“Judith” a novel by Lawrence Durrell
JUDITH is an adventure story set in the last years of the British administration of Palestine. 1945-1948. Two love affairs are woven into the political maelstrom as the state of Israel struggles to be born. It remains a key text to the geopolitics which dominate today’s continuing crisis in the Middle East and especially the tension between Israel and Palestine.
Lawrence Durrell began to write Judith in 1962 in the aftermath of his worldwide success with The Alexandria Quartet. Initially it was a vehicle for a film with the same title, starring Sophia Loren in the title role, with Peter Finch as her lover and Jack Hawkins as the principal British officer. Durrell said of Loren: ” A sweet creature, great dignity and style”. After the launch of the film by Paramount Pictures in 1966, Durrell rewrote the text, dividing the main character into two women: Judith a scientist working on formulate vital to Jewish exploitation of oil reserves, and Grete, who is seeking her child and former husband, a Nazi colonel now working with the Arabs fot the overthrow of the nascent Israeli state.
Although completed by Durrell in the early 1970s, Judith remained unpublished, several versions being stored in an American university archive. It is the latest of these versions, portraying poignant personal circumstances in the context of a political thriller, which has been edited for publication by Richard Pine.
His introduction places the novel in its political context and also in the context of Lawrence Durrell’s oeuvre.