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Prospero's Cell (Faber Library 4): Guide to the Landscape and Manners of the Island of Corfu [Paperback]

Lawrence Durrell
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 6.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

3 July 2000 Faber Library

A guide to the landscape and manners of the island of Corfu.

'One of Lawrence Durrell's best books - indeed, in its gem-like miniature quality, among the best books ever written.' Freya Stark

'This charming idyll depicts the country life and cosmopolitan society of Corfu in the years immediately before the war . . . The matter of it is as sound as the story is delightful.' Sunday Times

'Corfu, that Ionian island whose idyllic yet blood-stained history goes back the best part of a thousand years, could not have found a fitter chronicler than Mr Durrell. For he is a poet, with all a poet's sensibility, and a humanist to boot, with a keen eye for character and a scholar's reverence for antiquity.' Daily Telegraph


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Prospero's Cell (Faber Library 4): Guide to the Landscape and Manners of the Island of Corfu + The Corfu Trilogy
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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (3 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571201652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571201655
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Lawrence Durrell was born in 1912 in India. He attended the Jesuit College at Darjeeling and St Edmund's School, Canterbury. His first literary work, The Black Book, appeared in Paris in 1938. His first collection of poems, A Private Country, was published in 1943, followed by the three Island books: Prospero's Cell, Reflections on a Marine Venus, about Rhodes, and Bitter Lemons, his account of life in Cyprus. Durrell's wartime sojourn in Egypt led to his masterpiece, The Alexandria Quartet, which he completed in southern France where he settled permanently in 1957. Between the Quartet and The Avignon Quintet he wrote the two-decker Tunc and Nunquam. His oeuvre includes plays, a book of criticism, translations, travel writing, and humorous stories about the diplomatic corps. Caesar's Vast Ghost, his reflections on the history and culture of Provence, including a late flowering of poems, appeared a few days before his death in Sommières in 1990.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leisurely Musings 3 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback
'A portrait inexact in detail, containing bright splinters of landscape, written out roughly, as if to get rid of something which was troubling the optic nerve.'
This is a quote from Prospero's Cell, a prediction from one of Durrel's friends as to how a book about Corfu would be if Durrel were to write it. The prediction was true. Prospero's Cell is languid, beautiful, informative (though never at the expense of style) and graceful. The seven chapters describing Corfu (the epilogue is in Alexandria)are each dedicated to an aspect of the island and its people, whether it is the island saint, the local theatre, or the gathering in of the grapes. The characters (non-fictional) are distinctive and three dimensional, but it is Durrels beloved isle that really catches your attention and holds it.
The form is conventional, and Durrel's classical education is evident throughout, both in his references and in his own character. However the language is startling and engrossing, effortlessly interesting and original, with a freshness which may be the result of hard work but does not seem at all laboured. There is something very unusual in the way he puts words together and the ways he constructs sentences, some of which are even better if you read them a second or a third time. His indolent charm seeps into every letter of every page, and even in the 'History and Conjecture' chapter his writing in meditative, almost soporific. He is purposefully honest, hating cliche, and though very poetic also clear-eyed. He is the most sensual writer I have ever read.
All in all I would definitely recommend this book , especially as an introduction to Durrel and his writing.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A small classic! 23 April 2007
Format:Paperback
I've lost track of how many times I've read "Prospero's Cell." Durrell's use of metaphor and simile is at times brilliant; it is always interesting. Every time I return to "Prospero," I become Durrell's companion, walking the cobblestone streets, swimming in aquarium-clear waters, treading grapes. He has the finest understanding of Greek character I've ever seen in a non-Greek. His honest respect and affection are so real. The books of he and his brother Gerald ignited the mid-twentieth century tourist boom to Greece. Deservedly so!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is this Shakespeare's Island? 10 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
With the lightest of touches Lawrence Durrell paints images of Corfu which are beyond mere geography. We are privileged to be present during erudite literary discussions, amongst people we feel we know or half know.. It's the old Corfu, yet not lost, even today we saw glimpses when we drove through in 1989... Recommend to all especially those with literary inclinations...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read. 22 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I would recommend this book to anyone who is going to Corfu. It gave an interesting picture of what the island must have been like before the second world war.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely. 14 May 2014
By Ghost
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dated a bit now due to its age, it is a great book on the wonderful time and place of that era. Still a wonderful book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Holidaymaker 6 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a very good read before going to Corfu for a holiday. Much enjoyed it for its historical info etc.
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