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One of the Best 19th Century Accounts of "Old Egypt"
on 15 April 2014
Duff-Gordon's Letters from Egypt accounts the life and culture of Egypt while still under the Ottoman Empire, with both a detached and passionate flair. Duff-Gordon's own tribulations (she was afflicted with tuberculosis and eventually died in Egypt from the disease) gave her the reason to be in Egypt - first as a bemused visitor, but later as a passionate champion for her "poor fellaheen," or everyday people in Egypt. Living in a variety of lodgings (including squatting briefly in Karnak temple, and hiring a houseboat to cruise the Nile at a lazy speed) Duff-Gordon makes old Egypt before the 20th century come alive and brings the heart of the people to the reader. I highly recommend the book, as it gives you the flavour of the times, but more importantly, it gives insight into the welcoming nature of the Egyptian people, some of which can be experienced even today in the 21st century.