The Image of Egypt as Reflected in English Poetry: A Pre-colonial Approach

نوع المستند : المقالة الأصلية


Faculty of Arts, Fayoum University, Egypt


The history of ancient kingdoms such as Egypt has been a pinnacle of religious, cultural and even architectural significance. Egypt, as an organized territory, existed in the pre-colonial era as an eminent kingdom and has been the epitome of civilization in Africa. Studies of scholars and critics have focused for the last four decades on post-colonialism, showing the consequences of colonialism on different realms of the human activity. This paper is an attempt to study how poetry in Egypt may have inadvertently attracted the West to the rich culture and beauty and later on colonization. This paper examines the role of selected English poetry about Egypt that played a significant role in colonization by portraying the attractiveness of Egypt. The question is how far this image contributed not only to an academic interest like that of Napoleon but also to a materialistic objective, namely a continuation of the British colonial project? In other words, how did a cultural interest engender an imperialistic one? Actually, the pre-colonial theory in literature, especially in the nineteenth century, has played a significant role in attracting the European colonizers to Egypt. This is clearly shown in poems by Rawnsleyas, Shelly, Hunt, Lang and Melville. For the most part these poets romanticize the idea and experience of Egypt either through their descriptive imagination or narration. Therefore, these poetic descriptions portrayed the beauty of Egypt in a way that masked the misconceptions about Egypt, showing it as a fascinating place

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