Correspondence of Idries Shah

Archive Unit

Scope and Content

Idries Shah first met Graves in January 1961, introducing himself as "studying ecstatic religions" and interested in the use of mushrooms by British witches. Friendship, visits to Deya, and correspondence developed, the latter often being dense analyses of Sufi thought and literature. Graves wrote the introduction to Shah's book 'The Sufis' (1964) and both the content and business side of the publication are discussed, as is the poetry of Rumi, the Rubiayyat of Omar Khayaam, the tales of Nasruddin and the Arabian Nights The correspondence also includes family news and news of mutual acquaintances, including: Margot Callas, Alistair Reid, Sonja [Sonya?] Guy and her grandmother [Gerda Guy?], Isla Cameron, Eleni Potaga-Stratu, Ralph Jacobs, Alston Anderson, Keith [Baines?] and Aemelia Laraçuen. The series also contains correspondence from Idries Shah to Beryl Graves, from Graves to Shah and from [Beryl Graves?] to Shah, and a bundle of other material including photographs, ts texts and press cuttings about Shah, his family and his writings.


Arranged chronologically by correspondent, although chronology is sometimes approximate as a number of items are undated.


Canelluñ Collection number: CC0457

This refers to the arrangement of the papers in Robert Graves’ study before they were transferred to the College.

Custodial History

A section of the correspondence from the years 1965 to 1967 was originally filed in a separate sequence; it has been integrated into this series during cataloguing and can be identified by the WG ref CC1600. Two further items are located among the ephemera found within Graves's library: - Ms note from Idries Shah to Graves (nd). 1 leaf. Found in Idries Shah 'Index to Idries Shah's "The Sufis"' [ML-2L-20]. Gives phone numbers. - Ms translation to English of poem by Rumi, with passage in Persian. 1 leaf. Found in Idries Shah 'Tales of the Dervishes' [ML-2L-18].

Related Material

Reference: RG/J/ISBW/1;