Durrell: A Chronology.

1910s / 1920s / 1930s / 1940s / 1950s / 1960s

1970s / 1980s / 1990s / 2000s / 2010s

1912

Lawrence George Durrell born, 27 February, in Jullundur, India, to Lawrence Samuel Durrell (b. 1884), a British civil engineer, and Louisa Florence Dixie (b. 1884).

1915

Margery Durrell born, 12 November, in India.

1916

Margery Durrell dies.

1917

Leslie Durrell born, 10 March, in India.

1919

Margaret (“Margo”) Isabel Mabel Durrell born, 4 May, in Kurseong, India.

1921

Lawrence Durrell enrolls at St. Joseph’s College, Darjeeling.

1923

Lawrence Durrell leaves India with parents and siblings, arriving in England via Port of Tilbury, Essex.

1924

Lawrence Durrell enrolls at St. Olave’s and St. Saviour’s Grammar School (founded 1571), Bermondsey, South Bank, London.

1925

Gerald Malcolm Durrell born, 7 January, in Jamshedpur, India.

1926

Lawrence Samuel Durrell purchases a large house in Dulwich.

Lawrence Durrell enrolls in St. Edmund’s School (founded 1749), Canterbury.

1928

Lawrence Samuel Durrell dies, 16 April, in Dalhousie, India.

Louisa, Leslie, Margo, and Gerald leave India, settling at the Durrell house in Dulwich.

1929

Louisa Durrell sells Dulwich house.  The Durrells reside in the annex behind Queen’s Hotel, Upper Norwood.

1931

Quaint Fragments: Poems Written between the Ages of Sixteen and Nineteen.

1932

Ten Poems.

Lawrence Durrell meets Nancy Isobel Myers (b. 1912), a young painter studying at the Slade School, Bloomsbury.

1933

Bromo Bombastes: A Fragment from a Laconic Drama.

1934

Transition: Poems.

1935

Pied Piper of Lovers.

Lawrence Durrell and Nancy Myers marry in Bournemouth, 22 January, sans witnessing carnival performers or an oath sworn upon Durrell’s copy of Rabelais.

Lawrence and Nancy Durrell leave England for Corfu, 2 March, seeking affordable living and a climate and culture more sympathetic to their lifestyle.

Louisa, Leslie, Margo, and Gerald Durrell join Lawrence and Nancy in Corfu.

Lawrence Durrell first encounters Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer.  Durrell writes Miller an appreciative letter, receiving a response in kind from the American in Paris.

1936

Lawrence Durrell working steadily on typescript of the novel that will become The Black Book.

1937

Panic Spring: A Romance.

Lawrence Durrell mails only copy of The Black Book typescript to Henry Miller in Paris.

Henry Miller responds to The Black Book with unqualified enthusiasm, offering to have copies typed, thus beginning the process of publishing Durrell’s “two-fisted attack on literature by an angry young man of the thirties.”

1938

The Black Book: An Agon.

1939

Henry Miller arrives on Corfu, 22 July.

Lawrence and Nancy Durrell leave Corfu in early September.

Henry Miller leaves Greece for America, 28 December 1939.

1940

Penelope Berengaria Durrell born, 4 June, in Athens, to Lawrence and Nancy Durrell.

Lawrence and Nancy Durrell move to Kalamata, where Lawrence teaches English for the British Council.

1941

Lawrence and Nancy Durrell leave Pylos for Crete, 22 April, evacuating ahead of the German invasion with other British nationals.

Lawrence and Nancy Durrell arrive in Egypt, 1 May.

Lawrence Durrell writes for The Egyptian Gazette.

Lawrence Durrell hired as a junior press officer by British Embassy, Cairo.

1942

Lawrence Durrell’s poetry and criticism appear in Personal Landscape.

Nancy and Penelope Durrell evacuated from Egypt, taking up residence first in Palestine, then in Beirut.

Nancy Durrell makes clear her intention to end the Durrells’ marriage.

Lawrence Durrell moves to Alexandria after receiving appointment as press attaché.

1943

A Private Country: Poems.

Lawrence Durrell meets Yvette (Eve) Cohen (b. 1918), an Alexandrian-born Jew of striking beauty and precocity.

1945

Prospero’s Cell: A Guide to the Landscape and Manners of the Island of Corcyra.

Lawrence Durrell stationed on Rhodes as director of public relations, Overseas Information Service.

1946

Cities, Plains, and People: Poems.

Zero and Asylum in the Snow.

Lawrence Durrell takes up residence at Villa Cleobolus, near the Mosque of Murad Reis.

1947

Cefalû : A Novel (The Dark Labyrinth).

Lawrence and Nancy Durrell finalize their divorce, 13 January.

Lawrence Durrell and Eve Cohen marry on Rhodes, 26 February.

Lawrence Durrell accepts post as lecturer, British Council Institute, Córdoba, Argentina.

Lawrence and Eve Durrell arrive in Argentina in October.

1948

On Seeming to Presume: A Poem.

1949

Lawrence Durrell works as a press attaché at the British Embassy in Belgrade.

1950

Sappho: A Play in Verse.

1951

Sappho Jane Durrell born in England, 30 May, to Lawrence and Eve Durrell.

1952

A Key to Modern British Poetry.

Eve Durrell experiences worsening bouts of schizophrenia and depression.

1953

Reflections on a Marine Venus: A Companion to the Landscape of Rhodes.

Lawrence and Sappho Durrell move to Cyprus, where he works variously as a teacher, a public relations officer for the British government, and a special correspondent.

Eve Durrell seeks treatment for her illness in Germany and England.

Lawrence, Sappho, and Louisa Durrell take up residence at Bellapaix.

Gerald Durrell publishes The Overloaded Ark.

1954

Lawrence Durrell publishes translation of Emmanuel Royidis’s Pope Joan.

Lawrence Durrell works as Director of Information Services, British Cyprus, editing the Cyprus Review.

1955

The Tree of Idleness, and Other Poems.

Eve and Lawrence Durrell separate.  Eve takes Sappho with her to England.

1956

Lawrence Durrell meets Claude-Marie Forde, nee Vincendon (b. 1925), a writer.

Lawrence Durrell and Claude-Marie Forde leave Cyprus.

Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals published.

1957

Justine: A Novel.

Bitter Lemons of Cyprus.

White Eagles Over Serbia.

Esprit de Corps: Sketches from Diplomatic Life.

Lawrence Durrell awarded the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize.

Lawrence Durrell and Claude-Marie Forde establish a residence at Villa Louis, in Sommières.

Lawrence and Eve Durrell finalize their divorce.

1958

Balthazar: A Novel.

Mountolive: A Novel.

Stiff Upper Lip: Life Among the Diplomats.

Lawrence Durrell and Claude Marie-Forde make their first visit to the Mazet Michel, an old farmhouse 15 miles to the northeast of Sommières.

1960

Clea: A Novel.

Durrell pens introduction for E. M. Forster’s Alexandria: A History & A Guide.

1961

Lawrence Durrell and Claude-Marie Forde marry while in London.

Lawrence Durrell short-listed for Nobel Prize in Literature.

1962

The Alexandria Quartet (Faber omnibus edition)

Lawrence Durrell declines OBE.

Lawrence Durrell and Henry Miller attend International Writers’ Conference, Edinburgh.  During that conference, William Burroughs offers the following estimation in his address on “The Future of the Novel”: “Mr Lawrence Durrell has led the way in developing a new form of writing with time and space shifts as we see events from different viewpoints and realize that so seen they are literally not the same events, and that the old concepts of time and reality are no longer valid.”

1963

An Irish Faustus: A Morality in Nine Scenes.

A Private Correspondence: The Henry Miller-Lawrence Durrell Correspondence (edited George Wickes).

Lawrence Durrell and Peggy Glanville-Hicks collaborate on Sappho: Opera in Three Acts.

1964

Selected Poems: 19531963 (edited Alan Ross).

Acte: A Play.

Louisa Durrell dies.

1966

Sauve Qui Peut.

Lawrence and Claude Durrell move to new residence in Sommières.

1967

Claude Durrell dies, 1 January, in Geneva.

1968

Tunc: A Novel.

1969

Spirit of Place: Letters and Essays on Travel.

Justine, a cinematic adaptation of Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet, released.  George Cukor directs the film, starring Anouk Aimée (Justine), Michael York (Darley), and Pursewarden (Dirk Bogarde).

1970

Nunquam: A Novel.

Lawrence Durrell sells his working papers and books from his library to Morris Library, Southern Illinois University.

1971

Red Limbo Lingo: A Poetry Notebook.

On the Suchness of the Old Boy (with Sappho Durrell).

1973

Lawrence Durrell and Ghislaine de Boysson marry in Sommières.

1974

Monsieur: or, The Prince of Darkness: A Novel.

Lawrence Durrell takes up residence as visiting lecturer, California Institute of Technology.

Lawrence Durrell meets Françoise Kestsman in Paris at Marthe Nochy gallery.

1975

Blue Thirst.

Lawrence Durrell receives the James Tait Black Memorial prize for Monsieur: or, The Prince of Darkness.

1977

Sicilian Carousel.

1978

Livia: or, Buried Alive: A Novel.

The Greek Islands.

1980

Collected Poems: 19311974 (edited James A. Brigham).

A Smile in the Mind’s Eye.

First conference meeting of the International Lawrence Durrell Society held in New York.

1982

Constance: or, Solitary Practices: A Novel.

Leslie Durrell dies.

1983

Sebastian: or, Ruling Passions: A Novel.

Nancy Durrell Hodgkin dies.

1985

Quinx: or, The Ripper’s Tale: A Novel.

Sappho Durrell commits suicide in London.

1988

The Durrell-Miller Letters: 1935 – 1980 (edited Ian MacNiven).

1990

Caesar’s Vast Ghost: Aspects of Provence.

L’Espace Lawrence Durrell dedicated in Sommières.

Lawrence Durrell dies at his home in Sommières, France.

1991

Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Lawrence Durrell dedicated in Sommières.

1995

Gerald Durrell dies.

Francoise Kestsman sells materials collected at Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Lawrence Durrell to the University of Paris-X at Nanterre.

1996

Gordon Bowker publishes Through the Dark Labyrinth: A Biography of Lawrence Durrell.

1998

Ian MacNiven publishes the authorized account of Lawrence Durrell’s life, Lawrence Durrell: A Biography.

2002

Durrell School of Corfu established.

2003

Ghislaine de Boysson dies.

2004

Eve Cohen Durrell dies.

2010

Penelope Durrell Hope dies.

2012

Durrell 2012: The Lawrence Durrell Centenary, 13 – 16 June, London.

Owls Nest Opera mounts full-scale recording of Sappho: Opera in Three Acts, with music composed by Peggy Glanville-Hicks and a libretto written by Lawrence Durrell.


This chronology is indebted to three key resources:

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