ISLANDS OF THE MIND

The Durrell Library of Corfu announces

a major literary and scientific symposium

ISLANDS OF THE MIND

Corfu, Greece

24-28 June 2019

with the participation of

  • Godfrey Baldacchino (Professor of Sociology, University of Malta; UNESCO co-chair of Island Studies, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada; author/editor of many books on island studies including the forthcoming Routledge International Handbook of Island Studies)

  • Lee Durrell (Director, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust; widow of Gerald Durrell)

  • Joanna Hodgkin (novelist, biographer of her mother, Nancy Durrell: Amateurs in Eden: the story of a Bohemian marriage – Nancy and Lawrence Durrell)

  • Rony Alfandary (psychoanalyst, Bar-Ilan University, Israel; author of A Psychoanalytic Study of Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet: Exile and Return)

  • Ravi Nambiar (India; author of Indian Metaphysics in Lawrence Durrell’s Novels)

  • Anthony Hirst and Vera Konidari (respectively publisher and biographer of Theodore Stephanides).

This will be the most significant gathering for many years of experts on the lives and works of Lawrence Durrell, Gerald Durrell and Theodore Stephanides and on the writers of Corfu. It will focus on:

  • the psychology of “islomania” – the “affliction of spirit” for those “who find islands irresistible”1

  • the study of islands as a microcosm of biodiversity

  • modern prose writers in and about Corfu, from Edward Lear and Sophie Atkinson2 to Konstantin Theotokis,3 Lawrence Durrell, Gerald Durrell,4 Theodore Stephanides5 and Spyros Plaskovitis.6

Talks by the featured speakers will be followed by open discussion.

Meetings will be held in the Solomos Museum, the former home of Dionysios Solomos (1798-1857), the founder of modern Greek poetry and author of the Greek national anthem “Hymn to Liberty”. The house has been faithfully restored by our hosts, the Society of Corfu Studies.

For one session, we will travel by caïque (traditional fishing vessel) from Corfu Old Port to the White House (Lawrence and Nancy Durrell’s home at Kalami) with an opportunity for swimming at the “Shrine of St Arsenius”.

The Durrell School/Library has always attracted the enquiring and adventurous mind, welcoming its guests into a community of intellectual excitement. We are confident that this symposium will provide stimulus for all participants across a range of literary, biographical and scientific issues.

Convenors: William Apt (Attorney at Law, Austin, Texas); Vera Konidari (Society of Corfu Studies and biographer of Theodore Stephanides); Richard Pine (Director, Durrell Library of Corfu and author, Lawrence Durrell: the Mindscape).

Places are limited. If you wish to participate in ISLANDS OF THE MIND, please contact us at: durrelllibrarycorfu@gmail.com

1L Durrell, Reflections on a Marine Venus.

2E Lear, Journal of a Landscape Painter in Greece and Albania  (1851); S Atkinson, An Artist in Corfu (1911).

3K Theotokis, The Life and Death of Hangman Thomas (1920/2016), Slaves in their Chains (1922/2014), Corfiot Tales (1935/2017).

4L Durrell, Prospero’s Cell (1945), G Durrell, The Corfu Trilogy (1956, 1969, 1978/2006).

5Th Stephanides, “A Survey of the Freshwater Biology of Corfu” (1948), Island Trails (1973), Autumn Gleanings: Corfu Memoirs and Poems (2011),

6S Plaskovitis, The Facade Lady of Corfu (1995).