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Durrell, Lawrence. | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Durrell, Lawrence.

Historical 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.

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