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Lawrence and Gerald Durrell on Corfu

A lot has been written on Corfu and googling it up will provide you with rich information.

However, the islands beauty and its uniqueness has been put very eloquently by the English writers Lawrence and his brother Gerald Durrell, who found a paradise there.

Lawrence Durrell was always unhappy in England and in March of that year he persuaded his new wife, his mother, and his siblings, to move to the Greek island of Corfu, where they might live more economically and escape both the English weather and stultifying English culture – what Lawrence Durrell called "the English death".

During his years on Corfu, Lawrence had made notes for a book about the island, but it was only in Egypt towards the end of the war, that he was finally able to write it. In the book, Prospero's Cell, Durrell described Corfu as "this brilliant little speck of an island in the Ionian", with waters like the heartbeat of the world itself.

In Corfu, Lawrence and his wife Nancy lived together in a village in the north of the island: For the first few months, the couple lived with the rest of the Durrell family in the Villa Anemoyanni at Kontokali. This period on Corfu is somewhat fictionalised in a lyrical account in Prospero's Cell, which may be instructively compared with the accounts of the Corfu experience published by his younger brother Gerald Durrell, notably in My Family and Other Animals and the rest of the so-called Corfu Trilogy. Gerald describes Lawrence as living permanently with his mother and siblings—Nancy is not mentioned at all—whereas Lawrence's account makes only a few references to just one of his siblings, Leslie and does not mention that his mother and other two siblings were also resident on Corfu. The accounts do cover a few of the same topics; for example, both Gerald and Lawrence describe the roles played by the Corfiot taxi driver Spiro Amerikanos and the Greek doctor, scientist and poet Theodore Stephanides in their lives on Corfu.

Both books, Prospero's Cell by Lawrence and My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Lawrence, are an entertaining reading on Corfu and can only be higly recommended.

For further readings please refer to the literature on the website of the International Lawrence Durrell Society



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