Lawrence Durrell

Lawrence Durrell (dŭ´rəl, dûr´əl), 1912–90, British author, b. India, of Irish parents. Durrell traveled widely, often serving in diplomatic positions; most of his works are set in exotic locations and convey an extraordinary sense of place. His novel The Black Book (1938) is steeped in an atmosphere of moral decadence. Durrell's masterpiece is The Alexandria Quartet, consisting of Justine (1957), Balthazar (1958), Mountolive (1958), and Clea (1960). Purporting to be a study of the many ramifications of love, the quartet's excellence lies mainly in its technique—its rich, ornamental language, its experiments with point of view, and its evocation of the exotic, frequently bizarre atmosphere of the city of Alexandria, Egypt.

Durrell's later novel sequences include the literary satire of Tunc (1968) and Numquam (1970), and The Avignon Quincunx (1974–85), which brought together his study of southern France and his obsession with multiple perspective. Durrell's diplomatic service is reflected in Bitter Lemons (1957), Esprit de Corps (1958), and Stiff Upper Lip (1959), spoofs of diplomatic life, and in Reflections on a Marine Venus (1953), Prospero's Cell (1960), and Spirit of Place (1969), travel books. Among Durrell's other works are volumes of poetry including The Red Limbo Lingo (1971) and Vega and Other Poems (1973), and the novel Monsieur (1975).

See The Durrell-Miller Letters, 1935–80 (1988), ed. by I. S. MacNiven; biographies by G. Bowker (1997) and I. S. MacNiven (1998); studies by J. Unterecker (1965), G. S. Fraser (1968), and R. Pine (1988).



His brother, Gerald Durrell, 1920–95, English conservationist and author, b. Jamshedpur, India, was noted for his pioneering efforts to have zoos participate in the preservation of endangered species through captive breeding programs. He wrote 37 books, most dealing with animals. His charmingly written works include The Overloaded Ark (1953), the autobiographical My Family and Other Animals (1956), and The Aye Aye and I (1993). He also wrote novels and was involved in radio and television.

See biography by D. Botting (1999).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Lawrence Durrell: Selected full-text books and articles

The World of Lawrence Durrell By Harry T. Moore E. P. Dutton, 1964
Lawrence Durrell and the Greek World By Anna Lillios Susquehanna University Press, 2004
Dark Labyrinth By Lawrence Durrell Dutton, 1962
The Tree of Idleness, and Other Poems By Lawrence Durrell Faber and Faber Ltd, 1955
On Seeming to Presume: Poems By Lawrence Durrell Faber and Faber, 1948
Lawrence Durrell, and the Alexandria Quartet: Art for Love's Sake By Alan Warren Friedman University of Oklahoma Press, 1970
Continuance and Change: The Contemporary British Novel Sequence By Robert K. Morris; Harry T. Moore Southern Illinois University Press, 1972
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Lawrence Durrell the Alexandria Quartet: Art and the Changing Vision"
Alexandria in Cavafy, Durrell, and Tsirkas By Rodenbeck, John Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, Annual 2001
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Out of Bounds: Male Writers and Gender(ed) Criticism By Laura Claridge; Elizabeth Langland University of Massachusetts Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "Mappings of Male Desire in Durrell's Alexandria Quartet: Homoerotic Negotiations in the Colonial Narrative" begins on p. 316
The Foreign Woman in British Literature: Exotics, Aliens, and Outsiders By Marilyn Demarest Button; Toni Reed Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "'Our Many Larval Selves': Durrell's Livia and the Cross-Cultural Signal"
Durrell's the Revolt of Aphrodite: Nietzschean Influences By Gifford, James Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 36, No. 2, June 2003
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Lawrence Durrell, an Illustrated Checklist By Alan G. Thomas; James A. Brigham Southern Illinois University Press, 1983
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