Last night Nightwaves did a piece on Lawrence Durrell introduced by Matthew Sweet. The other person talking was Joanna Kavenna, a Faber novelist herself and a great fan of his novels. As I was keen to point people towards his poetry and island books, we managed I hope to cover all the bases. Matthew pointed out that Jan Morris’s introduction to the new edition of the Quartet is weirdly half-hearted (I haven’t read it, so can’t comment yet) and it was interesting to think why he is so under-valued right now – and a reappraisal is overdue. It might be something to do with having lived out of UK all his life, also because he always refused to play the author game – which showed clearly when he was being interviewed and seems to have said pretty much whatever came into his head. The bit they played last night had him claiming that he had already forgotten half his books and hoped to forget all of them by the time he died – pure teasing, the boredom of a very clever man with the whole serious lit crit thing.
A strange photo has appeared. It must have been taken in 1938, what Nancy always referred to as the summer of the dancers. It shows Nancy, looking for once like a John Betjeman girl about to engage in a hearty game of tennis, and Veronica and Dorothy, with LD peering between the two dancers’ shoulders. His head looks oddly stuck on, but that might be because of the way the photo has faded. It would be fascinating to know where it came from.