[ilds] The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 15 19:59:45 PDT 2011

Everyone will recall that Durrell's precursor to The Alexandria Quartet was his projected Book of the Dead.  According to Ian MacNiven in his biography of LD, Durrell began his study of the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead on Corfu (Lawrence Durrell:  A Biography [London 1998], 153-54).  That was the E. A. Wallis Budge translation.  MacNiven based this assertion on Durrell's letter to Miller, ca. late March 1937.  So,

1.  Does anyone dispute this date?  I.e., is this in fact the beginning of Durrell's interest in the Book of the Dead?  It seems reasonable to assume that he had already begun his studies on the Book of the Dead in London, at the British Museum, which has a first-class collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts.  Yes?  No?

2.  Does anyone have an opinion on how Durrell became interested in this esoteric material?

3.  Do Durrell's notebooks shed any light on these questions?  Charles?  James?

4.  Is there any discussion of this issue in the scholarly material?  I haven't found it so far.  If so, citations, please.

A lot of questions.  I'd appreciate any assistance.  I'm working on this topic.  Many thanks.

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