[ilds] Lawrence and Gerald Durrell's Corfu

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Thu Oct 8 08:25:56 PDT 2009

Good to see that Pine's Durrell School of Corfu continues to operate,  
even during these hard times.


On Oct 8, 2009, at 4:58 AM, Charles Sligh wrote:

> https://smi.utc.edu/w?Nh.E0.EDyQ.S7TsztQ.EBgEg.Cy9LNSg.K
> Lawrence and Gerald Durrell's Corfu
>   The Durrell brothers discovered the island of Corfu in their  
> youth, and became enchanted with its beauties but also its people  
> and the 'aroma' of the Ionian Sea, which crop up frequently in their  
> writings later.
>   Gerald Durrel grew up to become a naturalist, zookeeper, author  
> and television presenter and his older brother Lawrence became a  
> noted novelist, poet and travel writer.
>   Lawrence was 23, and already married, when his family -- his wife,  
> mother, younger brother and sister -- settled on Corfu in 1935, and  
> Gerald was barely 10. Lawrence became intrigued with the ancient and  
> Modern Greek language, while he also started to write poems and  
> broaden his circle of contacts with several Greek writers.
>   Lawrence later wrote about the family's carefree years on the  
> island, the tenderness and innocence of the people of Corfu in the  
> mid-war years, in two of his books: Prospero's Cell (1945) and Blue  
> Thirst (1975).
>   The island's quaint and unadulterated beauty also inspired Gerald  
> who, too, later wrote about the family's life and experiences on  
> Corfu in his anecdote filled book My Family and Other Animals  
> (1962), which brings with his great affection for the island and its  
> people.
>   But the people of Corfu, too, did not remain untouched by the  
> Durrell brothers' stay on the island, and the memories linger on  
> despite the passing of time.
>   The locals proudly talk about the two British writers who had  
> their island their second home, and never miss an opportunity to  
> point out to visitors the 'white house' in the tiny village of  
> Kalamos where the Durrells lived.
>   Today, the house is a hostel and its current owners have taken  
> care to keep alive the memories of the Durrells and that carefree  
> epoch.
>   The Durrell brothers have inspired many people, including British  
> writer Richard Pine who has not only studied the brothers' ties with  
> the island, but also established in 2002 The Durrell School of  
> Corfu, which offers a wide range of activities, such as weekly  
> seminars on the brothers' writing and the rich cultural heritage of  
> the Mediterranean, excursions, and lectures on the same subject.
>   Pine, who himself also professes to be a "Corfu lover", told ANA/ 
> MPA that the aim of the School is to organise international seminars  
> on Corfu with speakers from all over the world, on the themes that  
> the Durrell brothers were keen on, such as culture, literature,  
> zoology, ecology and the arts.
>   Clarifying the reasons behind his vision of establishing such a  
> School, he noted that Corfu was a very important place for the  
> Durrell brothers. Lawrence, he said, was just 23 years old when he  
> moved there, but as he as written in his books, he discovered  
> himself on Corfu. Greece gives you the ability to discover yourself,  
> Lawrence would say, according to Pine. As for Gerald, he was still a  
> child when he went to Corfu, but his experiences there put their  
> mark on his later course.
>   "That is why I chose Greece, and particularly Corfu" to set up the  
> School, Pine said.
>   Next May, the School is organising a seminar on Ionian history and  
> culture, which will include not only Corfu but the other Ionian  
> islands as well, such as Cephallonia and Ithaka, while a large  
> delegation of visitors is also awaited from North America.
>   The seminars offered by the School are attended by people of all  
> ages and educational level: from university professors and  
> pensioners to young people seeking new experiences.
> ***************************************
> Charles L. Sligh
> Department of English
> University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
> Charles-Sligh at utc.edu
> ***************************************
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