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Creator / Gerald Durrell

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He's the one on the right.

"There is no first world and third world. There is only one world, for all of us to live and delight in."

Gerald Malcolm "Gerry" Durrell OBE (7 January 1925 – 30 January 1995) was an English naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author and television presenter. Obsessed with animals, he devoted his life to the conservation of endangered species, and founded the Jersey Zoo and the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust (now called Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in his honour).

Durrell was the author of many books, mostly autobiographical works about his childhood in Corfu and his expeditions to various places in the world, as well as some humourous novels and children's books. His recurring themes are animals with loveable personalities, eccentric and unusual people, and the fragility of nature. He was also the presenter of a handful of radio and television programmes.

He was also the younger brother of Lawrence Durrell, who is best known as the author of the Alexandria Quartet. Lawrence appears as the loud and constantly complaining "Larry" in the Corfu stories.

His notable works include:

Autobiographical books:


Tropes associated with him:

  • Cloudcuckoolander: Almost all people in his books are portrayed as quirky and eccentric.
  • Creator's Oddball: His books are usually comedic stories about animals and eccentric people. However, he also wrote "The Entrance", a straightforward, non-comedic Gothic Horror story, as well as The Talking Parcel, a fantasy book for children.
  • Derailed for Details: In his "Corfu Trilogy", he relates that this was the only way he was able to learn history. His tutor told him all about Lord Nelson's butterfly collection and the names of Hannibal's elephants.
  • Friend to All Living Things: He was obsessed with animals of all size and shape.
  • Green Aesop: The conclusion of most of his books and shows is that nature is beautiful, fragile, and the most important thing a man can do is to protect it.
  • Hilarity in Zoos: Many of his books (most notably, Menagerie Manor and Beasts in my Belfry) take place in a zoo, where a lot of amusing things happen. (A Zoo in my Luggage, despite its title, is not an example: it is about an expedition to Cameroon.)
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: In The Overloaded Ark, local boys whom Durrell was paying for catching animals often brought them badly wounded. It took a lot of lecturing to teach them better, but the case that finally worked was when, right in the middle of such a lecture, a girl brought him three birds in pristine condition. Durrell then proceeded to invoke the trope by explaining this girl is a better hunter than the boys, since these are birds he would buy, and at a very good price. Once they saw how much he paid the girl, wounded catches became a rare exception.
  • Pet Baby Wild Animal: He kept a lot of them as a child, including, for example, an large gull, a scorpion, and an owl (however, his family drew the line at a bear).
  • Unreliable Narrator: His books may be autobiographical, but many details, incidents and scenarios depart from an objective account, mostly for the sake of comedy.
  • Voice for the Voiceless: He often presented himself as the voice for endangered animals.
  • Woken Up at an Ungodly Hour: In The Drunken Forest, an armadillo is brought to the Durrells' house in Paraguay early in the morning, and their interpreter Rafael complains he hasn't promised to act as interpreter at 5 a.m.