Amelia Peabody's Egypt: A Compendium

Overview

The Egypt that so enticed and enchanted intrepid archaeologist-sleuth Amelia Peabody in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries was a place of wonder, mystery, danger, and the lure of antiquity. Now, with this monumental volume of Egyptian culture, history, and arcania, readers will be able to immerse themselves in the great lady's world more completely than ever before.

Journey through the bustling streets and markets of Cairo a hundred years ago. Surround yourself with the...

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Overview

The Egypt that so enticed and enchanted intrepid archaeologist-sleuth Amelia Peabody in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries was a place of wonder, mystery, danger, and the lure of antiquity. Now, with this monumental volume of Egyptian culture, history, and arcania, readers will be able to immerse themselves in the great lady's world more completely than ever before.

Journey through the bustling streets and markets of Cairo a hundred years ago. Surround yourself with the customs and color of a bygone time. Explore ancient tombs and temples and marvel at the history of this remarkable land -- from the age of the pharaohs through the Napoleonic era to the First World War. Also included in Amelia Peabody's Egypt are a hitherto unpublished journal entry and intimate biographies of the Emersons and their friends, which provide a uniquely personal view of the lives, relationships, opinions, politics, and delightful eccentricities of mystery's first family, as well as unforgettable pearls of wit and wisdom from everyone's favorite fictional Egyptologist herself.

Containing nearly 600 black-and-white photographs and illustrations, and articles by numerous experts, Amelia Peabody's Egypt sparkles with unforgettable glimpses of the exotic and the bizarre, the unusual and the unfamiliar -- a treasure trove that overflows with Egyptological riches, along with wonderful insights into the culture and mores of the Victorian era, including the prevalent attitudes on empire, fashion, feminism, tourists, servants, and much more.

A one-of-a-kind collection that offers endless hours of pleasure for Peabodyphiles and Egypt aficionados alike, here is a tome to cherish; a grand and glorious celebration of the life, the work, and the world of the incomparable Amelia Peabody.

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Editorial Reviews

Anniston Star
“Lovely...delightfully mixes fact with Amelia’s fictional world and brings insight to both.”
Anniston Star
“Lovely...delightfully mixes fact with Amelia’s fictional world and brings insight to both.”
Publishers Weekly
Fans of Peters's bestselling series featuring Amelia Peabody Emerson and her family (Crocodile on the Sandbank, etc.) will welcome this companion volume, which entertainingly blurs fact and fiction. In her role as "editor" of Mrs. Emerson's journals, Peters provides a preface, while other contributors supply articles on the historical and cultural background of Egyptology. (Typical is "`Lesser Breeds without the Law': An Insightful Diatribe on the Victorian Attitude Towards Other Cultures & Peoples," by Barbara Mertz, the real name of the pseudonymous Peters, who has a Ph.D. in the subject.) One section, "The People of the Journals," straightfacedly presents period photographs of the members of the extended Emerson clan. Filled with black-and-white illustrations of people and places (credit for the design goes to Egyptophile Dennis Forbes), this attractive book both informs and enchants. The jacket art of three Victorian ladies inspecting a temple fits the tone of the text perfectly. (On sale Oct. 21) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Amelia Peabody Emerson, the heroine of 15 mystery books by Peters, is a redoubtable Victorian lady who sleuths while working on archaeological digs in Egypt. This colorful compendium of essays, photographs, and drawings provides a closer look into the world of this character, thus serving as a useful tool not only for devoted readers but for the uninitiated as well. The first part of the book offers historical essays on Egyptology; the second, cultural essays on everything from Islamic art and architecture to the duties of Victorian servants; and the third, reference tools that blend fact and fiction, including a name index to the myriad characters in the novels and indexes for true historical figures and place names. Peters, a pseudonym of Barbara Mertz (Egyptology, Univ. of Chicago), contributes an essay on Victorian attitudes toward other cultures, while Barbara Michaels (Mertz's pseudonym for Gothic romances) contributes an essay on Victorian popular fiction. Beautifully designed by Dennis Forbes and lavishly illustrated with 600 period engravings and black-and-white photographs, this delightful book is essential for public libraries and any library with an intelligent leisure-reading collection. [For more information about the Amelia Peabody series, go to www.ameliapeabody.com.-Ed.]-Alison M. Lewis, Drexel Univ. Lib., Philadelphia Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060538118
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/1/2003
  • Series: Amelia Peabody Series
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 278,111
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.87 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Peters

Elizabeth Peters earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. She was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1998. In 2003, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Malice Domestic Convention. She lives in a historic farmhouse in western Maryland.

Biography

Neither the Great Depression nor the lack of a public library in her small hometown of Canton, Illinois, deterred Barbara Mertz (the future Elizabeth Peters) from becoming an avid reader. Yet, when her family moved to a suburb of Chicago, she was elated to discover the riches contained in the town's local library and proceeded to devour every book she could get her hands on. She began writing in high school; but by that time she had already decided to become an archaeologist.

Mertz received a scholarship to the University of Chicago, which boasted a world-famous Egyptology department. Her mother, an eminently practical soul, encouraged her daughter to become a teacher; but after taking only two education courses, Mertz knew a career in the classroom was not for her. Determined to follow her dream, she moved over to the university's Oriental Institute, and received her Ph.D. in Egyptology at the age of 23.

The post-WWII job market wasn't kind to women in general, much less to women seeking careers in archaeology. Mertz married and began a family, but never lost sight of her life's ambition. While she was raising her two children, she decided to try her hand at writing. Her first few attempts were never published, but they did land her an agent; and in 1964 she published her first book, Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt.

Mertz authored two additional works on archaeology before foraying into fiction in 1966. The Master of Blacktower is the first of several gothic suspense novels written under the pseudonym Barbara Michaels. (In her biography, she explains that the use of pseudonyms helps readers to distinguish various types of books written by a single author.) The supernatural elements in the thrillers penned under the Michaels name have kept readers on the edge of their seats for decades.

In the 1970s, Mertz began writing under her second, more famous pseudonym, Elizabeth Peters. As Peters, she has authored books in three different series. Beginning in 1972 with The Seventh Sinner (1972), the first series features a glamorous librarian-turned-romance novelist named Jacqueline Kirby (the final Jacqueline Kirby mystery, Naked Once More, won a coveted Agatha Award in 1989). The second series, starring American art historian Vicky Bliss, debuted in 1973 with Borrower of the Night (Vicky's last outing was 2008's Laughter of Dead Kings). Then, in 1975, Peters introduced her most famous protagonist, archeologist/sleuth Amelia Peabody, in a dandy adventure entitled Crocodile on the Sandbank.

From the first, readers loved Amelia, a plucky Victorian feminist who—together with her husband, the distinguished Egyptologist Radcliffe Emerston—has gone on to solve countless mysteries in the Middle East. Peabody fans received an extra treat in 2003 with Amelia Peabody's Egypt: A Compendium to Her Journals, a nonfiction stroll through ancient Egypt that included nearly 600 photographs and illustrations, plus expert academic articles.

In addition to her three series, Mertz has written several standalone suspense novels as Elizabeth Peters. She has this to say about her successful, prolific career: "The craft of writing delights me. It is impossible to attain perfection; there is always something more to be learned—figuring out new techniques of plotting or characterization, struggling with recalcitrant sentences until I force them to approximate my meaning. And nothing is ever wasted. Everything one sees and hears, everything one learns, can be used."

Good To Know

The pseudonym Elizabeth Peters is taken from her two children, Elizabeth and Peter. She uses three pseudonyms so readers can tell the difference between the three types of books she writes: nonfiction archaeology as Barbara Mertz, supernatural thrillers as Barbara Michaels and historical mysteries as Peters. For the record, Mertz has called the pseudonyms "a horrible nuisance."
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    1. Also Known As:
      Barbara Mertz, Barbara Michaels
    2. Hometown:
      A farm in rural Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 29, 1927
    2. Place of Birth:
      Canton, Illinois
    1. Date of Death:
      August 8, 2013

Table of Contents

Preface 13
Love Among the Ruins: Excerpt from the Unpublished Journal of Professor Radcliffe Emerson, January-February 1885 14
A Splendid Overview of Egyptology: Napoleon to World War I 18
A Commanding Perspective: The British in Egypt, 1884-1917 48
Pictorial Essay: The Emersons' Bane: Tourists Along the Nile 88
An Expert Analysis of the Principles of Islam as Encountered by the Emersons 100
Pictorial Essay: The Art & Architecture of Islam 112
"Lesser Breeds without the Law": An Insightful Diatribe on the Victorian Attitude Towards Other Cultures & Peoples 122
Upstairs, Downstairs: A Skillful Overview of Victorian Servants & Their Duties 130
From Parlor to Pyramid: A Scholarly Study of Amelia Peabody Emerson & the Women's Movement 138
A Specialized Indulgence: Amelia Peabody Emerson & the Evolution of Fashion, 1884-1915 146
Seen But Not Heard: A Sympathetic Scrutiny of the Victorian Philosophy of Childrearing 156
Modern Inconveniences: A Scientific Investigation of Technological Developments in the Emerson Era 164
Musical Heritage: An Adept Discussion of the Musical Repertoire of the Emerson Family 172
The Best of Wonder: An Authoritative Analysis of Victorian Popular Fiction 178
Pictorial Essay: Victorian Visions of Ancient Egypt 189
The People of the Journals (& a Few Animals, Too) 196
Up & Down the Nile (& Other Places, As Well) 238
Words You May Not Find in Webster (Foreign Words & Pharses) 276
Introducing Some Ancient Egyptians (Human & Divine) 294
Pictorial Essay: Egypt & the Egyptians as the Emersons Knew Them 306
Ancient Egyptian Texts Referred to in the Journals 315
The Wit & Wisdom of Amelia Peabody Emerson (& Some Others) 317
Ancient Egypt 101: A Quick Refresher Course 320
For Further Reading 331
Something About the Contributors 333
Illustration Sources 334
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2003

    Another great book for Peters!

    Great book and we finally get to see what the characters look like! Just hope this isn't the last we've heard of Amelia and her clan--after all, in 1922, there was the discovery of King Tut! Would love to see Sethos finally marching to the altar--but please, not with Ms. Minton!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2003

    marvelous glimpse at the history of Egypt

    Egyptologists and readers of the long running Peabody series (mid 1970s) will appreciate this volume that provides deep insight into the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a period of archeological activity that shed a light on the country¿s glorious heritage. The compilation takes the audience on tours of Cairo at the turn of the previous century and even more incredibly, a deep look while accompanying some of the archeologists at their digs into ancient tombs and temples. <P>This is not a Peabody novel, but instead a marvelous glimpse at the history of Egypt with an emphasis on the Age of Archeology and the past it uncovered. The tome contains six hundred photographs and illustrations, a deep glossary, and several intriguing essays and commentaries from experts in the field. With the success of the recent Mummy movies and the long bestselling run of field archeologist Peabody and family, the well written, fascinating AMELIA PEABODY'S EGYPT A COMPENDIUM is a delight that brings to life the distant past and relatively recent past in a county with a rich heritage of many millenniums. Elizabeth Peters caps her great writing career with this tome that will fascinate her fans and those who cherish Egyptology. <P>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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