- In A Province, 1934
- Venture To The Interior, 1951
- The Face Beside The Fire, 1953
- A Bar of Shadow, 1954
- Flamingo Feather, 1955
- The Dark Eye In Africa, 1955
- The Lost World of the Kalahari, 1958
- The Heart of the Hunter, 1961
- The Seed and the Sower, 1963
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, 1983 (reprint)
[Contains the three stories --
-- presented as a single story.]
- A Bar of Shadow
- The Seed and the Sower
- The Sword and the Doll
- Journey Into Russia, 1964
- The Hunter and the Whale, 1967
- A Portrait of All The Russias, 1967
- A Portrait of Japan, 1968
- The Night of the New Moon, 1970
The Prisoner and the Bomb, 1971 (U.S. version)
- A Story Like the Wind, 1972
- A Far Off Place, 1974
- Jung and the Story of Our Time, 1975
- A Mantis Carol, 1975
- First Catch Your Eland: A Taste of Africa, 1977
- Yet Being Someone Other, 1982
- Testament to the Bushmen (with Jane Taylor), 1984
- To the Frontier, 1986
- A Walk With A White Bushman (In conversation with Jean-Marc Pottiez), 1986
- About Blady: A Pattern Out of Time A Memoir, 1991
- The Voice of the Thunder, 1993
- Feather Fall, 1994
- The Admiral's Baby, 1996
- The Rock Rabbit and the Rainbow, Laurens van der Post among Friends, 1998
- Booklets :
- Race Prejudice as Self Rejection, 1957
- The Creative Pattern in Primitive Africa (Eranos Lectures Series, 5), 1957
- Patterns of Renewal, 1962
- Intuition, Intellect and the Racial Question, 1964
- Films / Video Recordings
- Films / Video Recordings About, or That Include, LvdP
- Audio Recordings
- In A Province, 1934 1
`Last year the rain went away. It became very dry.
There was no water and the sun killed all the crops of my father . . . '
Leaving the kraal and the misty Valley fo a Thousand Hills, Kenon has come to Port Benjamin in search of work. In Johan he finds a master -- and a friend. For a time it seems that their unorthodox friendship can break down the traditional barrier between black and white. But storm clouds are gathering, conflicting forces of love and politics that will explode into tragedy.
In A Province was Laurens van der Post's first novel, written with a young man's fire and fury, but tempered by his characteristic wisdom and profound human understanding that have made it a small classic in its treatment of racial conflict in Africa.
- Venture To The Interior, 1951 1
Laurens van der Post, a British citizen who was born in South Africa, knows the terrain and soul of Africa as well as any writer alive. Perhaps the most celebrated of the books to come out of his African experience is this account of an official mission he undertook in 1949 to investigate two little-known regions in Nyasaland (now Malawi). His narrative of the dangerous journey on foot, first through the sinister mountain pass of Mlanje, and then to the summit of the sheer-walled Nyika plateau, is illuminated by the primal beauty of the landscape as well as by a profound spiritual adventure.
"Col. van der Post puts his finger shrewdly on the split in our world's personality . . . And it is this extra adventuring into the `interiors' . . . that makes this testimony of faith the fine thing it is. For its sheer humanity, this is a book not to be missed" --Joseph Henry Jackson, San Francisco Chronicle
- The Face Beside The Fire, 1953 1
- A Bar of Shadow, 1954 1
- Flamingo Feather, 1955 1
This powerful novel fuses the best qualities of Venture to the Interior with a tense story of adventure and intrigue in modern Africa.
Flamingo Feather tells of Pierre de Beauvilliers, a cultured South African of Dutch descent. De Beauvilliers is young and ardent, experienced in war, somewhat withdrawn in peace. He lives comfortably and alone, still attracted to the lovely young English girl who left Africa years before . . . who has never quite gone from his heart.
Abruptly, Pierre's quiet pattern is shattered. The mood of Africa changes. He is catapulted into desperate conflict with an intangible enemy -- a suave, vicious antagonist who makes himself known in strange places by sudden death. A brutal murder . . . a chance clue . . . and Pierre senses a devastating threat to the Africa he loves. He and just one other man have the hunter's instinct, the deep companionship, the love of country that give them an outside chance to crack the conspiracy of terror before irreparable damage has been done.
As the story unfolds, so does Africa before our eyes. Here is the wild and beautiful land; the immensity of bush, forest, jungle, lake, plain and mountain; the vivid animal life; the minds and hearts of Africa's people, come strikingly alive.
The author's experience and knowledge of Africa are extensive. The central theme grows right out of the contemporary world. Though this is fiction, it reads like an authentic personal experience. Back of it all, like the shadow of a giant, is all that Africa has been and may become, seen through the eyes of a master craftsman.
- The Dark Eye In Africa, 1955 1
Laurens van der Post is perhaps the world's most eloquent authority on the peoples and problems of Africa. Here, with a background of history, he examines the racial tensions of that dark continent from the viewpoint of the spiritual and mystical. His observations have the timelessness of true philosophy, but today's world situation gives them a special urgency. Every cultured mind or student of Africa interested in its emergence as a world force should read The Dark Eye In Africa. "If you fail to read it, you will miss one of the most fascinating and profound statements to come out of Africa on the subject of man's bitter war against himself." The New York Times
- The Lost World of the Kalahari, 1958 2 Nature/Sociology
From the time of his boyhood in South Africa, Laurens van der Post dreamed of finding the last of the disappearing mystical people of the Kalahari -- the Bushmen. The opportunity finally came, and van der Post was able to organize an expedition into the interior of the desert, but the trip was not without its hazards, its disappointments, and its surprises. The Lost World of the Kalahari is a "compelling book" (Doris Lessing, New Statesman) and a first-rate account of that grueling but ultimately successful journey through one of the most remote, primitive regions of Africa. For author and readers alike, this is an experience filled with both profound spiritual meaning and intense physical adventure.
"I cannot recall a story more touched with fascination or more curious -- in fact magical." -- Rumer Godden, New York Herald Tribune
"The Lost World of the Kalahari has in full measure that exciting combination of qualities that van der Post has brought to the literature of adventure: a beautiful command of language, an extraordinary psychological awareness, and a spellbinding ability to evoke the sights and sounds and moods of the African interior." -- Charles Rolo, Atlantic Monthly
Also available in its complete form as a book on tape
- The Heart of the Hunter, 1961 2 Nature/Sociology
Laurens van der Post began the tale of this search for the Bushmen, the "first people" of Africa, in The Lost World of the Kalahari. Here, in The Heart of the Hunter, the author continues that quest, displaying once again his passionate concern for Africa, her native people, and the human spirit. Traveling our of the Kalahari's Central Desert, van der Post traverses the splendid terrain of southwestern Africa and finally encounters the Bushmen. It is only at the end of this physical trek that the real journey can begin: once van der Post has found the tribe, he looks deep into the Bushmen's customs and mythological life. The true odyssey of The Heart of the Hunter is into the mind and clandestine culture of a legendary people.
"From the wisdom of these persecuted people the author draws important lessons for `civilized' man . . . The book is written in prose that is close to poetry. There are few on the contemporary scene who write of life around us and the inner being with the perception and intuitive insight of van der Post -- New York Herald Tribune
- The Seed and the Sower, 1963 1
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, 1983 (reprint) 1
This is war as experienced in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp
in Java in 1942, but, above all, war as experienced in the souls of men.
What follows is the story of two British officers whose spirit the Japanese try to break. Yet out of all the violence and misery strange bonds of love and friendship are forged between the prisoners -- and the gaolers. It is a battle for survival that becomes a battle of contrasting wills and philosophies as the intensity of the men's relationship develops.
The novel begins on a Christmas Eve in England. It has been five years since the narrator and John Lawrence were freed from a Japanese prison camp, and their reunion becomes an occasion to remember the most vivid and moving aspects of their experience. Their first reminiscence is of a Japanese prison camp under the brutal command of Hara, who, despite his cruelty, saves John Lawrence's life. They then remember Jacques Celliers, who, feeling he has irrevocably betrayed his brother, acts bravely to forestall a bloodbath and atone for his betrayal. The final episode is the simple story of one night's love between John Lawrence and an unknown girl stranded on a lonely island outpost. Out of the violence and misery of war, John Lawrence and the narrator discover a strange human affinity that transcends culture and binds all mankind.
[ The three sections were originally published separately as A Bar of Shadow, 1954,
The Seed and the Sower, 1963, and The Sword and the Doll, 1963 --ratitor ]
- Journey Into Russia, 1964 2
with a new Introduction, 1974
Journey Into Russia is the extraordinary record of an extraordinary journey into the heartland -- and the hearts -- of the Russian people. Twenty years ago, master storyteller Laurens van der Post travelled thousands of miles across Russia meeting people from every ethnic, educational and occupational background. Wherever he went, he talked and listened, supplementing what he saw and heard with wide reading. The result is this unique book -- a vision, both informed and intuitive, of the people who inhabit more than eight million square miles of the earth. With the ideological warfare between the United States and Russia continuing to escalate, the need for Western understanding of the Russian psyche is more important today than ever before. Journey Into Russia is a beautifully written, highly original book that makes a powerful contribution to this understanding.
Mr. van der Post is a poet and the approach to his essentially spiritual quest is intuitive . . . he has noted and brilliantly illustrated some basic characteristics about the [Soviet] people . . . " -- The London Times
Indispensable reading . . . the most convincing demonstration know to me of the immense size, richness and variety of this fantastic country." -- Edward Crankshaw, author of Cracks in the Kremlin Wall and Khrushchev: A Career
"One of the best storytellers I have ever come across." -- H.R.H. the Prince Charles of Wales
[ The text of this book is not the same as that in A Portrait of All The Russias --ratitor ]
- The Hunter and the Whale, 1967 1
Taking his first trip on the whaler is a young Boer who has traded his skills with those of Larsen, promising him an elephant for each whale captured. As the young man's eagle eyes provide the ship with bounty, he too comes to realize that the struggle against the sea and the exhilaration of the hunt, like the memory of his native land, suffuse the blood.
North from the regions of the Atlantic in summer come the little whaling ships to the great natural harbor of Port Natal, there to hunt the sperm and the blue in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. This unforgettable narrative concerns one such ship, the Kurt Hansen, her colorful crew, and the mortal conflict that eventually develops in their midst.
The time is just after World War I, and the hero is Peter, the young South African spotter, nicknamed "Bright Eye" because of his prowess. The novel follows him through four summers of whaling and enough adventures to fill a lifetime, from that first heart-pounding glimpse of whale blow -- "a poplar of pearl in a mirage of early afternoon flame" -- to the final apocalyptic fall of green water upon the shuddering bows of the Kurt Hansen
Throughout these adventures, the Zulu stoker, 'Mlangeni -- brilliantly portrayed -- is an enlightening companion, but Peter is influenced in particular with his captain. Thors Larsen, a driven, dedicated man, respected but scarcely loved by his crew. And both in line of duty and as a result of his attachment to Laetitia, Peter is chief witness to the struggle for power between Larsen and her father, the great hunter of elephants, Herklaas de la Buschagne, that forms the climax.
Besides a story that goes straight to the mark, The Hunter and the Whale is rich with memorable pictures of the ocean in all mods and of the people of Port Natal, brought to vivid life out of Col. van der Post's firsthand knowledge.
"I rank Laurens van der Post with the best living writers in English" -- Raymond Mortimer
"Laurens van der Post is an adventurous man of action; a masterly prose writer with extraordinarily fine powers of description; and a sensitive explorer of the inner meanings of experience." -- Charles Rolo, Atlantic Monthly reviewing Flamingo Feather
- A Portrait of All The Russias, 1967 1
text by Laurens van der Post, photographs by Burt Glinn A distinguished writer and a distinguished photographer here combine their talents in a sumptuous and penetrating view of the Soviet Union today.
From April to midsummer Colonel van der Post traveled the U.S.S.R. -- by plane, by ship, and by train -- from north to south, from west to east. His journeys always radiating out from Moscow as from the hub of a wheel, he saw this vast land of over eight million square miles from the Ukraine to Central Siberia and, beyond that, to Khabarovsk in the Far East; from Riga and Leningrad to the Caspian and Black Seas. Not only did he see, but he also listened to and talked with the people, and he perceived in that intuitive, almost magical way that is his. Thus, he sensed in the terrain a clue to the Russian character itself, and this dynamic insight proved a principal means of getting behind the fixed mask which he believes the Russian wears.
Burt Glinn traveled separately, yet with the same percipient eye. The result is that the fifty-six magnificent color photographs -- eight of them double spreads -- that he has contributed to this volume not only harmonize with the luminous text; they extend it. How the land stretches out before one's gaze! How deeply one reads the faces of a varied and colorful people -- from the modern city-dweller to shepherds down from the high country to merchants in Tashkent!
Published in the year of the fiftieth anniversary of the Revolution, A Portrait of All The Russias is an extraordinary visual and verbal record of the heartland and the hearts of the Russian people, and a milestone on the road to full Western understanding.
The author and the photographer wish to express their gratitude to Mr. Harry Sions, and to Mr. Frank Zachary, Mr. Lou Mercier, and the late Mr. Ted Pattrick of Holiday magazine for commissioning them for the original assignment out of which the present work has been developed.
[ The text of this book is not the same as that in Journey Into Russia --ratitor ]
- A Portrait of Japan, 1968 1
text by Laurens van der Post, photographs by Burt Glinn
The distinguished collaborators on A Portrait of All The Russias ("an incomparable portrait" -- The New York Times) here celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the Meiji Restoration with an equally resplendent volume on Japan.
Colonel van der Post first visited Japan as a young man in 1926. It was the first country he had known outside Africa; and, as he says, "the impact on [his] innocent senses was overwhelming." Thereafter, for three years during World War II, he was a prisoner of the Japanese. He travelled in the country again in 1960 and indeed has been there since; but it is of the 1960 visit that he writes chiefly of in A Portrait of Japan, for it was then he sought to reconcile his two earlier conflicting encounters -- the bright enchantment of the youthful sojourn; the darkness of the war years. To do so, he deals first with the teeming Tokyo -- the head of Japan, as he terms it; then with Kyoto, its heart and "the capital of the world within"; and finally with the "body" -- for example, Nara, itself once briefly the capital, and Nikku to the north and Kyushu, southernmost of the main islands. Experience over the years thus sharpens his perceptions of the Japanese and gives his insights exceptional depth and significance.
Mr. Glinn has also been a frequent visitor to Japan, most recently in early 1968, and his extraordinary photographs of the land and the people -- whether of the sacred mountain or of a Tokyo street; of nightclub entertainers or of industrial workers -- are both sumptuous and subtle. As in A Portrait of All The Russias, the writer and the photographer find themselves in complete harmony. The result of their collaboration is a book of superlative beauty and impact.
- The Night of the New Moon, 1970 1
The Prisoner and the Bomb, 1971 (U.S. version) 1
`The Night of the New Moon' is August 6, 1945, the end of the day on which the world's first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
At that time Laurens van der Post was in a Japanese prison camp in Java. For him and for the thousands of prisoners in the hands of the Japanese in South-East Asia, the bombing of Hiroshima was not the remote and localised act of war that distance would suggest, but an event which had a direct and profound influence on their fate. In his account of their ordeal Laurens van der Post tells a story that goes beyond the confines of their captivity into the whole human tragedy of Hiroshima and its significance for the history of our time.
It is an extraordinary story. At its heart lies the issue which has worried the conscience of mankind as no other. Both chilling and uplifting as a narrative, it is also taut with dramatic suspense. The life of prisoners of war, as seen by the jailers and themselves, can seldom, if ever, have been portrayed more vividly or movingly.
`An outstanding book . . . I rank Colonel van der Post with the best living writers of English . . . this book confirms my constant admiration, not just for his talent, but for the force of his imagination and the nobility of his mind.' -- Raymond Mortimer
The Night of the New Moon's "Postscript" (pp.149-157) is available here on ratical.
- A Story Like the Wind, 1972 2 Fiction
Laurens van der Post's incomparable knowledge of Africa illuminates this splendid epic novel, set in a remote region bordering the great Kalahari Desert. It is the story of François Joubert, a teen-age boy about to become a man, his experiences with the wonder and mystery of a still-primitive land, and his secret friendship with Xhabbo, the little Bushman whose life he saves. Xhabbo teaches François how the living spirit needs "a story" for its survival and, in turn, saves François's life when the idyllic world at Hunter's Drift is overtaken by the political violence of contemporary Africa, and François, with Xhabbo's help, must chart his own course.
Africa and her secrets resonates in this story and its sequel, A Far Off Place.
" . . . an admirable book . . . a moving, and even noble celebration of wonders that have been lost in the flood tide of African nationalism." -- Julian Symons, (London) Sunday Times
" . . . comes at exactly the right time, when so many of us, particularly the young, are trying to find their way back to the natural and pre-scientific world of which technology has robbed us." -- Clifton Fadiman
"Magic . . . Evokes the legendary, `Merlinesque' Africa the author knew as a child, and sets it on a collision course with contemporary realities." -- New York Times Book Review
- A Far Off Place, 1974 2 Fiction/Nature
van der Post's tale follows young Nonnie and François and their Bushmen companions, Xhabbo and his wife Nuin-Tara, as they confront a thousand miles of the Kalahari Desert -- their only hope of safety lying on the other side. Nor Nonnie and François, both on the brink of adulthood, the trip becomes a pilgrimage of self-discovery as well as an unparalleled adventure.
A gripping novel in its own right and the stunning conclusion to the narrative begun in A Story Like the Wind, A Far Off Place offers a fascinating glimpse into the legendary Africa of Laurens van der Post's own childhood -- an Africa now vanished.
"With a loving mystical awareness of the physical world van der Post creates a compelling vision of small human creatures against a vast landscape . . . an infinitely subtle book." -- Sunday Telegraph (London)
- Jung and the Story of Our Time, 1975 1
Laurens van der Post, the distinguished English-South African writer, is well know in America for his novels and for his remarkable books of travel and memoir. Less well known is the fact that he was, for sixteen years, a very close friend of C. G. Jung's, and it is from this friendship that have come both a remarkable film on Jung and this extraordinary evocation of Jung the man, thinker, and healer.
Jung and the Story of Our Time is unlike any other book written about Jung. Van der Post has been able to evoke Jung with such skill that the reader can feel himself present at the many discussions between the two men. In part, this is because van der Post has used the many hours of interviews conducted for the now famous film, and because he recalls numerous conversations with his friend. But is is because he was so close to Jung, and in many ways so like him, that the relationship between the two becomes part of the description of each of their lives. Van der Post himself emerges as a remarkable and wise guide into the hidden territories Jung sought to explore. He is describing much more than Jung the psychoanalyst. His intent is to place Jung and his work in the context of the lives they shared and in the wider context of man's history. For Jung ranged over all of man's experience, primitive as well as civilized, Oriental as well as European. In order to guide the "modern man in search of a soul," he had to travel far afield, and van der Post traces that journey with extraordinary skill and sympathy.
Those who were close to Jung and who have read this book in manuscript call it the best book that has ever been written on him. Published in time to commemorate the centennial of Jung's birth, Jung and the Story of Our Time is a work that can stand alongside his own Memories, Dreams, Reflections.
"Van der Post is clear, downright, correct, and yet beautiful; in other words, he is a most reliable guide for all those who are interested in C. G. Jung without having known him well personally. In the future they will have to read not only Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections and his letters but most definitely this highly worthwhile book, which reveals so much more than the longer volumes to come ever will."
--Professor C. A. Meier, M.D.
Successor to the Chair of Psychology, created
for and held by C. G. Jung at the Eidgenössische
Technische Hochschule, Zürich.
- A Mantis Carol, 1975 1
`And always mantis would have a dream,'"The key word in this remarkable book is awe. Laurens van der Post is not afflicted by that `certain cowardice' he writes of `in the face of the inexpressible.' Hence he follows a chain of coincidences of a nature far beyond the haphazard arithmetic of chance. Clue after clue assails him; A Mantis Carol resembles a kind of metaphysical-physiological whodunnit.
they told me in the desert. `And the dream
would show him what to do.'
"After he had written The Lost World of the Kalahari, his classic account of the Bushmen of southern Africa, Laurens van der Post received a strange letter from an unknown woman in New York. She wanted his advice about, of all things, a recurring dream, the central feature of which was a praying mantis. The woman was a psychoanalyst and knew that we ignore our dreams, particularly our recurring ones, at our peril. . . . The mantis, she felt, was haunting her for a reason.
"The analyst was called Martha Jaeger. It struck van der Post as strange that she should have a name which meant `hunter' in German. He was currently writing -- with great difficulty -- a book called The Heart of the Hunter. It too was concerned with the Bushmen -- and the mantis, which for them was god.
"Thus begins this account of an episode in van der Post's life which took him to New York and involved his meeting, at one remove, with one of his own Bushmen. Hans Taaibosch, as he was called, had arrived in America via Jamaica, where the little man . . . far from his native Kalahari . . . had become a star circus attraction.
"Van der Post's theory is that the almost exterminated Bushmen constitute a crucial link with our own remotest past: `his conscious mind corresponds in some sort to our dreaming selves' and thus is a mirror for some fo the imponderables which arise from the modern unconscious, between which Taaibosch himself, a man of the Stone Age working the circus circuit in modern America without loss of dignity, makes a physical connection.
"As well as an account of a memorable episode A Mantis Carol is an affirmation of primitive love and meaning, hard to explain except in Jungian terms, but both inspiring and stimulating to read. Van der Post has written a perfect Christmas fable, full of mystery but oddly satisfying."
--from The Sunday Times (London)
"Here Mr. van der Post has come closer than ever to the heart." -- June Goodwin, Christian Science Monitor
"A book of great beauty and of shattering import." -- Alan McGlashan
- First Catch Your Eland: A Taste of Africa, 1977 1
The author's family on his mother's side have been in Africa for more than 300 years and there is hardly a part of this immense continent through which he has not travelled, a lot of it on foot. Here he has written a book which encompasses the whole history of the continent and its present predicaments in a fascinating blend of personal reminiscence, adventure and historical insight; along with details of the entire range of African food, from the barbecued antelope of the primitive Bushman, to the sophisticated pastries developed by the Cape Colonists.
- Yet Being Someone Other, 1982 1
Yet Being Someone Other is the most revealing book that Laurens van der Post has written about his extraordinary and eventful life, and the most far-reaching: it is a distillation of the experiences that have moved him at the deepest level of the imagination and made him the exceptional person and writer he is.
The story starts with his childhood in southern Africa, and the passionate interest in ships and the sea that led him to take part, as a young man, in two voyages of special significance: the first in a whaling ship, with a Norwegian captain whose values and imaginative range unexpectedly nourished his own, and then a long voyage to Japan that not only enriched but enlarged his life. Both are absorbing tales of action and adventure; but more than that, they are narratives of personal discovery that go beyond the storms and happenings of the outside world into the uncharted waters of the world within.
The harmonious blend of the external and the internal, and the paradoxical duality of our being, are nowhere brought out more vividly than in the author's marvelous evocation of Japan as it was fifty years ago, just two generations after it was opened to the West. What he saw and experienced then proved vital later on, and is but one example of the many ways in which his life has been linked with some of the most fateful events of our time. Whether as a soldier in Abyssinia and the Southeast Asian jungle, as a Japanese prisoner of war, or as a mediator in Indonesia and Africa, his presence at the time seemed preordained.
With his deep-rooted sense of the sea, and of the part it has played in man's aspirations and destiny, Laurens van der Post ends his story where it began, at the Cape of Good Hope, lamenting the loss of a line of ships whose tradition dates back to the dramatic discoveries of the Renaissance mariners, but at the same time recognizing a new dimension of hope for the questing spirit of mankind in the constant search for meaning and purpose in life.
"Laurens van der Post must, at the age of seventy-five, have had as interesting a life as any man alive. . . . [This is] a richly complicated book which has the great virtue of almost everything Sir Laurens has written: it is impossible to put down. One can quite easily read it as an adventure/travel story, another glimpse into a most extraordinary life, ignoring the various themes which the author cleverly weaves into a philosophical argument. But nobody, I should imagine, will put down the book without feeling himself -- however incorrectly -- a wiser man. . . . There is nobody alive in whose company I would sooner spend five hours." -- Auberon Waugh, The Sunday Telegraph
"Soldier, seer, mediator, Conradian sea-dreamer with Dutch and French Huguenot blood to enrich the mixture, he has harvested enough experience for several lifetimes and brooded over it in a fine visionary prose. His veneration for the bond with nature, his quest for the secret springs of meaning, his high hopes that the family of man will heal its wounds and rediscover its soul on the way to the stars, his conviction that he has a personal obligation to history command the utmost respect." -- Christopher Wordsworth, The Observer
"Yet Being Someone Other is undoubtedly the most unusual and unplaceable of all the dozen of more books Sir Laurens has written. Like most of them it is heavily autobiographical; but as one would expect from Sir Laurens, it is also much more than that -- a kind of prolonged meditation on the part played in his life and that of the post-Renaissance modern world by ships and the sea." -- Christopher Booker, The Times
"Sir Laurens, restless traveller of the globe and explorer of the heart of Africa, has here set down his sea voyages, like the Ancient Mariner. But, since he is a mystic, his real voyage is an interior one, seeking to understand his own nature and the place of man in the cosmos. . . . You cannot choose but listen to a man with an urgent and noble quest. Those who an share it will have their fill in this book not only of the wonders of the deep but of the mysteries of the Deeps." -- Peter Lewis, Sunday Mail
- Testament to the Bushmen (with Jane Taylor), 1984 1
Testament to the Bushmen bears witness to the present plight of the Bushmen of the Kalahari. It is also a voyage of rediscovery for Sir Laurens van der Post whose earliest memories are of these gentle, storytelling people. In the long meditation with which he concludes this book, Sir Laurens sees the Bushmen as both a delightful, intelligent people in danger of destruction and, more profoundly, as `frontier scouts' on the borders of the unconscious. For Sir Laurens, the Bushmen represent the primitive in man which we strive so successfully and so tragically to hide behind the mask we call civilization. In a more significant sense the destruction of the Bushmen is the destruction of the best in all mankind.
When Sir Laurens first knew the Bushmen, their mythology and customs were still a living force. The Bushmen attitudes were expressed in their pattern of life and in the rock paintings of their ancestors. But things are very different today.
In a moving documentary account, Jane Taylor records factually and in detail the life of the Bushmen. She describes how traditionally they lived and painted all over southern Africa. She goes on to show how life is changing for them in their last refuge in the Kalahari Desert: how they are abandoning their nomadic hunter-gatherer existence, while retaining much of their ancient dance and ritual. Testament to the Bushmen is the story of a people who are in danger of becoming a forgotten race.
Illustrated with 48 pages of colour photographs (most by Jane Taylor), Testament to the Bushmen is associated with a major television series of the same title, directed by Paul Bellinger, produced by Jane Taylor and presented by Sir Laurens van der Post.
Laurens van der Post was born in South Africa in 1906 but has lived in England for many years. He served with distinction in the British army during the Second World War in the Western Desert, Java and Sumatra, and was a Japanese prisoner-of-war for some three-and-a-half years.
Since 1949 he has taken part in a number of expeditions to little-known parts of Africa, including Government and other missions to the Kalahari Desert. . . .
Jane Taylor was born in Malaya (as it was then), but from the age of nine grew up on a farm in Sussex. After university in Scotland she taught history for two years before moving into publishing. After five years of this, bitten by the travel bug, she went to live in Istanbul for eighteen months, during which time she took to journalism and photography, and was accidentally picked up by the BBC to research their six-part series, The Gates of Asia, and to act as interpreter for the film crew.
Since then she has maintained a treble life in television, writing and photography which has fulfilled her wanderlust and taken her to China, India, Nepal, Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and -- most recently -- southern Africa. She added Zulu to the languages she already spoke (most of them with awesome incompetence) in order to record the life story of a remarkable old Zulu conservationist; and then in 1982 started work on Testament to the Bushmen, a series of six half-hour programmes for television. She is now plotting a return to the Kalahari to make a full-length feature film for the cinema.
- To the Frontier, 1986 1
- A Walk With A White Bushman (In conversation with Jean-Marc Pottiez), 1986 1
Whether writing or speaking, Laurens van der Post has that rare ability to rouse the imagination and reach to the soul, to enlarge horizons, even to change people's lives. No one knows this better than Jean-Marc Pottiez, a fellow "Euroafricasian" (as he calls the author, with whom he shares a deep-rooted attachment to Europe, Africa and Japan) and the prime mover of this book. It was he who initiated the series of spontaneous discussions that form its core, and he who drew from Sir Laurens this fluent, fascinating and pointed commentary on many of the key issues and personalities of our time.
The result is a book brimming with ideas, insights, people and events; at once thoughtful and exciting, mellow yet full of promise, autobiographical but also topical. For all the apparent diversity of its elements -- world leaders, writers, tribes-people, politicians, intriguing stories of human and animal life -- they are held together by Laurens van der Post's distinctive and cohesive vision. All form part of a whole, a positive, healing, unifying outlook that is sustained by a strong set of values forged from a lifetime of intense experience and challenge.
For those who have never ventured with Laurens van der Post before, A Walk With A White Bushman offers a tempting preamble to many longer explorations. For those who have, it offers the kind of renewed inspiration of which there can never be too much.
Laurens van der Post was born in South Africa in 1906, the thirteenth of fifteen children in a family of Dutch and French Huguenot origins. Both in peacetime and in war, his has been an extraordinary and eventful life, and one of great significance for our time. . . .
Jean-Marc Pottiez was born in Congo Kinshasa in 1936 and spent his early years in West Africa. He was educated in France and worked as a United Nations military specialist in Korea and Tokyo before joining the the French Broadcasting System, first as a correspondent (including a period as special war correspondent in Vietnam and Cambodia) and later as director and producer. He now works as an audiovisual and communications expert at the United Nations University in Tokyo.
- About Blady: A Pattern Out of Time A Memoir, 1991 2
Sir Laurens van der Post's extraordinary life has encompassed expeditions in Africa, years as a Japanese POW during World War II, service with Lord Mountbatten in Indonesia, and extensive worldwide travel. Combining these rich experiences with the myriad influences on his thinking -- which range from Carl Jung, with whom he shared a close friendship, to the African Bushmen, whose culture he has studied and admired, to Zen Buddhism -- van der Post has produced this profound memoir.
Sir Laurens selectively recalls events in life -- some joyful, some tragic -- and, in revealing the connections between them, provides the framework for an exploration into the human spirit, the ills that torment it, and the forces that keep it alive. The "Blady" of the title -- a horse discovered plowing a field in Provence who becomes a Grand Prix jumper -- serves as a perfect symbol of van der Post's belief in the power and the coherence of life's seemingly random events.
- The Voice of the Thunder, 1993 1
From the beginning, Laurens van der Post has been aware of a dimension in life far larger and more significant than the outer eventfulness of everyday living. Whatever the demands on him during his long and distinguished career in many parts of the world, he has never lost his instinctive sense of life's preeminent role, its overriding purpose and awesome continuity, and the ultimate wisdom lodged in its keeping.
His perception of life's mysterious power began with the Bushmen, the first people of his native Africa. It grew in the universal imagery of dreams, the fertile legends and stories of ancient civilization, the intuitive teaching of prophets, poets, and other pioneers of human awareness, among them Carl Gustav Jung, explorer of mankind's "collective unconscious".
In this book he has brought together tow of his most deeply felt and far-reaching essays, reissued here as "The Little Memory" and "The Great Memory," in which he began to explore the concept of life's overall pattern. He has extended their message in a new chapter of great imaginative insight in which he traces the "Odyssean pattern" that exists in the unconscious of every human being -- the potential in all men and women to acquire self-knowledge, to fulfill their individual destiny, and to live life according to its fundamental precepts.
The Voice of the Thunder is an urgent manifesto for renewal in the human spirit, a clarion call for recognition of life's great imperatives, and a stirring vision of hope for a world increasingly divided, blinkered, and adrift.
"This is a most precious book in which a much-loved writer has bequeathed to us his life's treasure. But then Laurens van der Post is so much more than a writer. He is a light-bearer of wisdom in our dark world, who, seeing the worst, does not abandon hope." -- Resurgence
- Feather Fall, 1994 1
Edited by Jean-Marc Pottiez
A lifetime of writing that reflects the far-ranging ideasThis evocative and thought-provoking selection from the writings of Laurens van der Post distills the essence of the writer, thinker, philosopher, and man of action. It takes the reader on a trail of discovery through the themes and patterns, the ideas and passionate concerns which have informed his life and his work, from his childhood in Africa and his experiences in wartime Japan, to this thoughts on war and forgiveness, the Bushman, and the storyteller, Jung and the dreamer, the endangered planet, history and memory, masculine and feminine, "the wonder and the mystery."
and extraordinary experiences of Laurens van der Post
Feather Fall is thematically arranged with insight by Jean-Marc Pottiez to show how these diverse elements in the life of Laurens van der Post form a continuum. In a sense this selection becomes the autobiography that van der Post has never chosen to write. The title -- taken from an African fable about the search for truth -- aptly echoes the lifelong focus of his work.
Van der Post's devotees will rejoice in his collection, which brings back into print much of his earlier celebrated writing.
Jean-Marc Pottiez has worked as a journalist and critic for the French, Japanese, and international press. He served as a war correspondent in Vietnam and Cambodia and among many accomplishments directed the Far East office of the French broadcasting system in Tokyo. He is the co-author, with Laurens van der Post, of A Walk with a White Bushman.
- The Admiral's Baby, 1996 2
A True Account of One Man's Great Courage andAs adviser to the Allied Forces, Laurens van der Post played a little-known but key role in maintaining peace in Indonesia at the end of World War II. The story, told here for the first time, begins in August 1945 (two weeks after the horror of Hiroshima) and immediately following the author's release from a brutal Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in Java. He stands watching his fellow prisoners, emaciated and sick, but free at last, disappearing on the way to Batavia and home.
Dedication Far Beyond the Call of Duty
As the most senior British officer in Indonesia, van der Post, although weak and exhausted, remains at the request of the Japanese who are charged by their High Command with total responsibility for the lives and well-being of all ex-prisoners and internees pending the Allied troops' arrival. They are also under orders to use their arms to protect the Dutch from Indonesian nationalists opposed to their country returning to Dutch rule. The Japanese have sought van der Post's guidance in these efforts. Overnight he finds himself in the bizarre position of overseeing the same enemies who for three and a half years held him in such brutal captivity.
In this unexpected new role of peacemaker, van der Post not only built up a remarkable position of trust with the Japanese, but with some of the principal leaders of the nationalist upheaval taking place throughout Indonesia too. This trust, and his influence on the internees, did much to prevent the spread of violence and murder which could easily have led to war.
As a result of van der Post's preparatory work, when the overstretched forces of Mountbatten at last arrived, the basis of Allied policy in Java had been laid. This was illustrated by the written testimony to van der Post's accomplishments from the British government and High Command and personal messages of appreciation from the Prime Minister, Mountbatten and many others.
Highly subjective and yet truly objective, The Admiral's Baby is a vivid historical document combined with a moving personal record, an extraordinary episode in twentieth-century history.
- The Rock Rabbit and the Rainbow, Laurens van der Post among Friends, 1998 2
Sir Laurens van der Post, author, film-maker, storyteller of worldwide renown, soldier, prisoner of war, political advisor to heads of state, humanitarian, explorer, conservationist, . . . the list goes on and on. His extraordinary curiosity, his love for the small and the great, and his tremendous feeling and concern for his surroundings and all that they included, set him traveling the lands and waters of the world, a messenger in search of meaning. He touched and inspired many along the way, some of whom are to be found in the pages of this book.
A true man of his time, Sir Laurens was born in 1906 in the interior of South Africa, served in the British forces during World War II, including three-and-a-half years in Japanese captivity, and lived and worked since that time in London, where he died just after celebrating his 90th birthday in December, 1996.
The Rock Rabbit and the Rainbow was originally conceived as a Festschrift, or gift collection of writings, for Sir Laurens by several of his friends, and then evolved into its present form, which includes numerous original contributions by Sir Laurens himself.
- Race Prejudice as Self Rejection; An Inquiry into the Psychological and Spiritual Aspects of Group Conflicts , 1957
Early in December, 1956, the Workshop for Cultural Democracy brought together at the Carnegie Endowment International Center in New York City forty men and women for an all-day Seminar on the overall subject "The Psychological and Spiritual Aspects of Group Conflict." . . .
Through a stroke of good fortune, the holding of the Seminar coincided with the first visit to this country by Laurens van der Post, noted authority on the race problems of Africa. . . .
Through the good offices of Dr. Martha Jaeger, Vice-Chairman of the board of directors of the Workshop, and Chairman of the Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology, Col. van der Post was secured to lead our Seminar. He also spoke at a public meeting held at the Community Church of New York under the joint auspices of the Friends Conference and the Workshop.
This publication is a consolidation of his lectures at the public meeting and the Seminar, taken from tape recordings.
Available on the web in its entirety at http://www.ratical.org/many_worlds/LvdP/SelfReject.html
- The Creative Pattern in Primitive Africa (Eranos Lectures Series, 5), 1957 2
Valuing story as "the most precious container of the spirit of `primitive' man," Sir Laurens van der Post shows the profound potential in the African psyche for creative adaptation to the cosmos. Months spent patiently among Bushmen before they became acquainted with whites allowed that intimacy and trust necessary to receive their precious stories. This charming work, originally presented at the Eranos Meetings in Ascona and out of print for years, appears now as a large-format book. The theme and the author reawaken in our contemporary lives a primordially religious sense of belonging to the world and its beauty.
- Patterns of Renewal, 1962 2 Anthropology
In October, 1961, Laurens van der Post led a Pendle Hill week-end seminar, sponsored jointly by Pendle Hill and the Friends Committee on Religion and Psychology. His topic was "Patterns of Renewal in Man," and he spoke four times to a crowded Pendle Hill Barn room, using the stories of the African Bushman to make vivid the process and symbols of renewal. This pamphlet has been edited by Elizabeth Vining from a recording of his talks at that time, which were given spontaneously and not from a manuscript. Laurens van der Post had spoken at Pendle Hill previously, giving a lecture on "Venture to the Interior" in 1956.
Pendle Hill Publications
- Intuition, Intellect and the Racial Question, 1964 2
Proceedings Number 15
The Myrin Institute
This edition of Proceedings Number 15, originally published in 1964, has been edited to to delete material that would appear dated at this time . "Intuition, Intellect and the Racial Question" is based on a talk Colonel van der Post gave for the Myrin Institute at the Waldorf School, Adelphi University, on October 2, 1963.
The Myrin Institute, Inc. for Adult Education 521 Park Avenue New York, New York 10021Films / Video Recordings :
- A Region of Shadow, for BBC program A Pair of Eyes, 1951
- Lost World of the Kalahari, BBC, 1953
- The Story of Carl Gustav Jung, BBC:
- Part One: In Search of the Soul
- Part Two: 67,000 Dreams
- Part Three: The Mystery that heals
- All Africa Within Us, BBC, 1975
- The Tempest, BBC, 1976, for Shakespeare in Perspective series
- Zulu Wilderness: Black Umfolozi Rediscovered, BBC, 1979
The above-six films are all owned by the BBC.
For those interested in obtaining copies, write to:
British Broadcasting Corporation
Information Research Library
London W1A 1AA
- Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, by Nagisa Oshima, 1982
- Testament to the Bushmen, 1984
6, half-hour parts make up the full series:
Made in 1984, exactly 30 years after his first journey in the Kalahari when the famous film, Lost World of the Kalahari was made.
- In The Beginning
History of the Bushmen, how they got into Africa, where they ended up; their conflicts with Zulu's and the whites.
- The Children of the Desert
Story about the Bushmen children, how they learned from their parents and how they pass on the ancient traditions of the Bushmen.
- Women The Provider
The Bushmen Women's role in society as the gatherers of the familys .
- Man The Hunter
The Bushmen men and their role in Bushmen society.
- Of Gods and Medicine Men
The mythology and the spiritual being of the Bushmen.
- The Beginning of the End
The complete devastation of the Bushmen as Laurens knew them where they are now a rag-and-tattered civilization on the edge of the 21st century.Films / Video Recordings About, or That Include, LvdP:
- Remembering Jung: Laurens van der Post Discusses Jung, 1978, 20 minutes
From a 1978 interview conducted by Suzanne Wagner, Laurens van der Post, the eminent author and statesman talks candidly about his long friendship with women, including his creative partnership with Toni Wolff.
- Laurens van der Post at 80, BBC, 1986 by Jonathan Stedall
- Matter of Heart, 1985, 107 minutes
Matter of Heart is a compelling and inspiring film portrait of Carl Gustav Jung, a man whose extraordinary genius and humanity reached far beyond the sometimes exclusive realm of psychiatry into redefining the essential nature of who we are and what we hope to become. More than a linear biography, the film presents a fuller perspective on this humanist, healer, friend, and mentor, through the skillful interweaving of rare home movies, valuable archival footage, and a wealth of interviews.
- The World Within, C.G.Jung in his Own Words, 1990, 60 minutes
" . . . the images of the unconscious place a great responsibility upon a man. Failure to understand them or a shrinking of ethical responsibility deprives him of his wholeness and imposes a painful fragmentariness on his life." This idea is explored when we are given a glimpse inside Jung's Red Book, the diary in which he described his dreams and fantasies. In addition, he recorded these unconscious images with colorful paintings which appear throughout The World Within along with his reflections upon their possible meaning. These are the creations as Jung comments `which have carried me out of time into seclusion, out of the present into timelessness.'"
Included in The World Within is rarely seen footage of Jung himself interviewed in Switzerland in which he talks at length about his work on dreams, memory, archetypal figures and the importance of ritual and fantasy.
Both of the previous 2 videos are available through:
333 West 39th Street
New York City, NY 10018
(Kino includes Remembering Jung in the version it sells of The World Within.)
- Hasten Slowly, The Journey of Sir Laurens van der Post, 1996, 60 minutes
Hasten Slowly is an inspiring movie about a remarkable individual. Through his own intimate stories, Sir Laurens van der Post tells of the key moments in his extraordinary life. It becomes clear why this writer, filmmaker, cultural anthropologist, and statesman is sought out by princes and kings, presidents and prime ministers for his insights, his moral courage, and his point of view.
"There's nothing wrong with searching for happiness, but we are using happiness there in a term as if it were the ultimate in human striving. . . And what gives far greater comfort to the soul is meaning, because meaning transfigures all; and once what you are living and what you are doing has for you meaning, it is irrelevant whether you are happy or unhappy. You are content. You're not alone in your spirit. You belong."Produced and Directed by Mickey Lemle--Laurens van der Post
Lemle Pictures, Inc.
132 W. 31st Street
New York City, NY 10001
- Voice from the Bundu, BBC, 1997
a film in tribute to Laurens van der Post for the BBC by Jonathan Stedall.Audio Recordings :
- The Psychological Origins of Racial Prejudice, 1961
90-minute tape available from the Pacifica Radio Archives
(Catalog Number BB0245A&B), 800/735-0230
- The Lost World of the Kalahari, 1987
ISIS Audio Books, Complete and Unabridged. Read by John Nettleton. The total playing time of this Audio Book is 10 hours 40 minutes.
Isis Audio Books
Oxford, OX2 0ES
+44 (0)1865 250333
- A Mythic Journey, Dialogue with Sir Laurens van der Post, 1994
3, one-hour audio tapes distributed by New Dimensions Radio
- Laurens van der Post Festival, 1996, held in Boulder, Colorado
Comprising 6 audio tapes
Contact Sounds True in Boulder, Colorado
- Opening Remarks and Introduction, LPF-1
- A Personal Remembrance of Jung, LPF-2
- The Dark Eye in the World, LPf-3
- Once Upon A Time, LPF-4
- All Africa Within Us, LPF-7
- A Fireside Chat, LPF-5
Out of print in the United States
Still listed in Books in Print, etc.