Lawrence Durrell

I have already written about the Durrell’s TV series featuring Lawrence and his family mother Louisa, brother Gerald, sister Margo, and brother Leslie here.

Since Lawrence was a prolific writer through out his life I thought he desired a post all of his own. His personal website is here Lawrence Durrell.

I have read parts of Bitter Lemons of Cyprus and I just love the peek into the world of yesterday. The language he uses is phenomenal. Yes some of the terms are now dated and obscure but if you ever needed an education in the English language you couldn’t go wrong by borrowing a few of his terms. You may sound archaic but there is always a time and a place for formal English.

Lawrence lived and worked all over the world during his life so he wrote about the lives and environment of where ever he happened to be with great authenticity. He spoke Greek which greatly assisted with his integration as there were no learning resources in those days and the locals most certainly would not have known English.

His works of which I have some start with Prospero’s Cell which is an account of his life in Corfu. It also includes more well known work such as the Alexandria Quartet based in Alexandria Egypt which links in with C F Cavafy as they knew each other. He even features him in some of his work.

The Avignon quartet is written in the same manner about his travels in France. We are now coming to the works that I know little about having just read about them for the purposes of this post but I will eventually get around to reading them.

His continued employment with the British Foreign Service meant that a posting to Rhodes enabled him to write Reflections on a Marine Venus.

Another assignment to Belgrade allowed him to publish The White Eagles over Serbia.

A bit further along in time he makes a Sicilician Carousel about the aforementioned island. He also comes up with the Greek islands.

So it’s a real journey around the Mediterranean from the birds eye view of an English subject. This was before everyone was required to learn English for business purposes and the days of widespread tourism. So you get to see what the culture was like before the traditional values got watered down with western values.

For more details about his personal life you can read his Wikipedia article Lawrence Durrell.

This is a new series I have started on writers who have an interest or have written about Greece.

Virginia Woolf

Henry Miller

Lord Byron

Eva Palmer-Sikelianos

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Have you ever wanted to live in an previous era to see what life was really like then?

Best wishes

Angela

More Greek Easter traditions

The egg is a vital part of the celebrations here for it is dyed red to represent the blood of Christ (Kokkino Auga), the egg itself represents rebirth as it’s the continuation of the chickens life but also it gives you vital nutrients that you have been missing out on while you have been fasting (Sarakosti-a shortened form of 40 days). Tsougrisma – The cracking of the egg represents the emergence of Jesus Christ from the tomb that he was sealed in when he died. It also shows that one champion always emerges from the struggles of many. I like the highly symbolic nature of the traditions here. They have lost there meaning in the UK. Who for instance knows why we roll eggs down a hill?

The other tradition here is the breaking of pots to stop death from re-entering the house. It’s why the Greeks break plates at celebrations too. It’s a way of casting out the evil that is around like carrying the eye to prevent bad things from happening to you. You can also have the eye (mati or matia for 2) on stones that you place on each floor to bring you luck. There are a lot of superstitions in Greece as you can expect. Also there are the kolumboi – worry beads which are bracelets that are commonly worn and playing with the beads helps to ease your troubled mind.

There are many wishes too that are said on the different days depending on the progress of Jesus but these are not quite so prevalent this year. There is good resurrection – Kalo Anesti, Christos Anesti – Christ has risen and Alithos Anesti – truly his has. You can always say Kronia Polla – many happy returns/years for every occasion.

Soon we will have the Mayday celebrations (first of May) when they all go camping. Also you get to say Kalo Mina – happy (new) month, Kalo enthomanda – happy (new) week and Kali spera – happy (new) day. Not forgetting that the weekend just gone would be Kalo sabbatokriaki – happy weekend or if you doing text speak happy SK. ( literally Saturday/Sunday). Depending on when Easter fell you might also come across Kalo Anoixe – happy spring as that’s to welcome in the season. It’s also the word for open as the world is opening itself for life to resume once more. Although this is mainly a March wish you can get early Easter’s. While we are on the subject of wishes I may as well complete the set by saying you can say Kalo Martias – Happy March or Kalo Aprilias – Happy April but these are less commonly seen and heard as there specific.

It’s odd Easter continues until the Monday, they go back to work on Tuesday and then Wednesday there off again as it’s a bank holiday. They always celebrate on the day here not like in the UK where it’s always the Monday.

The one thing that was done in the UK but not here is the wearing of the Easter bonnet. It’s certainly too hot here at the minute but some years it can be quite cold so it would be suitable weather wise.

Na’ste Kala kai Kalo Pascha. (Be Well and Happy Easter. )

Angela

Reblog list

This is a list of all the blogs that I have so far reblogged because I keep being invited to blogging awards but frankly I don’t have the time to fill these out. I’m very sorry and I hope this appeases you all.

  • Best wishes
  • Angela

    Rebetika – Traditional Greek music from the 1920’s onwards

    1920’s Turkish style Rebetika is most famously sung and played by Mikis Theodorakis. His music is often referenced in Victoria Hislop books (my effort is here A life of Halcyon Days) as there set in either the same era or afterwards as he has had such an influence on the music of the area. It’s often comprised of guitars and bouzouki. Sometimes containing bouzoukia which are smaller versions as well. Literature from the period details very little from the musical point of view. Even in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin there isn’t much about this. The mandolin must be only in Corfu as I’ve never seen one here Lefkás before. I’ve also not come across mention of the music in the books I’ve read about the Durells family. I think Gerry was too interested in his animals and although Lawrence was interested in a great many things, it doesn’t seem that music was one of those.

    I got a bilingual book on this subject as shown above. So it was good for me to learn about this evocative style of music that has been so influential on Greek culture. Rebetika has changed so much over the years through the many musicians that have practiced it. The instruments changed into electronic versions, the venues changed drastically as did the clientele and the amount of money that could be made improved significantly. However, all things have there dips also and many rebirths mean that the style will always evolve to suit its circumstances. Sometimes simpler and covert, other times flashy and ostentatious.

    For a taste of even older Greek music see here Ancient Greek music.

    This is part of my series on Greek music and musicians.

    Mikis Theodorakis

    Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

    Do you have any similar styles of music in your country?

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Sententiae Antiquae

    Here is a list of SA posts that I have previously shared and since they generally have good posts I frequently get tempted to share them.

    Lyric, love and translation

    The first is an ancient Lefkás poet Sappho and the only woman too unless you count the wife of Angelos Sikelianos, Eva. For my series on Lefkadian poets check here :-

    Aristotle Valaoritis ,

    C F Cavafy,

    Angelos Sikelianos,

    Lefkadia Hearn.

    Formal and informal language

    An article on different styles of writing and why you might perhaps want to use one over the other.

    The pleasure of reading

    Why you should indulge in this hobby.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Panos Karnezis

    Author of the Maze, the Birthday Party and Little Infamies. He has also written the Fugitives and the Convent. Here is the Wikipedia article on himself Panos Karnezis

    I was reading the maze on a cruise I was on last year and I was tempted to nick it since there were two copied but I was good and bought myself a copy off Amazon when I got home. It’s always good to support authors since they put so much effort into their work. It’s there livelihood and we need them to maintain their creative focus so that they can continue to entertain us with their words.

    The Maze is a book about the Ottoman war and it’s very evocative of an era that was in the recent past but most of us don’t really know what it was like because we weren’t alive then. I love the way he draws you in so you can’t put the book down and you just want to continue reading one more page!

    I have previously read Little Infamies and it had the same effort on me. This might be a little more fictional but it’s still based in reality and those stories still could happen today.

    The Birthday Party is set in time of Aristotle Onassis but I haven’t read that one yet. It’s probably just as good as the others given the standard of the previous books.

    The Convent I have just found out about by researching for this article and it’s set in a Spanish nuns convent. I think this will be quite different to the other books so it will be intriguing to see how this one plays out.

    The Fugitives is another I was unaware of and it takes places in South America. It again has quite a religious lean to it by dealing with Catholic’s but it is a big part of life over there so I think he will do the themes in the novel justice.

    Are you the type of person like me who when you find an author you like, devour everything that they have written as quick as possible?

    This is the second post in my Greek author series.

    Nikos Kazantzakis

    Other series include Greek poets, Rural villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways.Series links

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Nikos Kazantzakis – Zorba the Greek

    He is the author of Zorba the Greek the most famous Greek movie. It has spawned many restaurants of this name and for most people this is in fact all they know about modern Greek culture.

    For those that don’t know this is based on a book. It’s an amazing book that puts the movie into the shade. While the movie is very good when you have read the book you can see how much has been missed out a bit like with the LOTRs trilogy.

    The prose, philosophy and humour that he injects into his main character Alexis Zorba is astounding. I have a feeling I’ve written this before but a little deja vu is ok here. He makes a very good counterpart to show how much you can know about the world in terms of academic learning yet know nothing about what matters in life. He makes it his mission to teach his rather staid English companion how to loosen up and enjoy life. It’s a rather entertaining jaunt throughout the story learning about the adventures that they get up to together. They make a great partnership and there is also a purpose that they fulfil. I adore the insight into Greek culture and history that you get from this story. I don’t want to repeat myself too much but this really is a must read book.

    He has also written many other books but they are not quite as well known so are more difficult to get hold of. I have some of them, but I haven’t read them yet so I can’t comment on there content. I believe they will be just as good.

    • Christ Recrucified
    • Captain Michalis
    • The last Temptation of Christ
    • Freedom and Death
    • This is a sampling of the works that are usually available. Try Amazon if you can’t find him in your local bookstore.

    Here is the Wikipedia article on him if you want some background in his life. Nikos Kazantzakis. If you want even more info go here Nikos Kazantzakis.

    He ties in nicely with my series on Greek (mainly Lefkadian) poets as he happened to have not only met Angelos Sikelianos, but the 2 became great friends along with Angelos’s wife Eva Palmer-Sikelianos.

    This is the first post in the Greek author series.

    Panos Kanezis

    Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

    Do you have any favourite novelists?

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Lefkada Hearn – Lefkadian poet

    Lefkadia Hearn Lefkádian National Gallery
    Lefkadia Hearn Lefkádian National Gallery

    (Patrick) Lefkáda Hearn or Paddy Hearn as he is also called is another famous Lefkás poet that also made a life for himself that is well documented in an exhibition dedicated to him in the Cultural Centre. It’s free to enter and it’s open 8am-3pm every day.

    He lived in many places during his life including Britain, Cincinnati and New York in the United States, the Caribbean and finally settling in Japan. He loved Japan to the extent he also has a Japanese name Iakumi Koizumi.

    These pictures are upstairs in a room dedicated to Takis P Efstathiou at the Cultural centre. It’s a part of the floor dedicated to the yearly folklore festival not in his exhibition downstairs. This next image is why.

    Lefkáda Hearn taught English and literature while he was living in Japan and wrote many books about Japanese fairytales. He was quite a prolific author and there are copies of all of his work on display when you visit.

    He converted to Buddhism while he was over there and married a Japanese wife Setsuo. The couple had 4 children together, 3 boys and 1 girl. He died relatively early in life at 53 having been complaining of heart and chest trouble.

    This is a poem dedicated to him inside the Takis P Efstathiou room mentioned earlier.

    This is a statue by his Japanese great granddaughter to commemorate his life.

    He is another poet that has a statue in the waterfront garden in Lefkás town known as Poets square.

    He has a picture of himself in the Lefkádian National Library Here are directions to the Lefkás town museums including the Lefkadia Hearn exhibition.Lefkadia Hearn Lefkás National Gallery

    Lefkadia Hearn Lefkás National Gallery

    Finally he has a street named after him in Lefkás town completing the trinity of statue, museum and road.

    Here is what Wikipedia has to say on the matter which is woefully inadequate once you have absorbed all of the material on offer at the Cultural centre which is what I have now done. Lefkadia Hearn.

    This is the third of my posts on famous Greek but mainly Lefkádian poets as I have also covered :-

    Aristotle Valaoritis,

    C F Cavafy,

    Angelos Sikelianos,

    The bonus post is one on Sappho by Sententiae Ancientae.

    Other series include Greek Authors, Painters, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Angelos Sikelianos – Lefkadian poet

    I recently went to Lefkás town and while I was there I went to one of its book shops. Inside was a copy of Angelos Sikelianos poems. It’s bilingual so that will be a very useful learning exercise.

    Angelos Sikelianos Lefkádian National Gallery
    Angelos Sikelianos Lefkádian National Gallery

    There is also an Angelos Sikelianos museum dedicated to him.

    The museum is signposted on the main street and it’s on tourist maps along with Google maps but considering how close it is; I was completely unaware of its location for many years because the sign on the front is flat to the wall so you can’t see it unless your looking at it. In addition to this, the side that has his signatures on it is in the opposite direction but they might have a new sign outside advertising its location if your lucky but you gotta look up. This covert style of advertising is like how you discover most of the treasures in Lefkás. You have to know they are there to find them. If your just idly looking for something to do then your probably not going to find it as they wish to keep everything for themselves and you can’t blame them as Lefkás is a relatively undiscovered jewel.

    To show the Angelos Sikelianos effect here, he has his picture in the Lefkádian National Library, Angelos Sikelianos Lefkádian National Library

    Angelos Sikelianos Lefkádian National Library

    there is a street in both Lefkás Town and Nidri, which is a nearby village, named after him. In addition there is a square on the entrance to the island called Poets square where there is also a statue of him. Plus he has his own square next door.

    With his first wife Eva Palmer-Sikelianos together they organised the 1st and 2nd Delphic festivals in Lefkás in 1927 and 1930. It was so costly despite her American background and connections that they couldn’t afford to do it again. She went back to New York where she was from for a long time to promote awareness and gather funds. She stayed until his death as the US authorities prevented her from leaving. They also didn’t allow the awarding of the Nobel prize in literature to himself on several occasions in the 1950’s.

    He was great friends with Nikos Kazantzakis and there are quotes attributed to him inside the museum. The three of them shared a house on the south of the island together. Another compatriot was George Seferis who is also quoted.

    For the view of a Greek who isn’t Lefkádian look here Angelos Sikelianos.

    This is the third of my posts on famous Greek but mainly Lefkádian poets.

    Aristotle Valaoritis,

    C F Cavafy

    Lefkadia Hearn

    The bonus post is by Sententiae Ancientae on Sappho.

    Other series include Greek Authors, Painters, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

    Does your country have any similarly respected poets?

    Best wishes

    Angela