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Corfu's Rue de Rivoli

The Durrell School of Corfu opens each annual session with a symposium that examines themes of importance to the Durrells and to our world. The first symposium in 2002 took "Understanding Misunderstanding" as its central theme and it included distinguished leaders in politics, economics, the arts and environmental studies among its participants.

Keynote speakers in 2004 include: Gayatry Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia University professor and cultural theorist; Lee Durrell from the Durrell World Wildlife Trust; and David Bellamy, internationally acclaimed ecologist and botanist.

Previous participants have included: John Brandon of the Asia Foundation; Elemer Hankiss, dean of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Marwan Bishara from the American Univerisity of Paris; and the environmentalist David Bellamy.

The Venetian Winged Lion



(20-25 May 2007)

The Durrell School of Corfu will host an international seminar on 'The Literature of War' at its Library and Study Centre, 20-25 May 2007.

We invite submissions on aspects of literature and film relating to war. In particular we hope to receive submissions on the work of Lawrence Durrell, and it offers the following introduction to a writer whose work is mainly set in the context of the second world war:

Lawrence Durrell's concerns as a member of the British public service in Greece, Egypt and Yugoslavia are evident in his creative work: the Alexandria Quartet and the Avignon Quintet are suffused with the 2nd world war, and Reflections on a Marine Venus is very much affected by the aftermath of war. White Eagles over Serbia and Durrell's Belgrade experiences are set against the background of the 'Cold War'. Bitter Lemons is set within a very different kind of war – the struggle in Cyprus for enosis with Greece. The story 'Judith' and the film based on it are set in the ending of the British mandate in Palestine and are replete with the paramilitary activity of that time.

Durrell's geographical locations (mainly in the Mediterranean) are, even today, war zones – the run-up to the Suez situation in 1956, as discussed in Mike Diboll's recent Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet in its Egyptian Contexts, is evidence of the disruption in Middle East life caused by different types of warfare, while the situation today in the Levant continues to provide literary and reportage material.

Corfu's Asian Art Museum

The Medusa pediment

In addition to Lawrence Durrell's own writing, the Balkan and Levant trilogies by Olivia Manning and Drifting Cities (Stratis Tsirkas) are set in the same period, while much contemporary Greek fiction (available in English) has themes from the 2nd world war and the civil war that followed it.

The seminar will not, however, concentrate only on Durrell’s works, nor will it concentrate solely on literature from that period. Submissions will be welcome on all aspects of war (eg the 1st world war, Irish war of independence or civil war) in all periods, including the work of war correspondents (beginning with Thycidides).

Topics which may be addressed include (but do not exclude other topics):

  • Ancient Greek literature on war
  • the first world war
  • the second world war
  • the Spanish civil war
  • Women novelists on war
  • the American civil war
  • the Greek civil war

    Films and television series which are based on novels will also be eligible for discussion, for example Catch-22, Fortunes of War (Olivia Manning's Balkan and Levant trilogies), All Quiet on the Western Front, A Farewell to Arms, The Red Badge of Courage, et cetera.

    The Moderators for the seminar will be Eve Patten (Trinity College, Dublin) and Robert Stone (author of Dog Soldiers [1974], Damascus Gate [1998] etc.).

    We hope to draw on expertise in as many areas as possible in order to elucidate the ways in which war is experienced, described and understood.

    Proposals (2 pages maximum), together with the author's CV, should reach the Durrell School by 1 February 2007 ([email protected]).

    Presentations will be limited to 30 minutes each, with another 30 minutes allocated for discussion by participants including resident faculty and the moderators.

    Full texts of accepted presentations must be received by the DSC by 1 May 2007 in electronic form, to facilitate circulation to all participants in advance. The papers should not be read at the seminar, but spoken to, since they will have been read by participants before the seminar opens.

    A selection of papers will be published as part of the DSC's Proceedings.

    The registration fee for the seminar will be 300 euros for participants (to include costs of field classes) and 350 euros for those who wish to take part in the discussions but who do not wish to present papers.

    The authors of accepted proposals will be asked to give the DSC an assurance that they have secured adequate funding to enable them to take up the places offered to them.

    The DSC cannot be responsible for any costs associated with travel or accommodation. Intending participants should consult the DSC website for details of accommodation available in Corfu.

    A limited number of scholarships is available: in the first instance, contact the Administrative Director at: [email protected].

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