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Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990), author of The Alexandra Quartet, was a writer with a foot in two worlds. His childhood in India and life in France and Greece provided him with an ability to absorb many traditions, all of which are evident in his work. Proficient in several forms of the written word - novels, poetry, travel writing, essays, drama - Durrell's best-known work fused Western notions of time and space with Eastern metaphysics.
Very little has been written about Durrell's work before the Second World War. With A Smile in His Mind's Eye, Ray Morrison seeks to redress this neglect. While French symbolism and the writings of Remy de Gourmont and Arthur Schopenhauer were important to the development of Durrell's writing, it was his embrace of Taoism that truly illustrated a shift from a Western, patriarchal consciousness to that of an Eastern, feminine-centred one and marked Durrell's coming into his own as a writer.
In the years before Durrell's death, Morrison became a close acquaintance of the writer, giving A Smile in His Mind's Eye a personal element unseen in most other scholarly analyses. The work is essential to understanding one of the twentieth century's most original and eclectic minds.