Prospero's Cell

      Lawrence Durrell
Prospero's Cell

A guide to the landscape and manners of the island of Corfu.

'One of Lawrence Durrell's best books - indeed, in its gem-like miniature quality, among the best books ever written.' Freya Stark

'This charming idyll depicts the country life and cosmopolitan society of Corfu in the years immediately before the war . . . The matter of it is as sound as the story is delightful.' Sunday Times

'Corfu, that Ionian island whose idyllic yet blood-stained history goes back the best part of a thousand years, could not have found a fitter chronicler than Mr Durrell. For he is a poet, with all a poet's sensibility, and a humanist to boot, with a keen eye for character and a scholar's reverence for antiquity.' Daily Telegraph

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    Judith

      Lawrence Durrell
Judith

A breathtaking novel of passion and politics, set in the hotbed of Palestine in the 1940s, by a master of twentieth-century fiction

It is the eve of Britain’s withdrawal from Palestine in 1948, a moment that will mark the beginning of a new Israel. But the course of history is uncertain, and Israel’s territorial enemies plan to smother the new country at its birth. Judith Roth has escaped the concentration camps in Germany only to be plunged into the new conflict, one with stakes just as high for her as they are for her people.

Initially conceived as a screenplay for the 1966 film starring Sophia Loren, Lawrence Durrell’s previously unpublished novel offers a thrilling portrayal of a place and time when ancient history crashed against the fragile bulwarks of the modernizing world.

This ebook features an introduction by editor Richard Pine, which puts Judith in context with Durrell’s body of work and traces the fascinating development of the novel. Also included is an illustrated biography of Lawrence Durrell containing rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author’s estate and the British Library’s modern manuscripts collection.

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    The Greek Islands

      Lawrence Durrell
The Greek Islands

As every reader of Durrell knows, his writing is steeped in the living experience of the Mediterranean, and especially the islands of Greece. This captivating and highly unusual text, originally conceived as a picture book and now reset in paperback format, weaves together evocative descriptions, history and myth with Durrell's personal reminiscences. No traveller to Greece or admirer of the genius of Durrell should miss it.

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    The Avignon Quintet

      Lawrence Durrell
The Avignon Quintet

Rich in invention, psychological truth and sheer entertainment, the five short novels that comprise The Avignon Quintet form one of the key works of an undisputed modern master.

'Another constellation of Mediterranean mysteries and memories. This time it is not Alexandria, but Avignon: the old kingdom of the Popes, the capital of the ancient South of France, the heart of legendary Provence . . . The evocation of all of this is superb . . . Our old guide bleu in vintage form.' The Times

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    From the Elephant's Back: Collected Essays & Travel Writings

      Lawrence Durrell
From the Elephant's Back: Collected Essays & Travel Writings

"This collection has a straightforward ambition: to redirect the interpretive perspective that readers bring to Lawrence Durrell's literary works by returning their attention to his short prose." - From the Introduction

Best known for his novels and travel writing, Lawrence Durrell defied easy classification within twentieth-century modernism. His anti-authoritarian tendencies put him at odds with many contemporaries-aesthetically and politically. However, thanks to a compelling recontextualization by editor James Gifford, these 38 previously unpublished or out-of-print essays and letters reveal that Durrell's maturation as an artist was rich, complex, and subtle. This edition promises to open up new approaches to interpreting his more famous works. Durrell fans will treasure this selection of rare nonfiction, while scholars of Durrell, Modernist literature, anti-authoritarian artists, and the Personalist movement will also appreciate Gifford's fine editorial work.

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    Stiff Upper Lip

      Lawrence Durrell
Stiff Upper Lip

In this boisterous story collection, mischief abounds in the quiet corners of the British Empire on which the sun never sets

As the overseer of the kitchen at the British embassy in Vulgaria, De Mandeville has begun to abuse his power. He subjects the King's guests to a blistering Madras curry, a French onion soup served without spoons, and a table so loaded with vegetation that the party can hardly see the food. But worst of all, he has begun to cook with garlic, that fragrant bulb so beloved by diplomats that it must be banned, lest foul breath cripple the Empire. De Mandeville is due for comeuppance, and no breath mint can save him now.

"If Garlic Be the Food of Love" is only the first story in this invaluable peek at life in British diplomatic circles. After the ninth, the reader will wonder not how the British Empire came apart, but how De Mandeville, Polk-Mowbray, and the King's other dips ever got it started in the first place.

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    The Alexandria Quartet

      Lawrence Durrell
The Alexandria Quartet

Lawrence Durrell's series of four novels set in Alexandria, Egypt during the 1940s. The lush and sensuous series consists of Justine(1957) Balthazar(1958) Mountolive(1958) Clea(1960).
Justine, Balthazar and Mountolive use varied viewpoints to relate a series of events in Alexandria before World War II. In Clea, the story continues into the years during the war.

One L.G. Darley is the primary observer of the events, which include events in the lives of those he loves and those he knows. In Justine, Darley attempts to recover from and put into perspective his recently ended affair with a woman. Balthazar reinterprets the romantic perspective he placed on the affair and its aftermath in Justine, in more philosophical and intellectual terms.

Mountolive tells a story minus interpretation, and Clea reveals Darley's healing, and coming to love another woman.

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    The Black Book

      Lawrence Durrell
The Black Book

Durrell's third work, the original angry young novel, was first published by his good friend and long-time correspondent Henry Miller as the first title in the short-lived Villa Seurat imprint of the Paris-based Obelisk Press. Unpublishable by the more staid (and censored) presses across the Channel, no work better captures the anguish and death-consciousness of a Europe about to plunge, once again, into cataclysmic war and destruction. The Black Book first saw print in 1938.

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    Sicilian Carousel

      Lawrence Durrell
Sicilian Carousel

Although Durrell spent much of his life beside the Mediterranean, he wrote relatively little about Italy; it was always somewhere that he was passing through on the way to somewhere else. Sicilian Carousel is his only piece of extended writing on the country and, naturally enough for the islomaniac Durrell, it focuses on one of Italy's islands. Sicilian Carousel came relatively late in Durrell's career, and is based around a slightly fictionalized bus tour of the island.

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    Bitter Lemons of Cyprus

      Lawrence Durrell
Bitter Lemons of Cyprus

Bitter Lemons of Cyprus is Lawrence Durrell's unique account of his time in Cyprus, during the 1950s Enosis movement for freedom of the island from British colonial rule. Winner of the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, it is a document at once personal, poetic and subtly political - a masterly combination of travelogue, memoir and treatise.

'He writes as an artist, as well as a poet; he remembers colour and landscape and the nuances of peasant conversation . . . Eschewing politics, it says more about them than all our leading articles . . . In describing a political tragedy it often has great poetic beauty.' Kingsley Martin, New Statesman

'Durrell possesses exceptional qualifications. He speaks Greek fluently; he has a wide knowledge of modern Greek history, politics and literature; he has lived in continental Greece and has spent many years in other Greek islands . . . His account of this calamity is revelatory, moving and restrained. It is written in the sensitive and muscular prose of which he is so consummate a master.' Harold Nicolson, Observer

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    A Smile in the Mind's Eye

      Lawrence Durrell
A Smile in the Mind's Eye

Durrell's remarkable memoir of his spiritual journey with famed Taoist philosopher Jolan Chang

Beginning with their first meeting over lunch at Lawrence Durrell's Provencal home, Durrell and Jolan Chang—renowned Taoist philosopher and expert on Eastern sexuality—developed an enduring relationship based on mutual spiritual exploration. Durrell's autobiographical rumination on their friendship and on Taoism recounts the author's existential ponderings, starting with his introduction to the mystical and enigmatic "smile in the mind's eye." From parsimony, cooking, and yoga to poetry, Petrarch, and Nietzche, A Smile in the Mind's Eye is a charming tale of a writer's spiritual and philosophical awakening.

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    Blue Thirst

      Lawrence Durrell
Blue Thirst

A pair of lectures from one of the twentieth century’s most mesmerizing speakers

Lawrence Durrell was in his early twenties when, tired of the stiffness of London life, he took his family to live in Corfu. Interwar Greece, whose hard beds and mosquito swarms Durrell documented so tenderly in Prospero’s Cell, was no more. In the first of this pair of lectures, given during a 1970s visit to California, Durrell recalls those days, talking of family, poetry, and the joy of the islands as no other writer can.

When war came to the Mediterranean, Durrell was swept into diplomatic service, an adventure he recounts in his second lecture. Though a diplomat of the modern world, he served under men whose experience stretched back to the days before the telephone, when solutions for crises had to be devised by the ambassador, and not phoned in from London. These two lectures on long-vanished worlds are an elegant demonstration of the evocative power of Durrell’s unmatched storytelling.

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    Collected Poems 1931-74

      Lawrence Durrell
Collected Poems 1931-74

I have arranged these poems, not according to chronology but in what I hope is the most easily readable form. Nothing has been included from the two earliest pamphlets. I date my poetic appearance from the publication of "A Private Country" in 1943.
Poems from the following volumes have been included: "Poems" edited by Oswell Blakeston (Fortune Press, 1938); "A Private Country" (Faber and Faber, 1943); "Cities, Plains and People" (Faber and Faber, 1946); "On Seeming to Presume" (Faber and Faber, 1948); "Sappho: a play in verse" (Faber and Faber, 1950); "The Tree of Idleness" (Faber and Faber, 1955); and "Private Drafts" (privately printed in Nicosia, Cyprus, 1955).

L.D.

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    The Dark Labyrinth

      Lawrence Durrell
The Dark Labyrinth

This captivating Mediterranean novel was written by Lawrence Durrell immediately after finishing his exquisite vignette about Corfu, Prospero's Cell, and a decade before Justine. The story is set on Crete just after the War, as an odd assortment of English travellers come ashore from a cruise ship to explore the island and in particular to examine a dangerous local labyrinth. They include an extrovert painter, a spiritualist, a Protestant spinster with a fox terrier, an antiquarian peer and minor poet, a soldier with guilty memories of the Cretan resistance, a pretty convalescent and an eccentric married couple.

To some extent the book is a roman à clef and Durrell's characters talk with great reality about their experiences, themselves and a certain psychological unease that has led most of them to embark on their journey. The climax is a disastrous visit to the labyrinth, with its reported minotaur. The novel is a gripping piece of story-telling, full of atmosphere and the vivid first-hand writing about Mediterranean landscape and people of which Durrell was a master.

[ Cefalu (1947; republished as The Dark Labyrinth in 1958) ]

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