Lawrence Durrell in Rhodes – a note

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The newspaper I Rodiaki published an article by E D Papaioannou on 13 September 2005, “The presence of Durrell in Rhodes”. The following is a translation by Vera Konidari.

Dear Editor,

On the 12th of September issue of “Opinion” in the column “Cultural Itineraries” an article was published, entitled: Lawrence Durrell: the Praiser of Rhodes.

The aforementioned article praises the love of the English diplomat and scholar for Rhodes and comments on an excerpt from the book “Alexandria Quartet”. In that same excerpt there is a reference to a guide to the scenery of Rhodes, entitled Marine Venus. Lawrence Durrell had been appointed in the diplomatic service of Rhodes and more specifically in the British News Service of the British Military Administration during the period 1945 – 1947.

When the British arrived in Rhodes on 9th May 1945, we had in mind that except for the spoken language we had also acquired the written Greek language. With that in mind, I – a student of Law – took the initiative of publishing a bi-weekly newspaper under the title: “Country”, subtitled: The best goal is, defending your country”.1

I gave the text for publication to the print shop of Emm. Kritikos. The printing of the two page newspaper, dated 12 May 1945, was ready. However, when Lawrence Durrell was informed about it, he banned the circulation of the newspaper. When Lawrence Durrell was asked after a little while why he had banned the circulation of the Greek newspaper, he gave a humorous explanation:

“After a long and strict fasting period, the immediate feast is always dangerous for the health”.

Thank you for your hospitality.

Best regards,

M. Papaioannou

Supreme Court Lawyer and Writer

1 In Greek it’s a phrase taken from Homer’s iliad: εἷς οἰωνὸς ἄριστος ἀμύνεσθαι περὶ πάτρης (Iliad, 12.243)

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