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Egypt (La Mort de Philae)   By: (1850-1923)

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Egypt (La Mort de Philae) by Pierre Loti is a captivating novel that takes readers on a mesmerizing journey to the ancient land of Egypt. From the very beginning, the author's lyrical prose and vivid descriptions effortlessly transport us to the exotic landscapes and dazzling architectural wonders of this timeless civilization.

The story revolves around an unnamed narrator, a French officer stationed in Egypt, who finds himself completely enamored by the mystique and allure of the country. As he explores the rich history, customs, and traditions of Egypt, he becomes increasingly fascinated by the legendary Philae, a temple on the island of Agilkia.

Loti beautifully portrays the contrasting facets of Egypt, from the chaotic streets of Cairo to the serene and sacred waters of the Nile. Through the narrator's eyes, we witness the daily life of the Egyptians, their deep-rooted beliefs, and their struggles under the oppressive rule of external powers. The author's attention to detail paints a vivid picture of a society steeped in tradition, yet on the cusp of significant change.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this book is Loti's ability to juxtapose the modern world with the ancient, intertwining the mythical past and the realities of the present. He effortlessly finds a delicate balance between the awe-inspiring beauty of Egypt's historical sites and the turmoil of the social and political landscape at the time.

Moreover, Loti's character development is nothing short of exceptional. Through introspective musings and heartfelt conversations, the narrator's inner conflict and transformation come to life. We witness his gradual evolution from a curious outsider to someone deeply entwined with the essence of Egypt, grappling with questions of identity, love, and the ephemeral nature of existence.

However, it is worth mentioning that the book's pace may seem slow at times, particularly for readers seeking a fast-paced narrative. Loti's introspective style can be both enthralling and ponderous, requiring patience and a willingness to immerse oneself in the atmospheric world he creates.

All in all, Egypt (La Mort de Philae) is an extraordinary work of fiction that seamlessly blends history, culture, and personal introspection. Pierre Loti's ability to transport readers to the majestic landscapes of Egypt, exploring its history and captivating allure, is nothing short of remarkable. This book is a true gem for anyone seeking to delve into the rich tapestry of Egypt, immersing themselves in its ancient mystique and pondering the transcendent power of human connection.

First Page:


by Pierre Loti

Translated from the French by

W. P. Baines



A night wondrously clear and of a colour unknown to our climate; a place of dreamlike aspect, fraught with mystery. The moon of a bright silver, which dazzles by its shining, illumines a world which surely is no longer ours; for it resembles in nothing what may be seen in other lands. A world in which everything is suffused with rosy color beneath the stars of midnight, and where granite symbols rise up, ghostlike and motionless.

Is that a hill of sand that rises yonder? One can scarcely tell, for it has as it were no shape, no outline; rather it seems like a great rosy cloud, or some huge, trembling billow, which once perhaps raised itself there, forthwith to become motionless for ever. . . . And from out this kind of mummified wave a colossal human effigy emerges, rose coloured too, a nameless, elusive rose; emerges, and stares with fixed eyes and smiles. It is so huge it seems unreal, as if it were a reflection cast by some mirror hidden in the moon. . . . And behind this monster face, far away in the rear, on the top of those undefined and gently undulating sandhills, three apocalyptic signs rise up against the sky, those rose coloured triangles, regular as the figures of geometry, but so vast in the distance that they inspire you with fear... Continue reading book >>

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