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Geographies of Contact

Caroline Lehni
Fanny Moghaddassi
Hélène Ibata
et al.

V. Orientalist Contact Zones

Dialogues with the Dead, and with the Living too ! British Egyptology Societies and the Politics of Preservation (1882-1898)1

Stéphanie Prévost

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“The Egyptian Government, though well intentioned, requires perhaps some stimulus from without.”2 This was the pronouncement of the Swiss Egyptologist Edouard Naville, printed in the columns of The Morning Post on 9 December 1879. Quite obviously, Naville’s statement referred to the recent Egyptian crisis. Indeed, Anglo-French dual control over Egypt’s bankrupt finances, which had first been set up in 1878, had just been reinforced in November 1879 as Egypt was unable to recover from the huge cost of fighting alongside the Ottoman Empire against Russia in 1877-78.3 As the Khedive had been forced to abdicate in favour of his son Tewfik in June of the same year, Egypt was inextricably under greater European control—although it should not be forgotten that Britain’s involvement in the Dual Control Commission also derived from a desire to hold French influence there in check.4 Naville genuinely thought that foreign intervention could benefit Egypt, not only in terms of putting its finan...


Stéphanie Prévost was appointed lecturer in nineteenth-century British history at Paris-Diderot University in September 2011 after defending her PhD at Tours University in 2010 on “Britain and the Eastern Question, 1875-1898”. Anglo-Ottoman relations in the late nineteenth-early twentieth century, as well as Britain’s representations of the East over that period, be they political and religious in particular, range amongst her current research interests, together with British women’s responses to Ottoman women’s conditions, and the role and status of British subjects in the Ottoman Empire. She has widely published on these issues, including in 2015: “Quand représenter l’Égypte revient à prédire le futur de l’Empire britannique: Charles Piazzi Smyth et la pyramidologie (1864-1898)” (in Catherine Delmas & Daniel Lançon, eds., Vestiges du Proche-Orient et de la Méditerranée, Geuthner).

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