[ilds] The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

timlot at comcast.net timlot at comcast.net
Tue Aug 16 07:43:49 PDT 2011


I have also been working on this topic - but from an Egyptological perspective. You probably k now that Budge's translation of the Book of the Dead (popularized and p erpetrated by Dover Books) is problematical . 

As introductory material in your study, it would be helpful to define the Book of the Dead - a collection of spells (or vignettes) versus a "book" as we know it. You might also find the catalogue of the recent British Museum exhibition helpful - Journey through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, by John H. Taylor (available through amazon.com). 

Also, are you familiar with Freud's interest in collecting antiquities, including Egyptian objects? 


----- Original Message -----

From: "Bruce Redwine" <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net> 
To: "Durrell list" <ilds at lists.uvic.ca> 
Cc: "Bruce Redwine" <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net> 
Sent: Monday, August 15, 2011 9:59:45 PM 
Subject: [ilds] The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead 

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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