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Durrell, Lawrence

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1912-1990) Indian poet and author (his English/Irish family settled in India about 1850), in England from 1923 to 1935, then in Greece and elsewhere; best known for the Alexandria Quartet (1957-1960). His fourth novel, Cefalû (1947; vt The Dark Labyrinth 1961) is a Near Future tale set Underground in a Cretan Labyrinth, where emanations out of the Minoan Time Abyss afflict the protagonists. His sf novel sequence, Tunc (1968) and Nunquam (1970), assembled as The Revolt of Aphrodite (omni 1974) – the original title is from Petronius Arbiter: "aut tunc, aut nunquam" ("either then or never") – subjects sf material to intensely literary scrutiny. In the first volume, Merlin, a burgeoning multinational corporation, co-opts the protagonist, Felix Charlock, into constructing a super-Computer, which can predict the future and which drives him to madness; in the second volume, Felix is cured in order to create an Android lady – echoing a Durrell obsession – perfectly duplicating a destroyed lover of the boss of Merlin; but the android is also destroyed in a Near-Future world choked with evil and images of corruption. The late Avignon Quincunx [for titles see Checklist] is an immensely complex Gnostic fantasy which exfoliates – in a series of Hermetic and numerological figurations – out of a central quincunx comprised of place, Time, Metaphysics, reincarnated figures, mirrors. [JC]

see also: Mythology.

Lawrence George Durrell

born Jullundur, India: 27 February 1912

died Sommières, France: 7 November 1990



The Revolt of Aphrodite

  • Tunc (London: Faber and Faber, 1968) [The Revolt of Aphrodite: hb/]
  • Nunquam (London: Faber and Faber, 1970) [The Revolt of Aphrodite: hb/]

Avignon Quincunx

individual titles


about the author

  • G S Fraser. Lawrence Durrell (London: Longmans/British Council, 1978) [nonfiction: chap: pb/]


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