Alexandria Feature


Lawrence Durrell

Lawrence George Durrell was born in 1912 in northern India to expat parents of English and Irish descent. At the age of 11, Durrell was sent to England for his education, but he hated his time there and didn't complete his formal schooling. Instead, he resolved to make a living as a writer.

In 1935 he moved to Corfu, an island off Greece, with his wife, mother, and brothers and sisters. He thrived there but was forced to leave when German troops invaded in 1941. He settled in Cairo with his wife and small daughter, then moved to Alexandria alone to take up a position as press attaché at the British Information Office.

After the war, Durrell returned to Greece for two years before taking up a post in Argentina, then in Yugoslavia. In 1952 he bought a cottage close to the coast in the north of Cyprus and took a job as an English teacher to fund his literary career. He wrote the first volume of The Alexandria Quartet in Cyprus. But peace was elusive, as Cyprus had become the focus of an independence struggle. Durrell moved one more time, to Sommières in the south of France, where he spent the final 35 years of his life, completing The Alexandria Quartet and two more cycles of novels. He died in 1990.

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