The British Foreign Office is a timeless institution. "Antrobus" is the embodiment of everything that makes it what it is. His tales of diplomatic misadventure, accompanied by memorable and witty drawings, make a collection to cherish, for as long as the Foreign Office holds sway over far-flung British interests. "Whatever wars there may be and whatever crises, there will still, please heaven, be the diplomatic corps, with its protocol and formalities and a field of humour which I have never seen better used than in these stories". (John Betjeman).
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Lawrence Durrell was born in 1912 in India, where his father was an English civil engineer. As a boy he attended the Jesuit college at Darjeeling, and he was later sent to St Edmund's School, Canterbury. His first authentic literary work was The Black Book, which appeared in Paris in 1938 under the aegis of Henry Miller and Anais Nin. 'In the writing of it I first heard the sound of my own voice... ' he later wrote. The novel was praised by T.S. Eliot, who published his first collection of poems A Private Country in 1943. The first of the island books, Prospero's Cell, a guide to Corfu, appeared in 1945. It was followed by Reflections on a Marine Venus, about Rhodes. Bitter Lemons, his account of life in Cyprus, won the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize in 1957. Subsequently he drew his years in Greece for The Greek Islands. Durrell's wartime sojourn in Egypt led to his masterpiece The Alexandria Quartet (Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive and Clea) which he completed in southern France, where he settled permanently in 1957. Between the Quartet and The Avignon Quintet (Monsieur, Livia, Constance, Sebastian and Quinx), he wrote the two-decker Tunc and Nunquam, now united as The Revolt of Aphrodite. His oeuvre includes plays, a book of criticism, translations, travel writings (Spirit of the Place), Collected Poems, a thriller, White Eagles Over Serbia, and humorous stories about the diplomatic corps. His correspondence with lifelong friend Henry Miller has also been published. Caesar's Vast Ghost, his reflections on the history and culture of Provence, including a late flowering of poems, appeared a few days before his death at home in Sommieres in 1990.From Publishers Weekly:
How the diplomatic corps of the British Foreign Serviceas portrayed in the loosely connected sketches collected in this omnibus volumemanaged to survive until now is one of those mysteries before which the mind boggles. Featuring amiable, deadpan loopy Antrobus as narrator and prototype ("we dips," he says in all innocence of himself and his colleagues), these tales of comic woe, small disasters, goofs, gaffes and misadventures from the ridiculous to the absurd depict the vaudeville of a government bureaucracy. How, for example, the dips could bring themselves to accept an invitation from the Kurdish Embassy to a circumcision (smelling salts, stiff upper lip, stiff drink and sheer courage) is still not fully clear. Durrell's aim is to amuse while he instructs, and he succeeds with unfailing good humor. Pieces from this collection appeared over the years in American magazines, but the individual volumes have never been published here. Illustrations. December
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Faber & Faber, 1985. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110571136028
Book Description Faber & Faber. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0571136028 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0224297
Book Description Faber and Faber, 1985. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0571136028