“The Egypt of one's dreams is often just that, a dream rather than the real Egypt of history. That, however, to a large extent is what Egyptomania is all about.”
-from Egyptomania, by Ronald H. Fritze
In this compendium of all things magical and mystical associated by fact or imagination with pharaonic Egypt, Fritze, & professor of history and religion, tracks the Western fascination with the Egypt of myth and legend from its beginnings with the Old Testament Hebrews and Classical Greeks through medieval alchemists and Enlightenment-era occultists to the opening of King Tut's tomb in 1922 and on to the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark and on and on. Though the perspective is primarily Western, Fritze also discusses Islam's "conflicted and contradictory attitude" toward pharaonic civilization. He examines the reality of pharaonic Egypt and the mythical visions it has inspired for millennia, from exhumed mummies taken as medicine to Freemasonry and the obelisk of the Washington Monument, leaving no avenue or alleyway of Egyptomania unexplored. He counterpoises factual Egyptian history with the "babel of baloney" about the mystical powers to pyramids, the fables of Atlantis and the hypotheses of extraterrestrial engineers while surveying the fascination also across fiction and cinema, from Shakespeare to Agatha Christie.