Cover image for The Lawrence Durrell travel reader
The Lawrence Durrell travel reader
Durrell, Lawrence.
Personal Author:
First Carroll and Graf edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Carroll & Graf Publishers : Distributed by Publishers Group West, [2004]

Physical Description:
viii, 405 pages ; 21 cm
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR6007.U76 L38 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Many readers know Lawrence Durrell as the famed author of the lush and sensuous Alexandria Quartet. However, this wonderful book contains the best of Durrell's incomparable travel writing. It is collected here for the first time in a single volume and offers a chance to rediscover the author as one of the great travel writers of the twentieth century. Durrell's passionate, evocative writing about his travels--in particular the Greek islands--is a timeless exploration of how landscapes shape our experience. This collection also re-creates a world where a struggling author or artist could buy a cliff-side house on Corfu for a pittance and begin to invent himself as a man of letters while falling in love with an alien but endlessly entertaining culture. The Lawrence Durrell Travel Reader combines the merits of great escape reading and serious literature and will interest fans of Durrell, fans of Greek islands, and lovers of travel writing.

Author Notes

Lawrence Durrell was born on February 27, 1912 in Jullundur, India to British parents. During World War II, he served as a British press officer. His first novel, Pied Piper of Lovers, was published in 1935, but was considered a failure. Some of his other works include The Black Book, The Alexandria Quartet, The Avignon Quintet, and Caesar's Vast Ghost: A Portrait of Provence. Bitter Lemons won the Duff Cooper Prize in 1959. He died on November 7, 1990 at the age of 78.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Durrell, a twentieth-century British writer admired by discriminating readers, was the author of the Alexandria Quartet, a novel cycle named for the alluring and mysterious Egyptian city in which it was set. He also traveled avidly and consequently established a reputation as a brilliant travel writer. Evidence is made concrete in this anthology, in which excerpts from Durrell's book-length travelogues are gathered with short pieces published independently. His particular love for the islands of the Mediterranean shines from its pages, and such passion impels travel literature to its fullest purpose: to stir the reader's imagination and longing. Durrell's fundamental philosophy about travel is declared, and the tone for this entire anthology is set, by the first piece, Landscape and Character, a 1960 essay originally published in the New York Times Magazine--his sentiment codified as human beings are expressions of their landscape, but in order to touch the secret springs of a national essence you need a few moments of quiet with yourself. Quiet time with this book is its own great reward. --Brad Hooper Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Renowned author Durrell (The Alexandria Quartet) worked for the British foreign service and was a steadfast traveler for whom the Mediterranean islands held an abiding attraction. This anthology is a collection of excerpts from his travel accounts covering Corfu (Prospero's Cell, 1945), Rhodes (Reflections on a Marine Venus, 1953), Cyprus (Bitter Lemons, 1957), and Sicily (Sicilian Carousel, 1977), including separately published essays on Provence and Delphi. No mere tourist, Durrell resided in each locale long enough to absorb and describe its "spirit of place," that indivisible helix of landscape and indigenous culture. Consequently, there is little historical information except for some sense of the perpetual conflict between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Instead, Durrell is content simply to engage in the daily life of the inhabitants and to partake of their myths and superstitions. Although much has changed since his visits, Durrell's vibrant and sensuous prose recalls the immutable essence of the thalassic isles: luminous skies; languid days; the taste of fleshy Kalamata olives, chalk-white feta cheese, basil, and robust wine; and the bracing wind of in-rushing surf and a horizon ablaze with the sinking sun. Recommended for all libraries.-Lonnie Weatherby, McGill Univ. Lib., Montreal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Editor's Notep. vii
Spirit of Place
Landscape and Characterp. 3
Divisions upon Greek Groundp. 15
Ionian Profilesp. 34
Landscape with Olive Treesp. 44
A Landmark Gonep. 69
Oil for the Saint; Return to Corfup. 73
Of Paradise Terrestrep. 99
The Little Summer of Saint Demetriusp. 128
The Three Lost Citiesp. 150
How to Buy a Housep. 185
The Tree of Idlenessp. 217
The Vanishing Landmarksp. 228
Troubadourp. 244
Arrivalp. 251
Agrigentop. 257
Ericep. 305
Taorminap. 319
In Praise of Fanaticsp. 335
Laura, A Portrait of Avignonp. 355
Across Secret Provencep. 373
Old Mathieup. 392
Delphip. 399