This is not a political book, but simply a somewhat impressionistic study of the moods and atmospheres of Cyprus during the troubled years or to be more precise during the armed struggled against the British. Buffavento, Saint Hilarion, Kantara, all these castles were built one after the other along the narrow Pentadaktylos mountains, but sadly when you search for them on Google you see them as castles in Northern Cyprus. Without this armed struggled against the British, Cyprus would have gained her independence probably years later during the rise of decolonisation in Africa. But we were impatient and as a Greek proverb says Whoever rushes stumbles and we did. But I was shocked by the unnecessary hate this man had for us. One of the first schools in Cyprus open in under Ottoman rule in the capital, Nicosia, the Pancyprian Gymnasium.
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He had three younger siblings— two brothers and a sister. 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. 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 , when he was His mother decided to bring the family to England, and in , 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. It was the first of his four marriages. 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". For the first few months, the couple lived with the rest of the Durrell family in the Villa Anemoyanni at Kontokali. 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 Spiro Hakiaopulos and Theodore Stephanides. 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. Jack Kahane of the Obelisk Press served as publisher. The mildly pornographic work was not published in Great Britain until 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.
In , he and Nancy had a daughter, Penelope Berengaria. The marriage was already under strain, and they separated in 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. She inspired his character Justine in The Alexandria Quartet. In , after his divorce from Nancy was completed, Durrell married Eve Cohen. In they had a daughter whom they named Sappho Jane, after the legendary ancient Greek poet Sappho. After many years of struggling with mental health problems, Sappho Durrell committed suicide by hanging in Mainland Greece was at that time locked in civil war.
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. He served there for eighteen months, giving lectures on cultural topics. Durrell was posted by the British Council to Belgrade , Yugoslavia ,  and served there until This sojourn gave him material for his novel White Eagles over Serbia In , 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. In , he was selected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Durrell left Cyprus in August Political agitation on the island and his British government position resulted in his becoming a target for assassination attempts.
Justine , Balthazar , Mountolive , and Clea , 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.
He married again in , 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 He married for the fourth and last time in , to Ghislaine de Boysson, a French woman.
They divorced in The house was situated in extensive grounds surrounded by a wall. He also completed The Avignon Quintet , published from to , 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.
Later years, literary influences, attitudes and reputation[ edit ] A longtime smoker, Durrell suffered from emphysema for many years. Durrell said that he had three literary uncles: his publisher T. He had 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". 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. He claimed to have disliked both Egypt and Argentina,  although not nearly so much as he disliked Yugoslavia.
And one of the most enjoyable. 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. He preferred to be considered as cosmopolitan. Since his death, there have been rumours 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 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.
He had not been told that he needed to "register as a British citizen in under the Commonwealth Immigrants Act Diplomats were outraged and embarrassed at these events.
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
Background[ edit ] Durrell moved to Cyprus in , following several years spent working for the British Council in Argentina and the Foreign Office in Yugoslavia. He had hoped that he would be able to purchase a house in an affordable location and write. Although Durrell must have experienced personal difficulties—his wife, Eve, was undergoing treatment for mental illness and had left him in charge of his young daughter, Sappho born  — the book does not mention these people or incidents, aside from a few oblique references to his daughter. In , he abandoned his home on the island and left Cyprus very rapidly for a very brief residence in the UK, quickly relocating to France for the remaining three decades of his life. Durrell later returned to discussions of Cyprus in , in an article in the Daily Mail,  but he otherwise said little about Cyprus after his departure. Durrell settled in the village of Bellapais purposely spelt "Bellapaix" by Durrell to evoke the old name Paix , which is now part of the Turkish-controlled north.
Bitter Lemons of Cyprus