- Category : Writers-Playwright-script
- Type : GE
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Split - Small (25,30,39)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Planning 1
Irish writer born in India, a novelist, playwright and travel writer. First published in 1938 with "The Black Book," he is perhaps best known for his four-volume "Alexandria Quartet," 1957-1960. He was the first to popularize travel books with his stories about Greece, and his novels centered on Egypt, Greece and France.
Durrell was born into a family that had a tenuous relationship to both India and it's homeland. They dealt with the caste system and the lack of a correct university system, which were obstacles to employment in the Indian Civil Service. His Indian-educated father was an engineer employed by the railway and later, a partner in a construction firm. Wanting his son to have the education of an English gentleman he packed the boy off the England, where Durrell failed to pass entry exams. Later he wrote that, "Intellectually, I was brilliant, but failed the exams because of subconscious resentment."
Durrell grew up with anxieties about his social class and felt that he secured social distinction by being an artist, in his case, the writer as the center of a creative universe.
From 1935 he lived intermittently on Corfu, gathering material and writing. His imagination was such that, as a boy, he was characterized in a school report as a "mine of disinformation," perceived as someone who distorted facts of his and other's lives.
His first wife, Nancy, left him, as did all of his wives except one, Claude-Marie, who died. With his second wife, Yvette, he had a daughter he named Sappho who described his intense psychological tormenting of her and of his wives in her journal, and hanged herself in 1985. When he threatened his fourth wife, Ghislaine, with a revolver, publicly describing her as "the French whore I live with," she walked out. Durrell was a wife-beater who insisted on using women for the purpose of establishing his pretensions of superiority. His sexuality was voracious and cruel, and alcohol was a close companion.
He was lifelong friends with Henry Miller, but frequently betrayed friendships. Durrell's final years were spent in France, working, traveling, pursuing intermittent affairs, and drinking. He seemed unable to derive meaning from his experiences, and his life ended a melancholy tale of obsessive cruelty to others, alcoholism and betrayal.
Suffering from emphysema, he died of a stroke in Sommières, France on 7 November 1990.