[ilds] Durrell and Atkinson

Michael Haag michaelhaag at btinternet.com
Sat Jun 2 17:16:40 PDT 2007

Thanks, James, for that.  I am pretty sure that Durrell escaped in 
circumstances that prevented him from carrying anything.  But it is 
possible, as was his habit later, that he had sent some stuff to Alan 
Thomas who then sent it back to Egypt when requested.  I wonder if 
Durrell's early effort of a book about Corfu bore any resemblance to 
the final Prospero's Cell.


On Sunday, June 3, 2007, at 12:51  am, James Gifford wrote:

> 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.
> Cheers,
> James
> -------------
> Excerpt from a Brigham notebook
> 18.10.74
> 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 
> ‘stacks of
> stuff’ which he was invited to use or not in Kingdom Come. Among this
> material was Lawrence Durrell’s “In Arcadia”, 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 “In Arcadia”, so he copied the 
> poem
> from the 4th issue of the magazine.
>             Waller tells an interesting anecdote about the naming of
> Durrell’s first child. The Durrell’s 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 “Berengaria With the Boys”. 
> Waller
> does not think he ever saw the picture but, having heard about it, he 
> asked
> Durrell why she had been named ‘Penelope Berengaria’ (Sir John recalls 
> it as
> ‘Berengaria Penelope’).  Durrell replied, ‘Well, 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.’
>             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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