No land on earth has been so comprehensively observed as Egypt, which was attracting awestruck travelers back in the days of Herodotus and Julius Caesar. This rich and varied collection brings the diversity and the continuity of Egypt together to give a picture of this country, its many places, its long history, and its people: the pharoahs, sultans, pilgrims to Sinai, Crusaders, and Napoleon, followed by the Grand Tourists of the eighteenth century and those less grand with Thomas Cook in the nineteenth. The range of voices gathered here is dazzling: an ancient myth from a papyrus next to Naguib Mahfouz’s account of Alexandria, Florence Nightingale describing Abu Simbel side by side with Ahdaf Soueif’s description of Sinai. A description of medieval Cairo by Ibn Jubayr walks hand in hand with one of the modern city by the Egyptian thinker Taha Hussein. Lucie Duff-Gordon sails up the Nile, Edward Lane crawls through a sand-filled temple, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel struggles up the cataract above Aswan.
Egypt and the Nile
Through Writers’ Eyes
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Also available by this author
From the Fourth to the Twenty-first CenturyEdited by Deborah Manley
Sinai has long attracted travelers to its ancient caravan routes and haunting landscapes, and visitors have frequently left written accounts of their experiences. In this wide-ranging anthology, Deborah Manley and Sahar Abdel- Hakim have collected dozens of accounts and observations from travelers who have written about Sinai, its people, its sights, and its historical and biblical landmarks. Starting with Egeria, a fourth-century Christian who relates her visit to Mt. Sinai and the Burning Bush, Traveling through Sinai offers a diverse collection of voices over the centuries. Among themare the German friar Felix Fabri, who visited in 1492, and nineteenth-century antiquarian William Flinders Petrie, giving his impressions of the Bedouins of the peninsula. French novelist Alexandre Dumas writes of meeting two monks in the desert carrying a letter signed by Napoleon, while others describe crossing the canal at Suez, the ancient inscriptions of Wadi Mukattab, and the harrowing experiences of desert travel....read more
13 April 2009
16 b/w illus.
From the Eighteenth to the Twenty-first CenturyEdited by Deborah Manley
Until late in the nineteenth century, few guidebooks acknowledged the presence of women as travelers—although women had been traveling around the world for centuries. Women’s accounts of their journeys, distinct from those of male travelers, began to appear more frequently in the early nineteenth century, and Egypt was a popular destination. Women had more time to watch and describe; they were more dependent on the Egyptian staff; they spent time both in the harems of Cairo and with the women they met along the Nile. Some of them, like Sarah Belzoni, Sophia Poole, and Ellen Chennells, spoke Arabic. Others wrote engagingly of their experiences as observers of an exotic culture, with special access to some places no man could ever go. From Eliza Fay’s description of arriving in Egypt in 1779 to Rosemary Mahoney’s daring trip down the Nile in a rowboat in 2006, this lively collection of writing by over forty women travelers includes Lady Evelyn Cobbold, Isabella Bird, Winifred Blackman, Norma Lorimer, Harriet Martineau, Florence Nightingale, Amelia Edwards, and Lucie Duff Gordon....read more
15 March 15
20 b/w illus.
Ancient Egypt in Poetry
An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century Verse
Edited by Donald P. Ryan
An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century VerseEdited by Donald P. Ryan
Egypt’s ancient pyramids, temples, and tombs along the Nile, which have inspired artists and writers for centuries, have also inspired poets—and particularly in the nineteenth century when romanticism was at its height. Egyptologist Donald Ryan here collects a wide variety of English verse composed by British, Irish, and North American poets fired up by the magic, the splendor, or the desolation of the pharaonic ruins and their echoes of a distant history. Includes verse by: Robert Browning, Lord Byron, John Keats, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melville, John Ruskin, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Alfred Tennyson, Lady Wilde, and many more....read more
22 October 2016
13 b/w illus.
David Roberts’ Egypt
Lithographs by David Roberts, R.A.
David Roberts, born in 1796 near Edinburgh, was one of the most acclaimed landscape painters of the nineteenth century. In 1838 he left Europe for Egypt, where he drew all the main archaeological sites and Islamic monuments. These superb lithographs taken from his sketches and first published in London between 1842 and 1849 are a fine essay on his virtuosity and represent an unforgettable journey through time along the Nile Valley and across the Sinai peninsula....read more
266 color illus.
City of SandMaria Golia
Cairo is a 1,400-year old metropolis whose streets are inscribed with sagas, a place where the pressures of life test people’s equanimity to the limit. Virtually surrounded by desert, sixteen million Cairenes cling to the Nile and each other, proximities that color and shape lives. Packed with incident and anecdote, Cairo: City of Sand describes the city’s given circumstances and people’s attitudes of response. Apart from a brisk historical overview, this book focuses on the present moment of one of the world’s most illustrious and irreducible cities. Cairo steps inside the interactions between Cairenes, examining the roles of family, tradition, and bureaucracy in everyday life. The book explores Cairo’s relationship with its ‘others,’ from the French and British occupations to modern influences like tourism and consumerism. Cairo also discusses characteristic styles of communication, and linguistic memes, including slang, grandiloquence, curses, and jokes. Cairo exists by virtue of these interactions, synergies of necessity, creativity, and the presence or absence of power. Cairo, City of Sand reveals a peerless urban balancing act, and transmits the city’s overriding message: the breadth of the human capacity for loss, astonishment, and delight....read more
Egyptian Customs and Festivals
How do Egyptian Muslims celebrate Ramadan? How do Copts—Egyptian Christians—celebrate Easter? What should you expect to find on the table when invited to eat in an Egyptian home? What do you say when an Egyptian colleague sneezes? Exactly what do Egyptians do with a mortar and pestle, a sieve, and a bag of nuts seven days after the birth of a baby? Samia Abdennour, once an outsider from Palestine, now thoroughly at home in Egypt, is here to tell you all about these matters—and many more. In a book that aims to introduce the unfamiliar newcomer or interested foreign reader to the hows, whats, and whys of Egyptians life, the author covers such diverse topics as birth, marriage, and death; religious festivals and fasting; food in the home and on the street; business etiquette and terms of politeness. She describes how some traditions differ between the two religious communities, the Muslims and the Copts, and how some customs are shared by all Egyptians—like the spring festival of Shamm al-Nisim (‘smelling the breezes’) that goes back to pharaonic times. With Egyptian Customs and Festivals, you need never be at a loss in a social situation in Egypt—or fail to understand what your neighbors are up to. Illustrated throughout with color photographs of daily life and special occasions, this fascinating and informative book is a must-have for anyone new to Egyptian culture....read more
1 April 2007
20 color illus.