[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

The Editing of Volume III of the SD

Sep 08, 2003 03:58 PM
by Daniel H. Caldwell


Here is what I wrote in my essay on the Third Volume of THE SECRET 
DOCTRINE about the editing of that volume:

"Nevertheless, some students of HPB's writings have voiced concern 
about how much Besant and her assistants may have edited the 
manuscript. James M. Pryse in a review of the third volume of The 
Secret Doctrine (Theosophy, New York, September 1897, 314-6) wrote:

'If it had been printed as H.P.B. wrote it, then Theosophists 
generally would have prized it; but Mrs. Besant and others having 
edited it, they will regard it with a just suspicion.'

(It should be noted that, some thirty years later, Pryse reversed his 
view on this subject.)

Another personal student of HPB's, Alice Leighton Cleather (H.P. 
Blavatsky: A Great Betrayal, l922, 75), testified:

'It so happens that while it [Volume III] was being set up [for 
publication] I was able actually to peruse one or two of the familiar 
long foolscap sheets which H.P.B. always covered with her small fine 
hand-writing. They were mutilated almost beyond recognition, few of 
her sentences remaining intact; and there were 'corrections'.'

More recently, Nicholas Weeks, who helped in the preparation of the 
manuscripts of volumes 13, 14, and 15 of HPB's Collected Writings, 
has expressed similar concerns to me (private correspondence):

'When we were working on BCW 14 we found many differences or changes 
between the "First Draft" [the Wurzburg Manuscript] and "SD III" 
[1897]. Some of the most radical are included in the Index to 14. 
see "Wurzburg MS Interpolations." On pp. 104 & 266-67 of BCW 14 are 
two examples of HPB's typically sharp criticisms of the Roman 
Catholic Church that did not appear in "SD III" [ 1897]. I find it 
impossible to believe that HPB deleted them, or approved of their 
removal. Thus the question arises, how many other "corrections" 
and "innovations" were made that HPB would not have permitted?. . . 
Without the "Wurzburg MS" there would have been not even a clue as to 
any tampering having occurred.'

The issue of the editing of the manuscript of Volume III (1897) needs 
to be carefully researched in the future."

Quoted from:

Mauri, you might want to peruse my whole essay:

"The Myth of the 'Missing' Third Volume of The Secret Doctrine"


Daniel H. Caldwell


[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application