My first thanks must go to my wife, Olivia, who has been an excellent proof- reader and collater and who made the greatest number of helpful suggestions concerning the manuscript.
Two friends who read the book at an early stage and took extreme pains
to be helpful, and devoted much of their time to writing out or explaining to
me at length their lists of specific suggestions, are Adrian Berry of the London
Telegraph, and Michael Scott of Tangier. The latter gave meticulous attention
to details which few people would trouble to do with another's work.
This book would never have been written without the material concerning
the Dogon having been brought to my attention by Arthur M. Young of
Philadelphia. He has helped and encouraged my efforts to get to the bottom
of the mystery for years, and supplied me with invaluable materials, including
the typescript of an English translation of Le Renard Pale by the anthropologists
Griaule and Dieterlen, which enabled me to bring my survey up to date.
Without the stimulus and early encouragement of Arthur C. Clarke of
Ceylon, this book might not have found the motive force to carry it through
many dreary years of research.
My agent, Miss Anne McDermid, has been a model critic and adviser at
all stages. Her enthusiasm and energy are matched only by her penetrating
intuition and her skill at negotiation.
Others who have read all or part of this book and who made helpful
suggestions of some kind are Professor W. H. McCrea of the Department of
Astronomy, University of Sussex, John Moore of Robinson & Watkins, Brendan
O'Regan of the Stanford Research Institute, Edward Bakewell of St Louis,
and Anthony Michaelis of the Weizmann Institute Foundation.
I am indebted to Adrian and Marina Berry for bringing me into touch with
A. Costa, and to A. Costa for generously supplying his splendid photographs
of the Dogon, some of which appear in this book, and also for his introduction
to Mme Germaine Dieterlen. I am indebted to Mme Dieterlen for giving her
permission and the permission of the Societe des Africainistes of Paris (of which
she is Secretary-General) to publish in English the entire article 'Un Systeme
Soudanais de Sirius', which Mme Dieterlen wrote in collaboration with the
late Marcel Griaule.
Among those whom I have consulted on specific points in my research and
who have been extremely helpful are Geoffrey Watkins, Brigadier R. G. S.
Bidwell, O.B.E., the Hon. Robin Baring, James Serpell, Seton Gordon,
Herbert Brown, and Robert and Pauline Matarasso. I am also indebted for
help or encouragement of varying kinds to Fred Clarke, Professor Cyrus
Gordon, Robert Graves, Kathleen Raine, William Gunston, Professor D. M.
Lang, Professor Charles Burney, Professor O. R. Gurney, Dr Irving Lindenblad,
Dr Paul Murdin, Hilton Ambler, Gillian Hughes, Carol MacArthur, R.
Markham, Richard Robinson, Dr Michael Barraclough, and Angela Earll.
my American editor, Thomas Dunne, have been cooperative, helpful, and
sympathetic. The cartographer Daniel Kitts has cheerfully prepared maps
and diagrams to requirements which were often exasperating. Miss Mary
Walsh showed ingenuity in picture research. Stephen du Sautoy has also been
helpful and shown a great deal of imagination in connection with production
of the British dust-jacket design, allowing the author a considerable say in a
matter which is often barred to him.
I would like to acknowledge indirect debts to the African priests Manda,
Innekouzou, Yebene, and Ongnonlou, without whom the subject for this book
could not honestly be said to exist, since it probably could never have been
formulated. Two early pioneers deserve especial mention: the late Sir Norman
Lockyer, who found ways to consider together the previously separate fields of
astronomy and archaeology, and the late Thomas Taylor of London, who
devoted his life to the translation and exposition of texts which have survived
the centuries of malignity, abuse, book burnings, and slaughter which for two
millennia have been the fate of those who adhered to 'the Great Tradition' -
nor did Taylor himself escape the consequences of his position in pain and
suffering. Thanks are also due to the philosopher Proclus for making public
certain specific allusions to secret traditions which he might have concealed.
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