Lawrence Durrell

Franklin Library Lawrence Durrell books

Justine - signed limited edition - 1980


Lawrence Durrell biography

Lawrence George Durrell was born on February 27, 1912, in Jalandhar, British India, to British parents. He was the eldest of four siblings, including his more famous brother, Gerald Durrell, who became a renowned naturalist and author. Lawrence's early years were spent in India, but the family returned to England when he was about eleven. Durrell displayed a keen interest in literature from a young age. He attended St. Edmund's School, Canterbury, and later studied at the Royal College of Science in London. However, his passion for writing led him to leave formal education before completing his degree. In the 1930s, Durrell began his literary career and developed his distinctive style, often drawing on his experiences in various exotic locations. His early works, including Pied Piper of Lovers (1935) and Panic Spring (1937), gained some recognition, but it was with the publication of The Black Book (1938) that he started to receive more attention.

World War II interrupted Durrell's writing career. He served in various diplomatic roles in the British Foreign Office, which took him to places such as Egypt, Argentina, and Cyprus. These experiences greatly influenced his later works. His time in Alexandria, Egypt, inspired the famous Alexandria Quartet, consisting of the novels Justine (1957), Balthazar (1958), Mountolive (1958), and Clea (1960). The quartet is considered one of his major achievements, known for its complex narrative structure and exploration of perspectives. Durrell continued to travel extensively, living in places like Greece, France, and the Caribbean. His love for the Mediterranean region and its cultures is evident in works like The Dark Labyrinth (1947) and Reflections on a Marine Venus (1953).

Apart from his fiction, Durrell was also an accomplished poet, essayist, and travel writer. His literary contributions earned him recognition and awards, including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Lawrence Durrell spent the latter part of his life on the island of Rhodes, Greece, where he died on November 7, 1990. His legacy endures through his extensive body of work, which reflects a deep appreciation for the complexities of human relationships and the vibrant tapestry of life in different corners of the world.


Justine - Alexandria Quartet book 1

The time is the eve of the World War II. The place is Alexandria, an Egyptian city that once housed the world's greatest library and whose inhabitants are dedicated to knowledge. But for the obsessed characters in this mesmerizing novel, their pursuits lead only to bedrooms in which each seeks to know and possess the other. Since its publication in 1957, Justine has inspired an almost religious devotion among readers and critics alike.


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