AT RHODES (LAWRENCE DURRELL)
Anonymous hand, record one afternoon,
In May, some time before the fig-leaf:
Boats lying idle in the sky, a town
Thrown as on a screen of watered silk,
Lying on its side, reddish and soluble,
A sheet of glass leading down into the sea . . .
Down here an idle boy catches a cicada:
Imprisons it, laughing, in his sister’s cloak
In whose warm folds the silly creature sings.
Shape of boats, body of a young girl, cicada,
Conspire and join each other here,
In twelve sad lines against the dark.
The Villa Ambron, where Lawrence Durrell lived and worked in Alexandria, is in a deplorable state according to this Facebook post by Ahmed Essam.
The terrible state of the historic villa has also been noticed by political activist Essam Fathallah, who has called for action to save the city of Alexandria and its heritage, as Egyptian outlet Al Youm 7 reports.
Durrell was not the only artist to live in the villa — Egyptian painters Effat Nagy and Saad al-Khadem also resided there.
The Huffington Post has reprinted a letter from P.G. Wodehouse to Lawrence Durrell, in which the former explains how Jeeves came into being. Durrell was a great admirer of Wodehouse.
New York artist L.C. Armstrong has named the British novelist Lawrence Durrell as an influence on her work, citing his quote, “We are all children of our own landscape.”
An exhibition of recent work by Armstrong, Central Park Paintings, will open at the Marlborough Gallery in New York on February 13 and continue through March 16, 2013.
From Lawrence Durrell in conversation with Igor Pomerantsev. The full interview can be read here.
I’d recommend heading over to Michael Haag’s blog here and reading his new post on Russian editions of the Alexandria Quartet, where he has shared has some lovely pictures of the covers as well as background on the Quartet in the former USSR.
Since we’re talking about the elder Durrell in Russia, Russian-speakers may be interested to read/watch this interesting round table chat on Durrell and the Alexandria Quartet from Radio Svoboda in 2011, at the time of the Egyptian Revolution.
I’ve translated a very small selection of interesting parts of the discussion below, which includes a comparison of Alexandria and Odessa!
Lawrence Durrell was shortlisted for the 1962 Nobel Prize for Literature, alongside Robert Graves and John Steinbeck; however the judges ultimately chose Steinbeck, according to recently-opened archives in Sweden.