Justine by Lawrence Durrell

Ray Greenblatt’s essay on Lawrence Durrell’s novel Justine. He is an editor on the Schuylkill Valley Journal and teaches a Joy of Poetry course at Temple University-OLLI

Lawrence Durrell worked in all literary genres: fiction, poetry, drama, essays; also in letters, travel and humor. But especially in the novel he probed character and incident so deeply that in his writing career he was compelled to create multiply connected novels: two books made up the work titled The Revolt of Aphrodite; The Avignon Quintet; and The Alexandria Quartet. In this latter series, for me, Justine fascinates and sparkles the most intensely.

North of Oxford

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Review by Ray Greenblatt
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No, not 18th century French pornography by the Marquis de Sade. Rather, modern realism written by an Englishman. Birth in the Punjab, India, and death in Avignon gave Lawrence Durrell a breadth of experience, which spurred him to write about many different kinds of people–with a rich and diverse writing style.
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 He could list interesting facts in a travel book, like Reflections on a Marine Venus: “The festival of Helios was yearly in September. His priest gave the name to the year. The Colossus was built in his likeness, and the coinage of the realm bore his image, while in the great yearly festival which honored his name white or tawny lambs, white rams, white horses and red honey were offered as a sacrifice; and the wrestlers, boxers and charioteers contended for a wreath…

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