Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Cursed Manuscripts

The Egyptologist and Classicist Hugh Evelyn-White was involved in archaeological exploration in the Nitrian region of northern Egypt in the first half of the twentieth century. His labors brought him into contact with a number of monasteries in the region, and, as a result, he brought back a considerable number of manuscripts to Britain. White attracted the attention of a young lady whose love drove her mad and resulted in her suicide. Grief overtook White, who supposedly had conducted himself in a respectable fashion, and he killed himself with a firearm. In the time leading up to his own death, White wrote:

Things are no better, rather worse and likely to be worse. I shall never again laugh at the threats written in those MSS.: they have got me all right, and it seems likely they have not done with me yet. I had leave from the Abbot to carry those MS. leaves to Cairo, remember that, but the other monks told me it would be on my head, and so it has proved (Add. MS. 45690, fol. 63).

Gerald Bonner, 'The Crum Papers' The British Museum Quarterly 29 no. 3 (1964): 59–67 (63).

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