You can't put a price on heritage

"There is nothing that can be done about poor Greece. We are too poor. We have only a lot of rocks for sale. We can only exist on skillful borrowing." Sounds familiar? No, it isn't contemporary. It's a line from an unpublished novel by Lawrence Durrell, written in the 1960s but set in Greece in the early 1950s.

So not much has changed. When the German tabloid Bild suggested that Greece should sell off Corfu and the Parthenon as part of its asset-stripping, they didn't know that Durrell had foreseen this many years ago: In his novel, a multinational corporation does in fact get control of the Parthenon, in exchange for a "donation to election expenses" to the Greek PM which finds its way to a Swiss bank account.

Durrell had lived on Corfu in the 1930s, in Athens and Kalamata in the first year of the Second World War, and on Rhodes in the transition period 1945-47. His...

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