In her article, "Théophile Gautier and the Orient," F. Elizabeth Dahab discusses the function of the Orient in general, and in particular, the function of Ancient Egypt in some of Gautier's contes fantastiques written between 1835 and 1857. Gautier and many of his contemporaries including Baudelaire wanted to escape from a society dominated by the idea of progress. They expressed deep doubt in many of their texts and strived to find solace in the notion of permanence in art characteristic of Ancient Egyptian architecture and mortuary customs. They also believed that Ancient Egypt may provide an answer to humanity's quest for immortality. Their opposition to progress may also explain at least in part Gautier's personal obsession with Ancient Egypt. Since Gautier visited Egypt only three years before his death, it becomes of great interest to scholars of culture and literature to determine the influence Ancient Egypt has made in his writing and to refer to the accuracy of his accounts, notably in Le Roman de la momie (1857).
Dahab, F. Elizabeth.
"Théophile Gautier and the Orient."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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