Rudyard Kipling visited Egypt and the Sudan in 1913, during a winter holiday which took him from Marseilles to Port Said, from Port Said to Cairo, Assiut, the Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel, Wadi Halfa, and back to Cairo, on the crowded tourist route along which Cook’s river steamers had long been plying their busy trade. A technophile with a special fondness for motor-cars, and a fierce imperialist to whom progress in transportation and the spreading of civilization went hand in hand, Kipling was not over-bothered by the idea of belatedness which perturbed many a contemporary traveller, and he seems to have accepted with gusto the imaginative challenge posed by contemporary ‘massified’ travel. Egypt of the Magicians, a sketchy travelogue where epiphanies and revelations are snatched from the standardized opportunities encountered along the “beaten track”, was first published in Nash’s Magazine in 1914 and later included in his Letters of Travel (1920). In my paper I read this largely unexplored specimen of modernist travel-writing as situated at the intersection between, on the one hand, the commonplace implicit in modern travel, and, on the other, the eccentric peculiarities of Kipling’s specific Anglo-Indian positioning, which was bound to make his trip to Egypt a more complex affair than that of the average tourist. The travel experience of spatial displacement impinging upon previous emotional and cultural dislocations makes this travelogue a layered palimpsest of the colonial author’s subjectivity, bearing the imprint (the burden of perplexity) of full-fledged modernity.

'A cruel double-magic': Modern Travel and Its Complexities in Rudyard Kipling's Egypt of the Magicians

VILLA, LUISA
2010-01-01

Abstract

Rudyard Kipling visited Egypt and the Sudan in 1913, during a winter holiday which took him from Marseilles to Port Said, from Port Said to Cairo, Assiut, the Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel, Wadi Halfa, and back to Cairo, on the crowded tourist route along which Cook’s river steamers had long been plying their busy trade. A technophile with a special fondness for motor-cars, and a fierce imperialist to whom progress in transportation and the spreading of civilization went hand in hand, Kipling was not over-bothered by the idea of belatedness which perturbed many a contemporary traveller, and he seems to have accepted with gusto the imaginative challenge posed by contemporary ‘massified’ travel. Egypt of the Magicians, a sketchy travelogue where epiphanies and revelations are snatched from the standardized opportunities encountered along the “beaten track”, was first published in Nash’s Magazine in 1914 and later included in his Letters of Travel (1920). In my paper I read this largely unexplored specimen of modernist travel-writing as situated at the intersection between, on the one hand, the commonplace implicit in modern travel, and, on the other, the eccentric peculiarities of Kipling’s specific Anglo-Indian positioning, which was bound to make his trip to Egypt a more complex affair than that of the average tourist. The travel experience of spatial displacement impinging upon previous emotional and cultural dislocations makes this travelogue a layered palimpsest of the colonial author’s subjectivity, bearing the imprint (the burden of perplexity) of full-fledged modernity.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/234003
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