adapted into two television series and one television film. He was the youngest brother of novelist Lawrence Durrell.

<i>My Family and Other Animals</i>

My Family and Other Animals (1956) is an autobiographical book by British naturalist Gerald Durrell. It tells in an exaggerated and sometimes fictionalised way of the years that he lived as a child with his siblings and widowed mother on the Greek island of Corfu between 1935 and 1939. It describes the life of the Durrell family in a humorous manner, and explores the fauna of the island. It is the first and most well-known of Durrell's Corfu trilogy, which also includes Birds, Beasts, and Relatives (1969) and The Garden of the Gods (1978).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Constantine P. Cavafy</span> Greek poet, also known as Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis (1863–1933)

Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis, known, especially in English, as Constantine P. Cavafy and often published as C. P. Cavafy, was a Greek poet, journalist, and civil servant from Alexandria. His work, as one translator put it, "holds the historical and the erotic in a single embrace."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Margaret Durrell</span>

Margaret Isabel Mabel "Margo" Durrell was the younger sister of novelist Lawrence Durrell and elder sister of naturalist, author, and TV presenter Gerald Durrell, who lampoons her character in his Corfu trilogy of novels: My Family and Other Animals, Birds, Beasts and Relatives, and The Garden of the Gods.

Louisa Florence Durrell, was an Anglo-Irish woman born in India during the British Raj. She was the mother of Lawrence and Gerald Durrell. She was featured in Gerald Durrell's autobiographical Corfu trilogy, which tells about the Durrells' years in Corfu from 1935 to 1939 in a somewhat fictionalized way.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Theodore Stephanides</span> Greek-British doctor and biologist

Theodore Philip Stephanides was a Greek-British doctor and polymath, best remembered as the friend and mentor of Gerald Durrell. He was also known as a naturalist, biologist, astronomer, poet, writer and translator.

<i>Justine</i> (Durrell novel)

Justine, published in 1957, is the first volume in Lawrence Durrell's literary tetralogy, The Alexandria Quartet. The tetralogy consists of four interlocking novels, each of which recounts various aspects of a complex story of passion and deception from differing points of view. The quartet is set in the Egyptian city of Alexandria in the 1930s and 1940s. The city itself is described by Durrell as becoming as much of a complex character as the human protagonists of the novels. Since first becoming available to the public and reviewers in 1957, Justine has inspired what has been called "an almost religious devotion among readers and critics alike." It was adapted into the film of the same name in 1969.

The Durrell family was an English family, two of whose members were best-selling writers. It has been the subject of several autobiographies, the TV series My Family and Other Animals (1987), the television film My Family and Other Animals (2005), the largely fictionalized TV series The Durrells (2016–2019), and the documentary What the Durrells Did Next.

<i>Bitter Lemons</i>

Bitter Lemons is an autobiographical work by writer Lawrence Durrell, describing the three years (1953–1956) he spent on the island of Cyprus. The book was awarded the Duff Cooper Prize for 1957, the second year the prize was awarded.

<i>Monsieur</i> (novel)

Monsieur, or The Prince of Darkness (1974), is the first volume in Lawrence Durrell's The Avignon Quintet. Published from 1974 to 1985, this sequence of five interrelated novels explore the lives of a group of Europeans before, during, and after World War II. Durrell uses many of the experimental techniques of metafiction that he had integrated into his Alexandria Quartet, published 1957 to 1960. He described the later quintet as a quincunx.

<i>The Revolt of Aphrodite</i> Pair of novels by Lawrence Durrell

The Revolt of Aphrodite consists of two novels by British writer Lawrence Durrell, published in 1968 and 1970. The individual volumes, Tunc and Nunquam, were less successful than his earlier The Alexandria Quartet, in part because they deviate significantly from his earlier style and because they approach more openly political and ideological problems.

The Avignon Quintet is a five-volume series of novels by British writer Lawrence Durrell, published between 1974 and 1985. The novels are metafictional. He uses developments in experimental fiction that followed his The Alexandria Quartet (1957-1960). The action of the novels is set before and during World War II, largely in France, Egypt, and Switzerland.

<i>Mountolive</i>

Mountolive, published in 1958, is the third volume in The Alexandria Quartet series by British author Lawrence Durrell. Set in Alexandria, Egypt, around World War II, the four novels tell essentially the same story from different points of view and come to a conclusion in Clea.Mountolive is the only third person narrative in the series, and it is also the most overtly political.

<i>Panic Spring</i>

Panic Spring is a novel by Lawrence Durrell, published in 1937 by Faber and Faber in Britain and Covici-Friede in the United States under the pseudonym Charles Norden. It is set on a fictional Greek Island, Mavrodaphne, in the Ionian Sea somewhere between Patras, Kephalonia, and Ithaca. The island, however, resembles Corfu strongly, and in at least one inscribed copy of the novel, Durrell includes a map of Corfu identified as Mavrodaphne.

<i>Birds, Beasts, and Relatives</i>

Birds, Beasts, and Relatives (1969) by British naturalist Gerald Durrell is the second volume of his autobiographical Corfu trilogy, published from 1954 to 1978. The trilogy are memoirs about his childhood with his family between 1935 and 1939, when they lived on the Greek island of Corfu.

<i>Livia</i> (novel)

Livia, or Buried Alive (1978), is the second volume in British author Lawrence Durrell's The Avignon Quintet, published from 1974 to 1985. Durrell has described the novels as "roped together like climbers on a rockface, but all independent. .. a series of books through which the same characters move for all the world as if to illustrate the notion of reincarnation." The description of this form for the quintet actually appears in Livia. The first novel of the quincunx, Monsieur, received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1974.

<i>Constance</i> (novel)

Constance, or Solitary Practices (1982) is the central volume of the five novels of Lawrence Durrell's The Avignon Quintet, published from 1974 to 1985. It was nominated for the Booker Prize in 1982. Involving some of the characters from the preceding Livia, the novel also introduces new ones. It is set before and during World War II, in France, Egypt, Poland and Switzerland.

<i>The Colossus of Maroussi</i> 1941 novel by Henry Miller

The Colossus of Maroussi is an impressionist travelogue by American writer Henry Miller that was first published in 1941 by Colt Press of San Francisco. Set in pre-war Greece of 1939, it is ostensibly an exploration of the "Colossus" of the title, George Katsimbalis, a poet and raconteur. The work is frequently heralded as Miller's best.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marie Aspioti</span>

Maria-Aspasia (Marie) Aspioti, was a distinguished Corfiote writer, playwright, poet, magazine publisher and cultural figure who influenced the literary and cultural life of post-war Corfu. She published the magazine Prosperos between the years 1949–1954, and Lear's Corfu in 1965. She was a close friend of Lawrence Durrell and had been awarded an MBE.

Richard Leslie Beswetherick Pine is the author of critical works on the Irish playwright Brian Friel, the Anglo-Irish novelist Lawrence Durrell, and aspects of art music in Ireland. He worked for the Irish national broadcaster RTÉ Raidió Teilifís Éireann before moving to Greece in 2001 to found the Durrell School of Corfu, which he directed until 2010. From 2009 to 2020 he wrote a regular column on Greek affairs in The Irish Times and was also an obituarist for The Guardian.