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A little-known poet, Aleksander Groza published an extensive work, Twardowski, in 1873.It is a rather poor literary work, however, it does provide an excellent exemplification of multiple threads in Orientalist discourse in the 19th century, and the many speculations surrounding it: “Egyptian” alchemy (and speculation relating to the achievements of that civilization), misconceptions surrounding the Egyptian eschatology (reincarnation, metempsychosis, etc.), the ethnogenesis of the ancient Egyptians and their alleged relationships with India, theosophy, Gnosticism, etc.
The book focuses on several individuals and several events exemplifying the uniqueness, and the breakthrough character of the time.The breakthrough in the nineteenth-century history of Egypt “circa 1850”; the death of Muhammad Ali and the reign of his successors (with varying degrees of success) makes one stop to reflect on the middle of that century.Edward Said also suggests namely the year 1850 as the date of the closure of a significant formational phase, as well as of formulation, from the Western perspective, of a basic (“full”) resource, a body of Orientalist knowledge: geographical discoveries, descriptions, scientific treatises, museum collections (in one word – paradigm), applied in principle to the present day.Perhaps the so-called workshop of scarabs (scarab factory) functioned to enable negotiations to be carried out between the two separated spaces.Scarabs were an extremely popular symbol and amulet for both Egyptians and Greeks."Traits of a Strange Texture": Adam Mickiewicz's Egyptological Marginalia.Rulers and politicians of the Muslim world were asking themselves the question of how to overcome this blissful, but increasingly severe paralysis, how heavily to support themselves on their own tradition during the potential transformation, how to look for a non-confrontational rapprochement with the West – or how to effectively maintain distance – in order toboth profit and not cause an abrupt, ruthless expansion of European powers, who, under the appearance of “enlightened assistance” and “civilizing mission”, would simply carry out brutal colonization.
In the late 18th century, poverty and the functional inertia of Egypt, which, despite its formal subordination to Istanbul, was still enjoying an aspect of individuality (the reign of the Mamluks), were compounded due to several successive low Nile floods and epidemics.
Their glosses are usually imprecise, and sometimes even downright inaccurate or misleading.
The author identifies and discusses three main sources of Mickiewicz's references to the Egypt of the pharaohs.
From the early Middle Ages, this heritage was embedded in the Arabian, Muslim context; civilizations completely alien to each other were usually seen by Europeans as inseparable, as a paradoxical unity.
Actual tension was growing at the same time in politics, demanding – on both sides – the wording of some concept of mutual relations in the forthcoming decades.
They are his notes from Joachim Lelewel's lectures on Ancient Egypt, his memories of Egyptian art in the poem "On the Grecian Room in the Moscow Home of Countess Zeneida Volkonskaya", and several minor ' Egyptological' notes in his historical works.“Pan Twardowski” is a half legendary character of a Polish Renaissance alchemist, referenced to in more than a dozen literary works.