Historic Letters Shed New Light on Alan Turing

Prof book cover-2A new book includes several previously unpublished letters written by Alan Turing in the years before his death. The letters provide important insights into Turing’s life and state of mind as he endured the impact of government imposed chemical castration treatments. Turing wrote the letters to author and literary critic P. Nicholas Furbank, his close friend and the executor of his will. Furbank died last year at age 94.

The new book, Prof: Alan Turing Decoded, is written by Sir Dermot Turing, nephew of the British Mathematician. CODEBREAKER features an interview with Dermot Turing. His book will be released this fall. You can pre-order copies here in the US and here in the UK.

In one letter, Turing wrote, “I have had a dream indicating rather clearly that I am on the way to being hetero, though I don’t accept it with much enthusiasm either awake or in the dreams.”

This is one of the letters from Turing to his friend.

This is one of the letters from Alan Turing to his friend.

He also wrote to Furbank: “Mother has been staying here, and we seem to be getting on a good deal better. I have been subjecting her to a good deal of sexual enlightenment and she seems to have stood up to it very well. There was a rather absurd dream I had the other night in which I asked mother’s opinion about going to bed with some men and she said, ‘Oh very well, but don’t go walking about the place naked like you did before.’”

He also wrote about a planned vacation in Greece (a trip mentioned in CODEBREAKER): “I expect to lie in the sun, talk French and modern Greek, and make love, though the sex and nationality… has yet to be decided: in fact it is quite possible that this item will be altogether omitted. I want a permanent relationship and I might feel inclined to reject anything which of its nature could not be permanent.”

Dermot Turing told The Guardian, “At the same time that he was having his psychotherapy, and… his hormones taken out… [the correspondence] indicates that he was in a good deal of a turmoil, which… has historically been what everyone had assumed, but now is confirmed.”

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