[ilds] The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Wed Aug 17 09:45:47 PDT 2011

Regarding Jung and Freud, watch too the timeline...  Durrell did have a 
brief correspondence with Jung, but I think for the period you're 
looking at other psychoanalytic sources would be more useful: Freud, 
Graham Howe, Otto Rank, etc.  I suspect you're prior to his interests in 
Jung and Groddeck, the latter of whom first appeared during the Balkan 
period.  I don't know when Jung first entered LD's radar, but 
establishing a "no later than" date would be fairly easy.  Howe was a 
short-lived interest as well.

In making some of these queries about books, we should be mindful of 
when he might have been looking at them almost as much as what he was 
looking at.  He had an early interest in Theosophy or at least in 
Theosophists, but that doesn't last.


On 16/08/11 10:15 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
> Merrianne,
> Good to know I'm not alone in the curious pursuit of LGD's Egyptological
> interests. I once said he had very little, if any, interest in ancient
> Egypt. I'm beginning to think otherwise, although I don't think the
> evidence is obvious. Yes, Budge's translation of the /Book of the Dead/
> is, as one scholar put it, "antiquated." That translation, however, is
> the one Durrell read and was the source of his inspiration. So, I want
> to try and recover what that experience meant to him. Freud's small
> collection of Egyptian antiquities (esp. those seen in the photos of his
> office in Vienna) are entirely relevant to the culture of the times (I'm
> thinking of the Egyptian Revival) — and such photos may have indeed been
> the source of Durrell's interest. Thanks — that hadn't occurred to me.
> Re Egyptology in psychoanalysis, I think Durrell was closer to Jung than
> Freud — the "collective unconscious," among other things. Thanks again
> for the response, and I'd like to see what you're working on, whenever
> appropriate.
> Bruce
> On Aug 16, 2011, at 7:43 AM, timlot at comcast.net
> <mailto:timlot at comcast.net> wrote:
>> Bruce,
>> I have also been working on this topic - but from an Egyptological
>> perspective. You probably know that Budge's translation of the Book of
>> the Dead (popularized and perpetrated 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
>> throughamazon.com <http://amazon.com>).
>> Also, are you familiar with Freud's interest in collecting
>> antiquities, including Egyptian objects?
>> Merrianne
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> *From:*"Bruce Redwine" <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
>> <mailto:bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>>
>> *To:*"Durrell list" <ilds at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>>
>> *Cc:*"Bruce Redwine" <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
>> <mailto: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.
>> Bruce
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