The Mummys Curse: The true history of a dark fantasy by Roger Luckhurst

The Mummys Curse: The true history of a dark fantasy

byRoger Luckhurst

Paperback | October 29, 2014

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In the winter of 1922-23 archaeologist Howard Carter and his wealthy patron George Herbert, the Fifth Earl of Carnarvon, sensationally opened the tomb of Tutenkhamen. Six weeks later Herbert, the sponsor of the expedition, died in Egypt. The popular press went wild with rumours of a curse onthose who disturbed the Pharaoh's rest and for years followed every twist and turn of the fate of the men who had been involved in the historic discovery. Long dismissed by Egyptologists, the mummy's curse remains a part of popular supernatural belief. Roger Luckhurst explores why the myth hascaptured the British imagination across the centuries, and how it has impacted on popular culture. Tutankhamen was not the first curse story to emerge in British popular culture. This book uncovers the "true" stories of two extraordinary Victorian gentlemen widely believed at the time to have been cursed by the artefacts they brought home from Egypt in the nineteenth century. These are weird andwonderful stories that weave together a cast of famous writers, painters, feted soldiers, lowly smugglers, respected men of science, disreputable society dames, and spooky spiritualists. Focusing on tales of the curse myth, Roger Luckhurst leads us through Victorian museums, internationalexhibitions, private collections, the battlefields of Egypt and Sudan, and the writings of figures like Arthur Conan Doyle, Rider Haggard and Algernon Blackwood. Written in an open and accessible style, this volume is the product of over ten years research in London's most curious archives. Itexplores how we became fascinated with Egypt and how this fascination was fuelled by myth, mystery, and rumour. Moreover, it provides a new and startling path through the cultural history of Victorian England and its colonial possessions.

About The Author

Roger Luckhurst has written and broadcast widely on popular culture, specialising in science fiction and the Gothic. He is interested in the odd spaces between science and popular supernatural beliefs. He has previously written a history of how the notion of "telepathy" emerged in the late Victorian period, and has published editions o...
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Details & Specs

Title:The Mummys Curse: The true history of a dark fantasyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0 inPublished:October 29, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198718802

ISBN - 13:9780198718802

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Table of Contents

PART ONE: CURSE STORIES1. King Tut and the dead EarlOpening the TombFirst Interpretations2. Precursor Stories I: Thomas Douglas Murray and 22542 (The Unlucky Mummy)3. Precursor Stories II: Walter Ingram and the Coffin of NesminPART TWO: CONTEXTS4. Egypt in London I: Immersive-Exotic SpacesThe Egyptian Hall, Belzoni's Tomb and Mummy PettigrewThe Exotic Panorama and the Theatrical ExtravaganzaBazaars, West End Shopping, and Exotic Consumption5. Egypt in London II: The Exhibitionary UniverseEgypt at the World's FairsThe British Museum in the Empire of Shadows6. The Curse Tale and the Egyptian GothicLearning to CursePlagues, Scarabs, and the Nuclear Option: The Golden Age of Egyptian Curse StoriesThe Museum GothicAlgernon Blackwood: Egypt Introjected7. Rider Haggard Among the MummiesRider Haggard's Encounters with EgyptLieutenant-Colonel Andrew Haggard and Major E. Arthur Haggard in EgyptRider Haggard's Artefactual Fictions8. Evil Eyes, Punitive Currents and the Late Victorian Magic RevivalLate Victorian Hermeticism: Blavatsky's Theosophical SocietyThe Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn: Haute Magie and Low ComedyMagical Thinking and Curse LogicClosing in: The Evil Eye Looks BackAfterword

Editorial Reviews

"Here is a topic with a variety of themes, some farcical, some darkly serious, some complex, and others which are beyond silly. It takes a particular skill to balance such a range of ideas, and Roger Luckhurst possesses this skill." --John Ray, Times Literary Supplement 11/01/2013