This book studies the works of Lawrence Durrell (February 27, 1912 - November 7, 1990), the great British writer. It explores all of Durrell's major works, including The Alexandria Quartet, The Black Book, the poetry, The Avignon Quintet and the Tunc-Nunquam books, many of lesser-known pieces, and reviews all of the Durrell criticism, and Durrell's literary friendships (with Henry Miller, T. S. Eliot, George Seferis, Richard Aldington, etc).
The response that Lawrence Durrell so often generates is negative: critics call him pretentious, baroque, overblown, high-flown, too intellectual, too metaphysical, overwritten, too rich, etc. The Avignon Quintet, his last major work, was received as 'lush', with 'fantastic characters, opulent landscapes', 'flamboyant... rich, easy style', prose that was 'ringingly evocative', 'an elaborate tapestry'.
For some critics, Durrell's books are 'accurate, moving and intensely readable' as a critic wrote of Bitter Lemons, while another critic sees Durrell's novels as 'so beautiful in surface and so uncertain below it'.
It was the 1950s novel Justine that really launched Durrell's career, for Justine was a large, complex work that promised much for the following instalments in The Alexandria Quartet. Durrell's reputation rests largely on the achievement of The Alexandria Quartet, and it is to the Quartet that critics generally refer when they discuss Durrell. And when Durrell's name appears in the index of a book of literary criticism, The Alexandria Quartet is usually being considered.
Includes illustrations, a full bibliography and notes.