“Out of the Blue”: British Library Marks 2012 Durrell Centenary with New Audio Collection.

Just in time for Durrell 2012: The Lawrence Durrell Centenary, the British Library has released an audio CD of interviews, songs, and poetry — The Spoken Word: Lawrence Durrell.

The press kit for The Spoken Word: Lawrence Durrell describes the audio collection as follows:

2012 marks the centenary of the birth of novelist and poet Lawrence Durrell, one of the leading writers of the post-war years.  Born in India and resident at various times in England, Greece, Egypt, Cyprus and France, Durrell was a cosmopolitan, whose work was greatly influenced by the Mediterranean places and cultures he experienced.  His most famous work is The Alexandria Quartet, a series of novels produced in rapid succession between 1957 and 1960.

This disc contains a selection of previously unreleased historic BBC broadcasts in which Durrell reads his poetry and discusses his life and work, together with a unique pair of private recordings of Durrell as jazz pianist and vocalist.

Rachel Foss, Lead Curator for Modern Literary Manuscripts at the British Library, writes:

We’re delighted to be able to bring to a wider audience these rare recordings. They highlight the inter-relationship between Lawrence Durrell’s interests in art, philosophy and science and between genre and form, which make him so complex, fascinating and original a writer. The British Library’s new Spoken Word CD is one of the many ways in which Durrell’s creative legacy will be explored in 2012, his centenary year.

The contents of The Spoken Word: Lawrence Durrell include:

  • Two of a Kind (Lawrence Durrell sings and plays jazz song on the pianoprivate recording: 1935).
  • Intimations (Interview with Lawrence Durrell: 1965).
  • Logos (Lawrence Durrell reading poem: 1963).
  • The Poet (Lawrence Durrell reading poem: 1963).
  • Alexandria (Lawrence Durrell reading poem: 1963).
  • The Tree of Idleness (Lawrence Durrell reading poem: 1963).
  • Conversations (Interview with Lawrence Durrell: 1963).
  • Style (Lawrence Durrell reading poem: 1963).
  • Cities, Plains and People VIII (Lawrence Durrell reading poem: 1963).
  • The Anecdotes, IV at Rhodes (Lawrence Durrell reading poem: 1963).
  • On Ithaca Standing (Lawrence Durrell reading poem: 1963).
  • Cavafy (Lawrence Durrell reading poem: 1963).
  • Night Express (Lawrence Durrell reading poem: 1963).
  • Bere Regis (Lawrence Durrell reading poem: 1963).
  • The Octagon Room (Lawrence Durrell reading poem: 1963).
  • Meridian (Interview with Lawrence Durrell: 1985).
  • Out of the Blue (Lawrence Durrell sings and plays jazz song on the pianoprivate recording: 1935).

With the release of this audio collection, Lawrence Durrell joins a noteworthy roster of writers highlighted in the British Library Spoken Word series.

Previous releases in the series have included readings by H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Evelyn Waugh, Edith Sitwell, Robert Graves, Graham Greene, Aldous Huxley, W. H. Auden, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, and Stevie Smith.

The British Library is located a short 0.6 miles away from Goodenough College, the main venue for Durrell 2012: The Lawrence Durrell Centenary.

On Friday, 15 June 2012, the British Library will host an afternoon of archival exhibitions, lectures, and other events related to the 2012 Durrell Centenary.  These events are open to the public — all are welcome!

See a draft schedule of Durrell Centenary Events here.

Order The Spoken Word: Lawrence Durrell from the British Library Shop.

Order The Spoken WordLawrence Durrell from Amazon.

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