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The Mummy's Curse: Mummymania in the English-speaking World Paperback – 2 Aug 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; New Ed edition (2 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415327075
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415340229
  • ASIN: 0415340225
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,601,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


'Jasmine Day's The Mummy's Curse contains significant research into museum collections. Day extensively combs a variety of historical sources, including fiction and poetry.'  The Canberra Times

'In a word, brilliant. Jasmine Day fills in a huge gap between popular culture and the scientific study of mummies ... A masterley study of mummies in early popular culture ranges confidently from Napolean to B-movie shockers to reveal their shifting and often contradictory meanings and uses.'  The Fortean Times

About the Author

Jasmine Day is a freelance lecturer in Egyptology.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
'[T]he fantasy world acquires a particular fabulous concreteness in popular intellectual life' whenever a fictional character divorces its original context, enters into public consciousness and takes on a life of its own (Gramsci 1985:350). Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr Hackenbacker on 24 Dec. 2006
Format: Paperback
In addition to being a serious academic work (based on a doctoral thesis), this book provides a fascinating insight into the often bizarre yet highly entertaining manifestations of Egyptology in popular culture. The origin of modern myths such as Tutankhamen's Curse and the resurrection of Mummies in countless works of literature and films are considered in astonishing detail. Examples vary from the influences of Victorian writers such as Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, to the B-grade Mummy movies of the Universal and Hammer studios, right through to the Lara Croft/Tomb Raiders era, and even Tom Baker's Dr Who classic "Pryamids of Mars".

I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in discovering exactly how popular perceptions of ancient Egyptian society, have effectively been formed by a relentless tide of cheesy horror fiction!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Albert Neanderthal on 18 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite the rather garish cover, this is a serious work on the influence of Egypt and particularly mummy mania on our perception of Ancient egypt.

Anyone intersted in Egyptomania and Egyptianising influences will want this book. It is packed with information that would be difficult for the non researcher to find in print. Despite being a scholarly book it is also a very good and engrosing read as the author has an excellent style of writing. This is the sort of book that when you start reading you will not want to put it down.

I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in ancient Egypt or the impact of Egypt in the media and our very day lives.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
El llibre es força interessant, però cal llegir el títol complet per a entendre bé el contingut del volum.
Es tracta del resum d'una tesi doctoral de l'àrea d'antropologia social i cultural. Per tant se centra en la interpretació del fenomen de momiamania en el món anglòfon, no en la història; i, el tema de la maledicció no és el central, tot i que evidentment conté informació.
La Dra. Jasmine Day reconeix tres períodes en la història particular de la momiamania: un preclàssic que és on apareix la llegenda de la maledicció; un de clàssic amb l'aparició de les pel·lícules de la Universal fins a les de la Hammer; i un postclàssic a partir de 1972.
Imprescindible per entendre el fenomen encara que alguns dels plantejaments, com acostuma a passar amb molts treballs antropològics, són discutibles.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
supplemented with useful illustrations, many made by the author 30 Sept. 2014
By William Joy - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An exceptional work on the subject of mummies. The author's comprehensive research is presented in a scholarly, but still very readable manner, supplemented with useful illustrations, many made by the author. Highly recommended!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Look at Mummies Through Communist-Colored Glasses 7 May 2013
By armagecko - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I rented this book for $8 (because $28 for an ephemeral ebook is absurd - note to Amazon, author, whoever) and read it over several days. I was interested in reading an intelligent dissection of the Mummy mythos and in learning more about its beginnings in literature. The Kindle formatting was very good on the Fire; the black and white illustrations were clear, paragraphs well-spaced. However, the book contained several pictures of movie posters and comic book covers, so color graphics were expected, especially at that price.

The book includes sections on the history of Egyptology, the literary beginnings of mummy-mania, an analysis of mummies in film and culture, and a study of modern museum presentations. The author admits that the book is based on her doctoral thesis, and the first section reads very academically, with every other sentence parenthetically attributed (author-date: page) to a consulted reference source, proving that the author has done some homework. As my interest was in uncovering new primary sources, this was helpful to me, but this serves as fair warning to those who do not enjoy such exercise.

The author initially states that she is "not without fondness for [her] subject matter," and she echoes one of her sources by agreeing that, "Mummy fantasies should certainly be `accepted and appreciated for what they are, rather than condemned or dismissed for what they are not.'" However, by page 10, her true intentions are apparent: "The long-term, if unintentional, effect of cinema's monstrous precedent has been generations of contempt for mummies, from their derogatory portrayals in cinema, cartoons and toys to children's jokes and casual putdowns by museum visitors." And, sadly, much of the rest of the book is simply a biased attack on western culture and "the media" for demonizing mummies.

In the book, the author uses one, unopposed, lens through which to view the entire mummy mythos: Italian-communist Antonio Gramsci's concept of hegemony. Gramsci claimed that folklore is confiscated by the ruling class, then adapted to support ruling-class values and presented back to the common people as their own. As proof of this "control-via-culture" paradigm, the author suggests that the Mummy's Curse ("death to those who disturb my tomb") was originally seen as sympathetic to mummies (since their graves were being molested), but later the curse was appropriated by "the media" and changed to portray mummies as evil. The author says, "This reversal was apparently engineered by the media to suppress the opposition to archaeology." She adds, "...[T]he media inverted the ethical principles of the curse - not by undoing its moral argument but merely by attaching negative attributes to mummies. It is easier to slander the enemy than to engage it in debate. This strategy is a form of abjection." So, what was originally characterized as perhaps "unintentional" is now described as an "engineered strategy" to abject-ify mummies. (...also, is it possible to engage a mummy in a debate??) Later, she suggests that popular children's books are also part of this sinister (racist?) plot.

In a following chapter, the author submits the mummy mythos to Freudian analysis. Here, the Egyptian tomb is (of course) a vagina and the excavations are inevitably symbols of rape. (More dastardly deeds from those western villains...) She quotes a passage from Jane Austen's story where the character cuts off the mummy's wrappings, "from neck to heel with a sharp knife," as proof of this rape symbolism. She later uses Joseph Campbell's "dragon principle" to explain how the West justified these "crimes" against mummies. Throughout her analysis of mummies in film, she repeatedly vilifies "the media", as if every film studio's raison d'etre was to proliferate this secret anti-mummy conspiracy. She states, "A film is never just a film." (Who knew??)

This book is not without merit. The author provides some helpful historical context to the mummy mythos and some useful sources for deeper investigation. And, there are a few points of interest that are not tainted by the overreaching Gramscian analysis. If nothing else, she should be applauded for devoting her studies to an interesting but neglected topic. The book is described as, "The most penetrating study of the curse ever conducted...uncovers forgotten nineteenth-century fiction and poetry..." so it seemed like the perfect read to me. The descriptive clue to which I should have paid more attention was, "reveals the prejudices embedded in children's toys." Had I known that the book was an unabashed (and sometimes unintentionally humorous) assault on western civilization from that all-too-familiar, academia-induced, Cultural Marxist perspective, I would have probably kept my money. Glad I only rented. Grade: C-minus.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A great book! 2 Jan. 2013
By Mark D. Stickney - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It is easy reading and still a great source of information. The only reason I did not give it five stars is that the cost of the book will limit how many readers will be able to share with me my enjoyment of the book.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great book. 10 Dec. 2012
By Money Penny - Published on
Format: Paperback
Very interesting, I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this to parents and history buffs, and even teen who are interested in Mummy info.
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