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Old 09-28-2012, 02:48 PM   #21
fantasyfan
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Originally Posted by Billi View Post
I find all references to religion in this book highly interesting. They are in some way much more "pure" than what we today can read about the Islam.
i agree. I think that is because she is more reportorial in style; she tends to avoid judgmental comments concerning religious beliefs.

I am impressed by her skillfully organised vivid descriptive passages which combine evocative imagery and very precise detail. Here's a nice sample from Chapter 4:

"It might be thought there would be some monotony in such a scene, and but little beauty. On the contrary, however, there is beauty of a most subtle and exquisite kind – transcendent beauty of colour, and atmosphere, and sentiment ; and no monotony either in the landscape or in the forms of the pyramids. One of these which we are now approaching is built in a succession of platforms gradually decreasing towards the top. Another down yonder at Dahshûr curves outward at the angles, half dome, half pyramid, like the roof of the Palais de Justice in Paris. No two are of precisely the same size, or built at precisely the same angle ; and each cluster differs somehow in the grouping.

"Then again the colouring! – colouring not to be matched with any pigments yet invented. The Libyan rocks, like rusty gold – the paler hue of the driven sand-slopes – the warm maize of the nearer Pyramids which, seen from this distance, takes a tender tint of rose, like the red bloom on an apricot – the delicate tone of these objects against the sky – the infinite gradation of that sky, soft and pearly towards the horizon, blue and burning towards the zenith – the opalescent shadows, pale blue, and violet, and greenish-grey, that nestle in the hollows of the rock and the curves of the sand-drifts – all this is beautiful in a way impossible to describe, and alas! impossible to copy. Nor does the lake-like plain with its palm-groves and corn-flats form too tame a foreground. It is exactly what is wanted to relieve that glowing distance."

As is the case with so many Victorian writers she enjoys meditating on a scene and moralizing on its special meaning to her. As one would expect in Egypt, she is impressed with the huge sweep of time. Here are her comments on the "lesser" Pyramids:

"As for the Pyramid in platforms (which is the largest at Sakkârah, and next largest to the Pyramid of Khafra) its position is so fine, its architectural style so exceptional, its age so immense, that one altogether loses sight of these questions of relative magnitude. If Egyptologists are right in ascribing the royal title hieroglyphed on the inner door of this pyramid to Ouenephes, the fourth king of the First Dynasty, then it is the most ancient building in the world. It had been standing from five to seven hundred years when King Khufu began his Great Pyramid at Ghîzeh. It was over two thousand years old when Abraham was born. It is now about six thousand eight hundred years old according to Manetho and Mariette, or about four thousand eight hundred according to the computation of Bunsen. One's imagination recoils upon the brink of such a gulf of time."

Edwards give a great deal of detail on the material contained in each specific Chapter in the Table of Contents, which makes this an easy book to browse and return to favourite passages {something I see myself doing}.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 09-28-2012 at 02:51 PM.
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