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Next talk on the 'mummy pits'

Leicester Ancient Egypt Society

When / Where:

Saturday 15th October 2016

New Walks Museum, Leicester

Upcoming conference papers 

The Lure of the Land of the Nile: Early Travellers in Egypt & the Influence of Early Travel Literature on the ‘Egyptomania’ of the Victorian Era

When / Where:

23rd-24th September 2016

Tea With The Sphinx: Ancient Egypt and the Modern Imagination 

Birmingham University 

Abstract:

During the Victorian era, the Western world was seemingly subject to an all-
encompassing obsession with everything Egyptian, to the extent that the land of the Nile
came to influence fashion, architectural style, ‘gothic literature,’ and even the form and
design of tombstones and mausoleums. This ardent obsession, now known under the
popular term ‘Egyptomania,’ was greatly influenced by the news of archaeological
discoveries made in Egypt and the exhibition of ancient mummies and artefacts in museums
across the globe.
One particular source of inspiration for this interest in Egypt’s ancient past were early
travellers’ tales. During the 19th century, swathes of tourists ventured to Egypt to gain first-
hand experiences of the sites and scenes that so captivated the Victorian imagination. Many
were inspired to travel after reading the published personal accounts of those who had
visited Egypt before them. As Egypt became an ever-more popular destination, interest in
these travelogues increased, with the most enthralling extracts often serialized in local
newspapers and periodicals. These travel accounts provide a glimpse into Egypt’s heritage
in what is considered to have been the ‘golden age’ of travel, when new sites and wonders
were being uncovered daily and when travellers were free to explore the monuments in a
manner unimaginable to modern tourists.
This paper explores the effect that early travellers and their exploits had 19 th century
‘Egyptophiles’ and considers how their experiences publicised in popular travel literature of
the period, came to influence the ‘Egyptomania’ experienced by the Western world during
the Victorian era.