Europe and Its Fundamental Myths. The Significance of Napoleon’s Expedition in Egypt in Literature and in Art and the Orientalism Cover Image
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Европа и нейните основополагащи митове. Значението на Наполеоновата експедиция в Египет в литературата и в изкуството и Ориентализмът
Europe and Its Fundamental Myths. The Significance of Napoleon’s Expedition in Egypt in Literature and in Art and the Orientalism

Author(s): Michael Bernsen
Contributor(s): Angel Valentinov Angelov (Translator)
Subject(s): Visual Arts, Regional Geography, Studies of Literature, History of ideas, Modern Age
Published by: Институт за литература - BAN
Keywords: Europe; Fundamental Myths; Napoleon’s Expedition in Egypt; Literature; Visual Art; Orientalism

Summary/Abstract: The military and scientific French expedition in Egypt, guided by Napoleon Bonaparte, lies at the root of the Modern reception and assimilation of the ancient Egyptian culture. The expedition creates a fundamental myth with long-lasting consequences – the will to investigate in depth the dimensions of European culture. In the article, which is a part of a large scientific project, the author retraces how the ancient Egyptian culture was represented during the 19 c. in works of the French writers Nerval and Flaubert and of the painters Gérôme, Vedder, Leopold Müller.The author discusses Eduard Said’s thesis that the belles lettres in 19 c. and the Orientalistic paintings support the creation of a discourse of domination towards the East. However, only a few works confirm such a that, most of the paintings and the literary works on an Oriental topic cannot plainly confirm Said’s thesis. Bernsen draws the conclusion that the Orientalistic paintings, as well as the literary works, require a differentiated interpretation. Arts present the pretentions of the West European discourse of domination, called Orientalism, both critically and playfully. The texts of Nerval and Flaubert, as well as the pictures of Vedder and Leopold Müller initially manifest a suspicion towards the pretentions for domination of the West European civilising discourse when encountering the Orient, and then they deconstruct this discourse.

  • Issue Year: 61/2018
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 20-35
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Bulgarian