Saturday, April 22, 2017


"Gertrude Bell  was born in County Durham, England, in 1868, to an enormously wealthy industrialist family, but instead of being a society girl, she went on to study history at Oxford, before developing a fascination with Arabia and archaeology, visiting the area several times and frequently embarking on digs, such as one in 1909 at Carchemish, ruins found on the Syrian-Turkish border, where she first met Lawrence of Arabia and 'intimidated' him with her intelligence and ability to speak Arabic 'better than him'."

Letters from Baghdad is a documentary where actor Tilda Swinton reads letters written by the diplomat, explorer, archeologist, and even spy during WWI, who, along with T.E. Lawrence, helped to shape modern Middle East.

Queen of the Desert film (2015) is "a chronicle of Gertrude Bell's life, a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century.  Directed by Werner Herzog

Her biographer Georgina Howell deemed that " the heart of Bell's life: her frustrated love affair with married soldier and administrator Dick Doughty-Wylie, killed in the Dardanelles in 1915."

But, says journalist Rachel Aspden, "modern readers are more likely to be puzzled by her lack of interest in Bell's fraught, and fascinating, political legacy."

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