By Molly Youngkin

Focusing on British ladies writers' wisdom of historical Egypt, Youngkin exhibits the mostly constrained yet pervasive representations of historic Egyptian girls of their written and visible works. photos of Hathor, Isis, and Cleopatra stimulated how British writers resembling George Eliot and Edith Cooper got here to symbolize woman emancipation.

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Slave-mistress of the Turk [,] . . new liaison with some new Western lover, in all probability France [,] . . [or an] arrangement with the European Powers [,] . . political polyandria of the most odious and demoralizing kind. (127) 10 ● British Women Writers and Ancient Egypt This portrayal of Egypt as Cleopatra, who is always in alliance with some European power, often as its “slave-mistress,” draws heavily on the stereotypical view of Cleopatra as Eastern seductress, who can only bring trouble to England.

Martineau’s characterization of the Egyptian harem as “hell upon earth” is echoed by Nightingale in her letters, when she contrasts a dispensary run by nuns to Said Pacha’s harem, both of which she visited on the same day: “[I]f heaven and hell exist on this earth . . it is in the two worlds I saw on that one morning: the dispensary and the hareem” (Nightingale, Florence Nightingale on Mysticism 462). In addition, Nightingale also characterizes the contemporary Egyptian women she comes across in her travels as nonhuman: the poor Egyptian women helped by the Sisters of St.

The romanticized vision of Egypt, especially ancient Egyptian women, found in Menpes’s fictional Bound by an English Eye ● 11 piece, then, is one view of Egypt that appeared in newspapers and periodicals, but as seen in the piece about the relationship between Egypt and Britain by Traill, writers of nonfiction also recognized the “threat” Egypt presented to Britain that Bulfin has thoroughly analyzed in late-Victorian popular fiction. Although ancient Egyptian women clearly were discussed in newspapers and periodicals, and although women readers were an important constituent in the reading public, many recent critical studies about Britain’s understanding of ancient Egypt do not consider the degree to which women accessed these materials.

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