Lawrence George Durrell was the son of British parents who had spent all their lives in India and who were themselves the children of British imperial administrators. His grandparents had been stationed in India and his mother claimed that her nationality was Indian by upbringing rather than British by descent. Durrell was to take a similar view of his origins, regarding himself as a cosmopolitan who was British only by passport.
He stayed in England for just over five years, attending a number of boarding schools which he loathed, and felt no attachment to England or the English. Subsequently he lived in France, Greece, - on the island of Corfu, - then in Egypt, Yugoslavia, Argentina, Cyprus, and, finally, in France again. His first published works were poetry, though he is best-known for his novels which are written in highly poetic prose. The Alexandria Quartet received critical acclaim, though, perhaps, more appreciation in Europe than in Britain. It appeared as four loosely-connected novels – Justine (1957), Balthazar (1958), Mountolive (1959), and Clea (1960). Durrell was proposed as a candidate for the Nobel Prize, but, like Graham Greene who was also a contender, did not receive it