[ilds] Trading in national charcteristics

Denise Tart & David Green dtart at bigpond.net.au
Tue Oct 13 14:29:32 PDT 2009

Given the historical context within which Durell wrote Bitter Lemons, I  have the impression that Durell was more concerned with finding a way to reconcile phil-Hellen inclinations with his loyalty to the British administration than remaining true to the national characteristics of the protagonists.


Ozlem, I think you are right. Bitter Lemons is in many ways a personal journey and indeed a reconciliation of the pro Greek feelings engendered in Larry by the affection of Greeks on Corfu for the English with the hostility shown to them and Durell on Cyprus. Durrell, I think, was very hurt by this. Bitter Lemons is love rejected, a deep and painful rejection for the author who had clearly intended to dwell on Cyprus for some time and was forced out prematurely. He never lived in Greece again and transfered his affections to the Languedoc where there were no political tensions, a nice climate and wine and cigarettes were cheap. 

There are  Cypriot Greeks here in Australia, many of whom came here because of the troubles Durrell described, and they are quite different from other Greeks - or am I trading in stereotypes again?

I do, however, remain interested in debate on Durrell's national characteristics. The accuraccy of his depictions probably says more about the author and his circumstances, and the intentions of his fiction, than do of an objective reality. How could it be otherwise. Even the strictest reportage come through someone's viewfinder.

16 William Street
Marrickville NSW  2204
+61 2 9564 6165
0412 707 625
dtart at bigpond.net.au

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