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Lawrence Durrell papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Adminstrative Information

Detailed Description




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Lawrence Durrell papers, 1933-1971 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

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Collection Overview

Title: Lawrence Durrell papers, 1933-1971Add to your cart.

ID: 1/1/MSS 042

Primary Creator: Durrell, Lawrence.

Extent: 35.0 Boxes

Arrangement: Arranged into three series: (1) Correspondence, (2) Manuscripts, (3) Addendum.

Date Acquired: 00/00/1958. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Durrell, Lawrence, Egypt., Philosophy

Forms of Material: Aldington, Richard, 1892-1962 - Correspondence, Correspondence., Durrell, Lawrence - Correspondence, Durrell, Lawrence - Manuscripts, Manuscripts for publication., Miller, Henry, 1891-1980 - Correspondence

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Collection consists of materials related to Durrell's career as a writer from 1933 to 1971.  Included in these papers are:  the author's  file of his manuscripts, typescripts, and working notebooks, together with source books and allied material. The content of the notebooks includes Durrell's study of esoteric philosophy and writing notes.  Also contained in the collection is correspondence with Richard Aldington, Henry Miller, and other literary figures. In addition there are ten source books on Egypt, heavily marked by Durrell, versions and drafts of novels and poetry notebooks.

Biographical Note

Lawrence George Durrell (February 27, 1912-November 7, 1990) was an expatriate British novelist, poet, dramatist, and travel writer. Durrell was born in Jullundur, British India and published his first collection of poetry, Quaint Fragment, at age 19. This was the first of many writings to be published, and though he is remembered as a great poet, much of his work in print is prose. Publications include:  Prospero's Cell, White Eagles over Serbia, Bitter Lemons, The Alexandria Quartet, The Revolt of Aphrodite, and The Avignon Quintet. In 1935, Durrell married Nancy Isobel Myers and moved to Greece. In 1940 they had a daughter, Penelope Berengaria, and soon after had to escape from Greece to Egypt where he wrote about Corfu and their life on "this brilliant little speck of an island in the Ionian" in the poetic. During the war, Durrell served as a press attaché  to the British Embassies, first in Cairo and then Alexandria. After the war he held various diplomatic and teaching jobs. Durrell separated from Nancy in 1942 and in 1951 he married Yvette Cohen, the model for the character Justine in the Alexandria Quartet.  Durrell separated from Eve Cohen in 1955, and was married again in 1961 to Claude-Marie Vincendon. Vincendon died of cancer in 1967. Durrell spent several years in the service of the Foreign Office. He was senior Press Officer to the British Embassies in Athens and Cairo, Press attaché  in Alexandria and Belgrade, Director of the British Institutes in Kalamata, Greece, and Cordoba, Argentina. He was also Director of Public Relations in the Dodecanese Islands and on Cyprus. His fourth and final marriage was in 1973 to Ghislaine de Boysson, whom he divorced in 1979. Durrell suffered from emphysema for many years. He died of a stroke at his house in Sommières, France in November 1990.

Subject/Index Terms

Durrell, Lawrence

Administrative Information

Repository: Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Accruals: Additions 1990

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions:

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the World Wide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult Special Collections Research Center to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.

Curtis Brown Group Limited of London, England maintain literary rights.

Acquisition Source: Purchased

Separated Materials: Lawrence Durrell papers, 1934-1966, UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections; The British Library; The University of Victoria and l'Université Paris X (Nanterre).

Related Materials: Lawrence Durrell VFMs; Lawrence Durrell collection (MSS 163), Lawrence Durrell personal library (see website) For more information please see

Preferred Citation: [Item], Lawrence Durrell papers, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1933-1968],
[Series 2: Manuscripts, 1936-1969],
[Series 3: Addendum],
[Series 4: Free Standing Volumes],

Series 3: AddendumAdd to your cart.
Box 35Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Reflections on a Marine Venus, notes.  TMs, 3pp., 1945Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Untitled manuscript, TMs, 1p., 1957Add to your cart.
Folder 3: "Grecian Olives," carbon typescript, 1963, TMs, 1p.Add to your cart.
Folder 4: (address on Shakespeare for UNESCO).  Notes and typescript, 28 pp., 1964Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Television script, by Daniel Costelle.  TMs, 7 pp., 1964Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Published material, Lear's Corfu, page proofs.  14 pp., 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Mailing tube containing eight gouache paintings by DurrellAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1933-1968],
[Series 2: Manuscripts, 1936-1969],
[Series 3: Addendum],
[Series 4: Free Standing Volumes],

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