Special Collections

There are four major repositories of material by and about Lawrence Durrell:

  • Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
  • The British Library
  • The University of Victoria
  • l’Université Paris X, Nanterre
  • The University of California Los Angeles

Other significant holdings include:

  • The University of Louisville
  • Wake Forest University
  • The University of Toronto
  • McMaster University
  • The American College of Greece, Athens
  • The University of Tulsa
  • Columbia University
  • The Gennadius Library (in the Seferis papers)
  • The National Library of Canada
  • The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, USA
The two-part SIU holdings can be seen online at Collection 42 and Collection 163. If you have any questions about these Durrell inventories, contact:
Special Collections, Morris Library
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL USA 62901-6623
Phone: (618) 453-2516 or 453-1453

The British Library
A finding list of The British Library’s special collection of Lawrence Durrell material has been placed on the Library’s Modern British website. (Thanks to Dr. Richard Price, Curator, Modern British Collections, The British Library, for making this information available.)

The University of Victoria
The University of Victoria holds several overlapping collections, with the bulk of the Durrell materials tied to the Lawrence Durrell Collection, the Henry Miller Collection, and the Alfred Perles Collection. A large body of material was recently added via the James A. Brigham Collection, new accessions to the Perles fonds, and individual letters from Durrell remain in other collections and fonds as well. The McPherson Library Special Collections also holds an extensive print collection of primary and ancillary materials.

l’Université Paris X (Nanterre)
The University, along with the French Ministry of Higher Education, purchased the books formerly belonging to the Centre d’Etudes et Recherches Lawrence Durrell in Sommières. The library houses a collection of about 2,500 documents that may be of interest to scholars in various fields of research.
The collection includes Lawrence Durrell’s works with some first editions, some privately printed books, and others with annotations and/or color felt-tip pen designs in Durrell’s hand. The library also holds Durrell’s contributions, his prefaces to the works of E. M. Forster and D. H. Lawrence, his articles written for a wide range of magazines from the days in Egypt to a much later period, the scripts of lectures he delivered in various universities, and the texts of a number of interviews. The collection also includes some of Durrell’s handwritten notebooks with colored drawings.
A number of doctoral dissertations in English and French are available, and recently released scholarly publications and books by specialists in Durrell’s work have been purchased or will be acquired soon.

The author’s “personal library” falls into two parts.

  • The “literary” part includes the work of his friends Henry Miller, Richard Aldington, and Anais Nin; T. S. Eliot’s letters; and the works of the authors who influenced him, such as Stendhal, Nerval, Cavafy, Seferis, and Spender.
  • The “background” part contains history books, especially on the Antiquity and the Middle Ages; works on medicine and psychoanalysis; and works dealing with religion and Eastern philosophies. A fairly important number of documents (from which most certainly Durrell drew) deal with the mores, history, and folklore of the Mediterranean world and Provence, where Durrell elected to live since 1957.

There are also a few videos, and recordings of Durrell’s poems read by himself. The library is in Building E, Room E101, University Paris X (Nanterre).
 Office hours are 0900 to 1200 and 1300 to 1700 on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and 0900 to 1200 on Friday.
Telephone: 33 1 40 97 71 71
Fax: 33 1 40 97 56 74
For the searchable catalog of this collection, follow this link to the: http://bld.u-paris10.fr/bibliotheque-lawrence-durrell/bibliotheque-lawrence-durrell-the-lawrence-durrell-library-275717.kjsp?STNAV=&RUBNAV=