Alexandra David-Néel

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Alexandra David-Néel
Alexandra David-Neels.jpg
Alexandra David-Néel in Tibet, 1933
Born Louise Eugénie Alexandrine Marie David
(1868-10-24)24 October 1868
Saint-Mandé, French Empire
Died 8 September 1969(1969-09-08) (aged 100)
Digne, France
Nationality Belgian and French
Known for Writing on Tibet

Alexandra David-Néel (born Louise Eugénie Alexandrine Marie David; 24 October 1868 – 8 September 1969) was a Belgian–French explorer, spiritualist, Buddhist, anarchist and writer.[lower-alpha 1][lower-alpha 2][lower-alpha 3] She is most known for her 1924 visit to Lhasa, Tibet when it was forbidden to foreigners. David-Néel wrote over 30 books about Eastern religion, philosophy, and her travels, including Magic and Mystery in Tibet which was published in 1929. Her teachings influenced the beat writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, the populariser of Eastern philosophy Alan Watts, and the esotericist Benjamin Creme.

Further reading


  1. "At the same time, she joined various secret societies – she would reach the thirtieth degree in the mixed Scottish Rite of Freemasonry – while feminist and anarchist groups greeted her with enthusiasm...In 1899, she wrote an anarchist treatise prefaced by the anarchist geographer Elisée Reclus. Frightened publishers refused, however, to publish this book written by a woman so proud she could not accept any abuses by the State, army, Church or high finance."[1]
  2. "Mystic, anarchist, occultist and traveller, Louise Eugenie Alexandrine Marie David was born in Paris on the 24th of October 1868...In 1899, Alexandra composed an anarchist treatise with a preface by the French geographer and anarchist Elisée Reclus (1820–1905). Publishers were, however, too terrified to publish the book, though her friend Jean Haustont printed copies himself and it was eventually translated into five languages."[2]
  3. "ALEXANDRA DAVID-NEEL, Daily Bleed Saint 2001–2008 First woman explorer of Tibet and its mysteries. Successively & simultaneously anarchist, singer, feminist, explorer, writer, lecturer, photographer, buddhist, architect, mail artist, sanskrit grammarian & Centenarian."[3]



  • Brodeur, Raymond (2001). Femme, mystique et missionnaire : Marie Guyart de l'Incarnation : Tours, 1599-Québec, 1672 : actes du colloque organisé par le Centre d'études Marie-de-l'Incarnation sous les auspices du Centre interuniversitaire d'études québécoises qui s'est tenu à Loretteville, Québec, du 22 au 25 septembre 1999. Presses Université Laval. ISBN 978-2-7637-7813-6. 
  • Chalon, Jean (1985). Le Lumineux Destin d'Alexandra David-Néel. Librairie académique Perrin. ISBN 2-262-00353-X. 
  • Désiré-Marchand, Joëlle (2009). Alexandra David-Néel, Vie et voyages: Itinéraires géographiques et spirituels. Arthaud. ISBN 9782081273870. 
  • Foster, Barbara; Foster, Michael (1998). The Secret Lives of Alexandra David-Neel: A Biography of the Explorer of Tibet and Its Forbidden Practices. New York, NY: Overlook Press. ISBN 1-58567-329-3.  This book is based on extensive interviews with David Neel's secretary at Digne and reading her letters to her husband, now published as "Journal de voyage: lettres a son mari."
  • Kuhlman, Erika A. (2002). A to Z of Women in World History. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 9780816043347. 
  • Reverzy, Catherine (2001). Femmes d'aventure : du rêve à la réalisation de soi. Odile Jacob. ISBN 9782738112163. 
  • Stockwell, Foster (2003). Westerners in China: A History of Exploration and Trade, Ancient Times Through the Present. McFarland. ISBN 9780786414048. 

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