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G.R.S. Mead & the editing of the 1893 edition of THE SECRET DOCTRINE

Apr 08, 1998 09:03 PM
by Daniel H Caldwell

Dr. A.M.Bain wrote:
> W. Dallas TenBroeck <> writes
> >1n 1893 under the editorship of Annie Besant and G.R.S.Mead a
> >"third and Revised edition of the SD was issued with over 40,000
> >alterations made by them which HPB never saw or authorized. The
> >type was at that time entirely reset.
> I am told by a reliable source (Mr. R.A.Gilbert, Bristol, UK) that
> Mead's contribution to this edition was mainly by way of the verification
> and - where necessary - corrections of HPB's very many notes and
> footnotes, a task for which he was particularly qualified as having been
> HPB's secretary. Other variations in the text and the order of the text
> may be due to Annie Besant's influence - perhaps someone has
> documentation originating from the period(s) in question which can
> throw light on this matter?

Dear Dr. Bain,

First of all we should consult what Mr. Mead HIMSELF wrote about
the part he played in the editing of the 1893 edition of THE SECRET

For example, in an article titled "Facts about 'The Secret Doctrine'"
(THE OCCULT REVIEW, May, 1927), Mead writes:

"I come now to the editing of the revised edition. . . . I am
responsible for by far the major part of this revision of the original
edition of *The Secret Doctrine*, and have no excuse to make except that
I did not execute the task more throughly. . . ."

He speaks of several "classes of errors" in *The Secret Doctrine* which
"perforce had to be corrected by any honest editor." etc. etc.

"Again, sometimes for greater clairty I removed a sentence or
paragraph from text to the notes, or *vice versa*. The English had, of course,
frequently to be revised; and the spelling of words and technical terms,
mostly Oriental in general and Sanskrit in particular, had as frequently
to be corrected. . . .Had I the job to-day, when my equipment is more
extensive and judgment riper, of re-editing this first revision, and had
I the liberty of blue-pencilling out what is plainly untenable, the bulk
of the matter [in the S.D.] would be very considerably reduced. . . . "

Too bad the Mahatmas didn't originally commmision Mead to write The
Secret Doctrine! No doubt, chosing HPB for that task was bad judgment
on the part of the Masters! : )

This is a very interesting article of Mead's and I have only quoted
a few sentences. One should also consult what Mead and other witnesses
wrote CLOSER to the time of the events (1891-1893) when this editing was
being done. etc etc.

Daniel H. Caldwell

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