Middle East Travel
English edition  
184 pp.
48 color, 21 b/w 
16X22 cm
ISBN 9789774168451
For sale worldwide


Aristocrats and Archaeologists

An Edwardian Journey on the Nile Toby Wilkinson
Julian Platt

An unusually vivid first-hand account of early twentieth-century travel in Egypt

A collection of letters in a small painted box passed down through three generations of a London family is the starting point for a vivid account of a three-month journey up and down the Nile in a bygone age. The letters, like a time capsule, bring to life a lost world of Edwardian travel and social mores, of Egypt on the brink of the modern age, of the great figures of Egyptology, of aristocrats and archaeologists. In 1907/08 Ferdinand Platt (known to his family as Ferdy) traveled to Egypt as personal physician to the ailing 8th Duke of Devonshire—one of the giant statesmen of the late Victorian age—and his family party, recounting his adventure in letters to his young wife in England. Throughout the journey Ferdy not only reported on the sights of the country around him, with his amateur Egyptologist’s eye, and the people he met along the way (including Howard Carter and Winston Churchill) but also recorded his private thoughts and intimate observations of a formal and stratified society, soon to be witness to its own extinction. Introduced by Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson and Ferdy’s great-nephew Julian Platt, the letters open an intriguing window onto travel in Egypt during the Belle Epoque and the golden age of Egyptology.
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Toby Wilkinson is professor of Egyptology and deputy vice chancellor at the University of Lincoln. Hailed by the Daily Telegraph as “the foremost Egyptologist of his time,” he is the author of ten books on the history and culture of Egypt. His prize-winning history The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt (2011) was recommended as a book of the year on both sides of the Atlantic. Julian Platt has been an international publisher for fifty years, three early years of which were spent in East Africa, and was founder in 1999 of Third Millennium Publishing. Most of his working life has been passed in London, not far from the St Johns Wood home of his great uncle, but he otherwise lives in Northumberland. The authors met through their membership of Clare College Cambridge and in 2012 traveled up the Nile with a college party and a copy of Ferdy Platt’s letters to hand.

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"[T]here is doubtless much that will appeal to those familiar with the history of Egyptology. Platt was one of the last Englishmen to see parts of Upper Egypt and Nubia before their second, deliberate flooding for the Aswan Low Dam, . . . These letters also offer a quite unintentional insight into the general impending loss of an entire epoch."——The Daily Telegraph//endoftext//endoftext"[F]eels like lifting the lid on the stifling world of the Edwardian aristocracy."—The Daily Mail//endoftext//endoftext"[A] personal insight into colonial times passed on to his descendants in a painted box. Cultural and historical information is intermixed with intimate details of Platt’s life.”—Who Do You Think You Are Magazine

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