Lawrence Durrell

(1912 - 1990 / Nepal)

Lawrence Durrell
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Durrell was born, in Nepal, at the foot of the Himalayas.
He went to school in England at the age of twelve and, after attending preparatory schools and subsequently failing the entrance exam for Cambridge on multiple occasions, played in jazz clubs in London for a time. It was during this period that he met Nancy Myers, who was to be his first wife. He and she attempted several ventures in England before moving at the same time as Durrell's family to Corfu (as recounted rather amusingly, if somewhat inaccurately, in Gerald Durrell's autobiographical My Family and other Animals, Birds, Beasts and Relatives, and Fauna and Family, and in more Lawrentian style in Prospero's Cell). ... more »

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  • ''Journeys, like artists, are born and not made. A thousand differing circumstances contribute to them, few of them willed or determined by the will—whatever we may think.''
    Lawrence Durrell (1914-1991), British author. Bitter Lemons, "Towards an Eastern Landfall," (1957). Opening words.
  • ''Music was invented to confirm human loneliness.''
    Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990), British author. Clea, in Clea, ch. 1, sct. 4 (1960).
  • ''There are only three things to be done with a woman. You can love her, suffer for her, or turn her into literature.''
    Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990), British author. Clea, in Justine, pt. 1 (1957).
  • ''The appalling thing is the degree of charity women are capable of. You see it all the time ... love lavished on absolute fools. Love's a charity ward, you know.''
    Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990), British author. interview in Observer (London, Nov. 11, 1990).
  • ''It's unthinkable not to love—you'd have a severe nervous breakdown. Or you'd have to be Philip Larkin.''
    Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990), British author. Interview in Observer (London, November 11, 1990).
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Best Poem of Lawrence Durrell


Soft toys that make to seem girls
In cool whitewash with two coral
Valves of lip printing each others' grease ...
A clockwork Cupid's bow. Increase!
Their cherry-ripe hullo brims the open purse
Of eyes washed white by the marmoreal light;
So swaying as if on pyres they go
About the buried business of the night,
Cold witches of the elementary tease
Balanced on the horn of a supposed desire...
Trees shed their leaves like some of these.

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