[ilds] Durrell and Atkinson

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Sat Jun 2 16:51:35 PDT 2007

Michael asks:

> 1) ... Durrell escaped from Greece in 1941
> with little or nothing; I am not aware that
> he brought any notebooks with him ...
> 2) Durrell wrote Prospero's Cell in Alexandria.
> 3) Either point 1 is wrong and Durrell did
> somehow bring some things to Egypt, or Durrell
> was able to obtain a copy of Atkinson in Egypt.

Durrell compiled some significant amount of material for _Prospero's Cell_
while (or before) he was on Kalamata -- his letter in the Gennadius glued
inside their copy of _Prospero's Cell_ speaks of "completing" a book about
Corfu, not starting one...  His address was listed as on Kalamata.  This
would imply that Durrell left Greece with at least some of his notebooks, or
perhaps more plausibly, he'd sent a draft to Thomas who then sent it back to
him.  Perhaps he had a small batch of notebooks with him on Kalamata and
lost those that had remained on Corfu.

Similarly, Jay Brigham records an incident involving Durrell's drafts of a
poem lost when he went to Egypt, and I'm pasting my transcript of it below.
For anyone who is interested, the Brigham papers are now housed at the
University of Victoria in the McPherson Library's Special Collections.  I've
attached a brief draft of the description of the materials here.

Alas, my transcript of the letter from the Gennadius went away a few years
ago when a large batch of papers left my apartment with some of my own notes
unknowingly included.  I do, however, still have my transcripts from the
Seferis papers there.


Excerpt from a Brigham notebook


Sir John Waller recalls how he first published, and later first met Lawrence
Durrell.  During his final year at Oxford, Sir John edited Kingdom Come, one
or two issues being subsidised by a wealthy girl-friend, and the rest (?) by
Marie Stopes [Stapes?], inventor of the contraceptive.
            At this time, Nicholas Moore (?) was editing Seven, another
review, and when it collapsed for want of funds, Waller received Œstacks of
stuff¹ which he was invited to use or not in Kingdom Come. Among this
material was Lawrence Durrell¹s ³In Arcadia², which duly appeared in the 4th
issue of Kingdom Come.
            When Waller enlisted after coming down from Oxford, he was
posted first to the Middle East and Cairo.  The only civilian he knew there
was Herbert Howarth, who had a teaching post at Fuad University. During his
first leave, Waller stayed with the Howarths and found that Lawrence and
Nancy Durrell (and, I presume Penelope Berengaria) were also staying in the
house. Waller happened to be carrying about the back issues of Kingdom Come.
Coincidentally, Durrell had no copy of ³In Arcadia², so he copied the poem
from the 4th issue of the magazine.
            Waller tells an interesting anecdote about the naming of
Durrell¹s first child. The Durrell¹s had been evacuated from Greece on a
British vessel (gun boat? Destroyer?), and a picture of Pinky had appeared
in a (London?) paper over the caption ³Berengaria With the Boys². Waller
does not think he ever saw the picture but, having heard about it, he asked
Durrell why she had been named ŒPenelope Berengaria¹ (Sir John recalls it as
ŒBerengaria Penelope¹).  Durrell replied, ŒWell, if she wants to be the lady
editor of a newspaper, Berengaria Durrell suits the position. And, if she
wants to be a writer, Penelope Durrell will do.¹
            On the subject of Personal Landscape, Sir John is reticent.  He
had nothing to do with the magazine because, he says, he did not get on at
all well with Terence Tiller.

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