Wonderful Things: A History of Egyptology: 3: From 1914 to the Twenty-first Century

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9789774167607: Wonderful Things: A History of Egyptology: 3: From 1914 to the Twenty-first Century

The discovery of ancient Egypt and the development of Egyptology are momentous events in intellectual and cultural history. The history of Egyptology is the story of the people, famous and obscure, who constructed the picture of ancient Egypt that we have today, recovered the Egyptian past while inventing it anew, and made a lost civilization comprehensible to generations of enchanted readers and viewers thousands of years later. This, the third of a three-volume history of Egyptology, follows the progress of the discipline from the trauma of the First World War, through the vicissitudes of the twentieth century, and into Egyptology's new horizons at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Wonderful Things affirms that the history of ancient Egypt has proved continually fascinating, but it also demonstrates that the history of Egyptology is no less so. Only by understanding how Egyptology has developed can we truly understand the Egyptian past.

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About the Author:


Jason Thompson is the editor of Edward William Lane's Description of Egypt (AUC Press, 2000) and An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians (AUC Press, 2003), and the author of Sir Gardiner Wilkinson and His Circle, A History of Egypt: From Earliest Times to the Present (AUC Press, 2008), and Edward William Lane, 1801-1876 (AUC Press, 2010).

Review:


"Remarkably thorough and yet refreshingly readable, this action-packed history of Egyptology is driven by some extraordinary characters mostly men but some notable women who needed to learn everything they could about the culture, land, and language of ancient Egypt.."--Kara Cooney


"At last a definitive history, which does justice not only to the major players but to lesser lights as well. Wonderful Things will be immensely valuable."--Brian Fagan, author of The Rape of the Nile


"Jason Thompson has written what is by far the best history of Egyptology yet. Filled with fascinating facts and characters, Thompson's book is comprehensive and eminently readable and certain to become the standard history of the field for many years to come."--Kent Weeks


Thompson s account demonstrates the multiple array of events, personalities, political developments and intellectual inclinations that contributed to shaping the field of Egyptology as it emerged as a self-conscious discipline. Moving beyond the familiar recounting of great discoveries in Egypt, . . . Wonderful Things seeks to demonstrate the power and complexities of Egyptological activities in fashioning the story of ancient Egypt. We learn much about the less acknowledged characters in the narratives of Egyptology, appreciating the different types of contributions individuals made beyond the practices of digging and writing . The new insights Thompson provides on those who simply made things happen is not only fascinating but serves as an extremely valuable contribution to the evaluation of Egyptology s legacy. This is an incisive anatomy of a discipline that challenges our all too familiar assumptions about how Egyptology came to be."--Stephanie Moser


"Wonderful Things: A History of Egyptology: From Antiquity to 1881 is an excellent first installment on something the field has long been lacking--a comprehensive history of Egyptology. After surveying the Greeks and Romans, medieval writers, and the European scholars and travelers of the Renaissance and Enlightenment, Jason Thompson hits full stride with the nineteenth-century. The French expedition and Champollion s decipherment gave birth to modern Egyptology, and this is the century in which Thompson the author of definititve biographies of Egyptologists and Orientalists Gardiner Wilkinson and Edward William Lane feels most fully at home. After the Description de l Égypte and Champollion come Richard Lepsius, Heinrich Brugsch, Samuel Birch, and Auguste Mariette. All the great figures and landmarks are there, and many lesser ones as well. Both scholars and general readers will eagerly anticipate the second and third volumes to carry the story down to the present." --Donald M. Reid


"This well-researched and authoritative account of the history of Egyptology will become the definitive reference tool for anyone interested in the development of this academic discipline. In this first volume of his study, the author has delved deep into the surviving archives to undercover the growth of Egyptology from antique times until the astonishing success of Mariette. Unlike previous works which only dealt with the highlights of Egyptian archaeology, he covers both the academic and archaeological aspects of the subject and shines a light on many unsung heroes of Egyptology who had been edged out of the limelight by the more well known. When completed, this study will form a lasting memorial to the men and women who in their various ways rescued the past of Egypt.--Morris Bierbrier


[Wonderful Things] is a remarkable achievement: a scholarly work packed with facts but one which is also genuinely readable. It is ambitious in its scope and detail. To follow the growth of an arcane but also a highly romantic branch of learning becomes in Thompson s book something close to an adventure. The author successfully convey his infectious enthusiasm for the subject but writes with a degree of detachment that allows him to be refreshingly and occasionally almost ruthlessly trenchant and critical. "--from the Foreword by Jaromir Malek


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