English edition  
December  2016
272 pp.
29 b/w illus. 
15X23 cm
ISBN 9789774168000
For sale worldwide



The Life and Afterlife of the Irish Pasha Louise Foxcroft

A fascinating biography of the renowned Orientalist and collector

Based on the personal journals of Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson (1881–1945), Egyptologist, poet, surgeon, soldier, psychic, and noted collector, this candid and charming historical biography tells of Gayer-Anderson’s strange and eclectic life in the final days of the British empire. As a child, he crossed an unforgiving America with his entrepreneurial and eccentric Irish parents. As a man, he immersed himself in the Arab way of life as colonials seldom did; he saw ghosts and witches, sailed the Nile, wrestled Turks and crocodiles, fought at Gallipoli, smoked opium, performed surgery in the desert, gathered and cared for artefacts and boys in his Cairene home, survived an assassination attempt and, in the name of science and Henry Wellcome, in flowery glades he boiled the flesh from the skulls of Nuba warriors. His personal journals are filled with frank accounts of his exploits and of the illustrious and colorful people who wandered by: Lawrence of Arabia, Gordon, Kitchener, Conan-Doyle, Eric Gill, and Stephen Spender, among others. Drugs, race, class, family, sex, and selfhood are vividly mixed in this tale of two wars, colonial life, medicine, anthropology, and psychic phenomena. The stiff-upper-lipped ritual of a very British upbringing vied with his Romantic and consuming love of beauty, vividly embodied in the Gayer-Anderson Museum in Cairo, which to this day houses his vast collection of carpets, furniture, glassware, and other curios.

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Louise Foxcroft is a prize-winning historian and Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge. She has published six books, and has appeared on television and radio. www.louisefoxcroft.com

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“Gayer-Anderson is a fascinating figure, his name commemorated today in the form of the ancient Egyptian cat sculpture that he gave to the British Museum—the Gayer-Anderson cat. So it is good to have an exhaustive biography at last of this remarkable man.”—Penelope Lively

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