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Judge Rules Durrell Diaries Can Be Published

July 27, 1991

LONDON (AP) _ A High Court judge on Friday rejected an attempt by the widow of Lawrence Durrell to block publication of extracts from the diaries of the writer’s late daughter.

Eve Durrell, the deceased novelist’s second wife, tried to prevent publication of the diaries in a literary magazine after previously published allegations that her husband and daughter, Sappho, had a short-lived incestuous affair.

The extracts are due to be published in the September issue of Granta.

Granta bought publication rights from Barbara Robson, a friend and former neighbor of Sappho, who claimed that Durrell’s daughter gave them to her shortly before she committed suicide and asked her to ensure they were published after her father died.

Sappho Durrell hanged herself at the age of 33 in 1985, following the breakup of her marriage. Her father died last November when he was 78.

Eve Durrell told the court she was ″devastated″ by allegations about the incestuous affair made by Robson and published in the British press.

She sought an injunction banning further publication of the diaries pending a hearing of her claim that she alone owns the right to publish her daughter’s work as sole beneficiary in her will.

The claim is disputed by Robson, who said she and her husband were named as executors by Sappho Durrell in another will.

The court heard of evidence that Sappho’s work was of high literary merit.

Writer Salman Rushdie, who is in hiding because of a death order issued against him by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, said in an affidavit she was a writer of ″considerable talents, great honesty and no little courage.″

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