Buy Bitter Lemons of Cyprus Main by Lawrence Durrell (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible. Bitter Lemons of Cyprus is Lawrence Durrell’s unique account of his time in Cyprus, during the s Enosis movement for freedom of the. On a Mediterranean island divided, a man finds peace in a time of perilous unrest in this stunning memoirIn , as the British Empire relaxes its grip upon the.
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I have tried to review merely what I thought were the pertinent points to my presentation regarding the fascinating. Bitter Lemons, and have had to limit my purview accordingly. What is the significance of the appearance of these two characters at the beginning of his book? Caterina Cornaro reigned was the last queen of Cyprus.
She was caught up in the political intrigues of the time while still a girl. She was very attractive and the inspiration of poets and troubadours, and painted by the great artists of the Renaissance.
Rebellions, assassinations, and personal hardships, restrictions and intrigue marked the agitated years of her reign.
Finally Venice persuaded her to abdicate inciting the vital commercial and political importance of Cyprus to the state, and the growing likelihood of a Turkish invasion, hard for a woman to handle. She left with an afflicted soul. In compensation she was allowed to retain her royal title, a state pension, and a small, elegant dominion at Asolo in the Alpine foothills of Venetian territory.
There in that golden exile she had a small but brilliant court frequented by poets and philosophers, artists and musicians. Durrell depicts Caterina in the following gracious way:. In the only portrait I have seen the eyes are grave and beautiful, full of impenitent life of their own; the eyes of a durrlel who has enjoyed much adulation, who has travelled much and loved much.
The eyes of one who was not narrow enough, or self-seeking enough to trespass on the domain of politics without losing at the game. But the eyes of a true woman, not a phantom. Famagusta was the only town to resist the Turkish attack for as long as eleven months. It was not captured by storm, but forced to capitulate owing to a total shortage of provisions.
His defence of Famagusta against the Turkish general Mustafa ranks among the great feats of military leadership in the whole of European history… When at last the pitifully small forces of the besieged were forced to parley they agreed to surrender on condition that they were given a safe passage lawtence Crete. Mustafa broke his word, and no sooner was Bragadino in his power than he unleashed upon his person and that of his captains all the pent-up fury of the religious fanatic….
Bitter Lemons Of Cyprus
Mustafa caused Bragadino to endure all kinds of sufferings and torture. The courage that this brave hero showed throughout his torments was incredible. In the sight of the whole city, he displayed remarkable calmness. Durrell quotes the chronicler Calepio:. But his saintly soul bore all with great firmness, patience and faith… and when their steel reached his navel he gave back to his Saviour, a truly happy and blessed spirit.
I will return to these unfortunate figures at the conclusion of my paper. Venice at dawn, seen from the deck of a ship which is to carry me down through the islands to Cyprus; a Venice wobbling in a thousand fresh-water reflections… Fragments of history… Mentally I held it all, softly as an abstract painting, cradling it in my thoughts — the whole encampment of cathedrals and palaces… the vaporetto on the Grand Canal beats too, softly as a human pulse… The glass palaces of the Doges are being pounded in a crystal mortar, strained through a prism.
Venice will never be far from me in Cyprus — for the lion of St. Mark still rides the humid airs of Famagusta, of Kyrenia. Durrell was conscious of the historical, cultural and linguistic ties that exist between Cyprus and Italy, and with Venice in particular.
These historical ties have their foundations set in ancient times when, in the first century BC, Cyprus became part of the Roman Empire, and soon afterwards, was the first land to be governed by a Christian. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the Venetians ruled Cyprus, and the superb evidence of their presence, the old walls of Nicosia and those of the port city of Famagusta, still exist today.
The linguistic ties can be explained in terms of the structural and lexical similarities between Latin and Greek.
In the language of Dante, the language of one of the influences that have contributed to the rich cultural heritage of their country, the Cypriots find a link with the past.
Durrell is also aware of this when he mentions Dante, a fellow-exile, in a sad, lyrical, evocative scene. Due to its favourable position in the eastern end of the Mediterranean, at a cross-roads of trade and transit between East and West, Cyprus has benefited and also suffered from occupying durrfll Durrell quotes from British Cyprus by Hepworth Dixon A race advancing on the east must start with Cyprus. Alexander, Augustus, Richard, and Saint Louis took that line. A race advancing on the west must start with Cyprus.
Sargon, Ptolemy, Cyrus, Haroun al-Rashid took this line. When Egypt and Syria were of first-rate value to the West, Cyprus was of first-rate value to the West. Genoa and Venice, struggling for the trade of India, fought for Cyprus and enjoyed supremacy in the land by turns. After a new route to sea was found to India, Egypt and Syria declined in value to the Western Nations. Cyprus was then forgotten; but the opening of the Suez Canal leomns suddenly restored her to her ancient pride of place.
The commercial revolution, in which the Venetians were the most active agents, was beneficial to Byzantium, while Venice benefited from the magnificence and majesty of Byzantine architecture and art.
They shared traditions and realities. During the tragic course of its rise and fall the influence of Byzantine culture affected both East and West, and of course, the cultural contribution to Byzantium from Venice and the West is by no means negligible. Greco-Roman antiquities and learning survived through the ages in Byzantium because Byzantium had preserved the heritage of the ancient world. Even when Byzantium fell, her spiritual and political traditions lived on and their influence was felt, not only in those lands which had once been byzantine, like Cyprus, but beyond bittee frontiers of the Empire through a thick network of diplomatic relations, and trade, cultural and artistic exchanges.
Information about Venetian settlers establishing commercial and economic interests in Cyprus is found in several documents dating from the lawremce of the 12th century and attested dkrrell later by bitfer regular passage of ships between Cyprus and Venice.
He seems to concentrate on ideas rather than a sequence of actions or events. Durrell is above all an artist, bigter creator of images, symbols, metaphors, a master of style.
The whole book Bitter Lemons, which I personally find closer to poetry than prose, is full of symbolism. Indeed Durrell moves to poetry altogether when a poem of the same title concludes the work.
In the need for metaphors, connections and relations Durrell typifies a modern approach sharing feelings of disquiet of the avant-garde literary experience.
Bitter Lemons of Cyprus by Lawrence Durrell
Again according to Pine, he had the ability to write novels that were not novels in the accepted sense of the term, texts which brought non-fictional conventions into the world of fiction.
He succeeded in introducing non-narrative elements into is novels. He was praised by his contemporaries; for example T. Eliot cited his first novel as being one of the great hopes for modern English fiction. Sometimes his emotions are not expressed in words, but in facts.
At the very beginning of Bitter Lemons, for example, he reports how he durrel, a book about Cyprus inin the Italian city of Trieste. The inhabitants of the city were fighting for irredentistic reasons, and he discovered the book while the citizens were rioting after a bomb throwing. Durrell says this of the book Bittee paraphrase:. But something more lawwrence this. I felt [ it] was a sort of omen. All that survives the chaos of Trieste and Cyprus are works of art.
The book emphasizes artistic qualities such as harmony and colour, full of musical rhythm and poetic images. His work is shaped with a never-failing sense of aesthetics. The style of his book bears his own unmistakable imprint, his intense sense of durgell the delicate handling of the prose rhythm pleases and charms the reader. Reading Bitter Lemons, we see Durrell as an artist of great erudition: Bitter Lemons is a fascinating book of national culture, class, creed and psychology.
He displays an amazing, deep knowledge of the peculiarities of Italian regional characters when after leaving the city of St. Mark he notes the remarks of a fellow-passenger from Bologna about Venice: This was not so good. A Bolognese is always worth listening to on the subject of wine. The characters of the figures Durrell depicts have no relevance beyond their symbolic identities.
The passenger from Bologna bears the same message in a more straightforward and explicit way. Caterina is depicted as a queen who, like Durrell, loved art, philosophy, kawrence, artists and poets, and was fascinated by the mythical kingdoms of the east; with the cloths of gold, fruit lwwrence spices, the scent of spring, old castles of the crusaders, the beautiful churches, and the goodness of the people of Cyprus.
She loved so much the island for which she suffered so much. But she was overcome by the politics of the time; by forces stronger than her own will. Western powers feared she might prove too weak to hold the island in the face of Turkish and other threats. Bragadino, also fond of Cyprus, fought the invaders but lost Famagusta and his life. He too was overwhelmed by powers greater than himself.
His heroic acts were rendered futile by the fact that the rescuing fleet never arrived. He wrote the story of his experiences on Cyprus between andfirst as a visitor, then as a householder and teacher, and finally as Press Advisor to a government confronted by revolution.
He wanted to find a peaceful place in the mountains where he might meet his fellow-villagers, Greek, Turkish and expatriates, and lempns relaxed conversations about philosophy, art and poetry. He bought a house. He tried to settle in Cyprus. His sojourn became a period of residence, or at least was an attempt to establish himself in that fluid, dynamic, volatile piece of the eastern Mediterranean that is Cyprus.
Lemos he found himself caught in a revolution, and in the gloomy political tragedy that weighed durrelo the island. Durrell had always been a lover of the Mediterranean countries, and of Cyprus he wrote: He lived in Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Cyprus, always looking for the unifying factors ibtter the various cultures in the Mediterranean.
He was fascinated by the Mediterranean idyll and unique place, with its cultural, archaeological, classical and mythological appeal and charm, he was attracted by its culture, its nature, its climate, its past, by its character of land, crossroad between East and West, where elements and philosophies of both West and East found their equilibrium. The strategic position of Cyprus and political events of the time caused the rupture of its aims.
Caterina, Bragadino and Durrell: They all represented occupying powers, and they were all aliens, strangers to Cyprus, bittee if at a later time they came to love her. All of them were disappointed figures in the history of Cyprus. All three came to Cyprus with one purpose or objective, or idea, or goal, but destiny and the political need of rupture thwarted their designs.
Interviews with Lawrence Durrell, New York.