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    Sale 5315

    Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts including Modern First Editions

    13 November 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 313

    DURRELL, Lawrence George (1912-1990). Autograph letter signed ('Larry Durrell') to Stefanos Syriotis ('Stephan dear'), Kalamata, Greece, 1 February [n.y.], on headed paper of the Institute of English Studies, one page, folio, Greek stamp lower right.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    DURRELL, Lawrence George (1912-1990). Autograph letter signed ('Larry Durrell') to Stefanos Syriotis ('Stephan dear'), Kalamata, Greece, 1 February [n.y.], on headed paper of the Institute of English Studies, one page, folio, Greek stamp lower right.

    DURRELL WRITES TO THE DEDICATEE OF ONE OF HIS BEST-KNOWN POEMS: Durrell met Stefanos D. Syriotis (1911-86) in Athens in the late 1930s and quickly came to share his love for the unspoilt beauty of the island of Mykonos. The two men spent part of the summer of 1939 together on the island, and Durrell's poem, 'Fangbrand: A Biography' -- published in his first collection for Faber, A Private Country (1943) -- is dedicated: 'To Stephan Syriotis in his island of oblivion, Mykonos'. In the letter, presumably written in February 1941 when Syriotis was serving in Albania ('Now you are somewhere in Albania, heaven knows where'), Durrell regrets that he has not been able to send him his poem ('I wanted to send you the offering in the correct manner, not a typescript'), expresses concern for his well-being ('Greece cannot afford to lose characters like you') and urges him to return to 'the enchanted and luminous island' of Mykonos.

    After the war, Syriotis had a distinguished career in Greek politics and industry, serving as governor of Corfu (1949) and Secretary General of the Ministry of the Interior (1952), before joining the shipping and steel magnate Stavros Niarchos in 1957. In 1956 Durrell introduced him to T.S. Eliot at the Faber offices in London, and the lot includes a copy of Eliot's Four Quartets (1949) INSCRIBED ON THAT OCCASION BY ELIOT in blue ink on the title-page, 'Inscribed to Stephanos Syriotis with the author's compliments', as well as a copy of A Private Country (1944) and a photograph of Durrell and Syriotis together in Athens in 1978 for the publication of Durrell's The Greek Islands, in which he writes warmly about their friendship. (6)


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