A precious copy printed on Japanese vellum. Back to selection Sold Share Send to a friend. Quarante-deux composition originale de Alex. Paris, L.
Carteret et Cie, Bound in full contemporary light-brown morocco, wide border of blind-stamped and coloured inlaid lotus around the covers, spine ribbed and decorated with the same pattern, date gilt-stamped at the foot of the spine, brown embroidered silk doublures and endleaves, wide inner gilt border identical to the one on the covers, gilt over untrimmed edges. Illustrated wrappers in colour and spine bound in. Contemporary binding signed by Emile Carayon. The mummies of desirable women in these stories are almost all connected with lost and powerful knowledge: they are priestesses, sorceresses, and witch-queens.
See Deane and Glover.
While there are certainly this sense, what the eminent Victorian Egyptologists fear and desire is not the mummies and tombs in She: A History of reanimated mummy herself, but their relation to the gaps that she reveals in Adventure, and the their own systems of knowledge. The female mummy is located comfortably as object Like H.
Indeed, mummy fiction is structured around rivalry. The mummy is thus a rival in the standard sense of a romantic contest in which two male figures fight over a woman, but more fundamentally, the mummy disturbs the certainties of imperial fictions of racial and cultural ascendance.
The rivalry encoded in the standard romance plot is expanded and ren- dered in terms of equally conflicted contestation when the mummies begin to challenge the very epistemologies on which the empire depends. Its physical intrusions into European spaces and its intellectual intrusions into western scientific discourses are articulated in equally horrific terms as fundamentally monstrous and as a sign of the instability of imperialist systems of knowledge.
But in spite of the certainty of the scientists in these works, mummies are not objects like other objects. In this sense, the mummy is unlike other objects, because there is no access to its knowledge.
The Romance of a Mummy by Théophile Gautier
While its body may be owned, placed on display or dissected, it is ultimately the uncan- niest of objects: familiar and alien, natural and supremely unnatural. The canny is therefore not significantly distanced from the uncanny: it is, in some ways, its double: its corollary. As Freud notes, the uncanny is in reality nothing new or alien, but something which is familiar and old-established in the mind and which has become alien- ated from it through the process of repression … Many people expe- rience the feeling in the highest degree in relation to death and dead bodies, to the return of the dead, and to spirits and ghosts.
Freud The fascination with the mummy as object, then, lies in the familiarity that overlays its inherently alien nature: it is recognizably human but its preserva- tion makes it unnatural. Reanimating the mummy demonstrates both a profound knowledge and signals a desire to acquire more. The and continued through its early scientific and Mummy! The French occupation evacuated in By mid-century, tourists were flock- ing to Egypt to explore the tombs for themselves and to take away bits of the experience. Even when the Egyptian government made the export of ancient artefacts illegal in , the trade and collecting continued.
Indeed, it became fashionable for tourists to smuggle mummies, or parts of mummies, out of Egypt and into their homes. Gustave Flaubert, for example, is credited with returning to France with a human foot that he obtained during an expedition to a mummy grotto in The foot reputedly sat on his desk at Croisset until he died Flaubert Macfarlane The slippage between fictional and documentary tendencies to moral degeneracy. These accounts opens a space for the entry of the mummy into the popular imagina- practices were widely tion as a signifier of the unsettled relation between scientific inquiry and the used to reinforce racial imagination.
Popular interest in mummy unrollings, and the increasing public hierarchies, which, in term, could justify familiarity with mummified bodies that they generated, thus effectively trans- imperial interventions.
The works of Théophile Gautier
In imperial gothic fiction these fears appear as a series of com- an additional layer to my readings of the body in plex explorations of the ways in which the gap between the known and the mummy fiction. It is the monstrous body in these texts that signals the instability of the points of intersection between the knowable and the unknowable, between science and magic.
Their staggering and horrific instability signals a profound anxiety about gaps in systems of clas- sification and knowledge production and about contamination13 and degen- eration physical, cultural, spiritual and epistemic. Monstrous bodies have a similar discursive function: they expose and enact limits. That is to say, they resonate beyond the confines of a single meaning within culture itself to embody a simultaneous series of projections of multiple, layered pre- occupations that haunt and define culture.
The simultaneous fascination with and fear of boundaries and construc- tions of alterity that inform imperial gothic stories is played out through moments of epistemic fracture and loss of control around and through the body of the mummy. The monstrosity of the mummy is articulated on a number of interconnected levels. It is a both a physical threat and an intellectual rival. More significantly, perhaps, its existence as speaking, acting subject threat- ens the basis of western epistemologies. Mummies are the subject of curios- ity and scholarly study but these figures repeatedly challenge their status as object when they turn their all-too critical gazes on the men who are study- ing them.
Foucault argues that power and knowledge are inextricably connected.
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Elleke Boehmer has Foucault — Any threat to this regulation of knowledge The project Local knowledge would thus be made and more clearly to reinforce beliefs about the metropolis. In spite of this, authority of imperial epistemic rule. In the mid-century, mummies were simply another object to be plundered.
See Pearce This will be addressed at terious power and unknowable science. In these works, the mummy does not greater length later in this article. Baudrillard uses this 58 , but also signifies its imperial and epistemological origins. Unlike the Roman or Greek empires, producing institutions. Julia Kristeva argues that monuments signify death, but the corpse 8. For Kristeva, the corpse insists that we acknowl- edge the body, that we recognize the certainty of decay.
The corpse defers the monumental, which is an immutable or sanitized signification.
Théophile Gautier THE MUMMY'S ROMANCE (Translated by G. Monkshood) ANCIENT EGYPT | eBay
The mummy, though, is both corpse and immutable monument and as such it is messy and unstable: monstrous. This potential confusion of the distinction between a mummy and a corpse is only one of a series of anxieties about the study and ownership of the mummified dead that enters into these stories. The landlady does not distinguish between a corpse and a mummy, but for Lavenham there is a clear distinction. It is this latter point the notion that the mummy symbolizes its imperial history that makes it so uncanny as a symbol of imperial control.
Instead of dying, the empire that the mummy signifies is in a slow, artificial, endless suspension: a decay that is not decay. When the mummy, that embodiment of history, is not properly dead, then the past of pharaonic Egypt similarly refuses to die and its heir — in this case the British empire — is merely a usurper. The Naturalist in Nicaragua. The History of Little King Pippin. Kalli, the Esquimaux Christian - A Memoir. Bulfinch's Mythology.
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