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Egypt (La Mort de Philae)

Pierre Loti

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . of priests and doctors charged with the propagation of the word of the Prophet amongst the nations, from the Mohreb to the Arabian Sea, passing through the great deserts. About the end of our tenth century the glorious Fatimee Caliphs built this immense assemblage of arches and columns, which became the seat of the most renowned Moslem university in the world. And since then successive sovereigns of Egypt have vied with one another in perfecting and enlarging it, adding new halls, new galleries, new minarets, till they have made of El-Azhar almost a town within a town.

"He who seeks instruction is more loved of God than he who fights in a holy war." —A verse from the Hadith.

Eleven o'clock on a day of burning sunshine and dazzling light. El-Azhar still vibrates with the murmur of many voices, although the lessons of the morning are nearly finished.

Once past the threshold of the double ornamented door we enter the courty. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Pierre Loti traveled extensively both during his time in the French navy and afterwards. Some beautiful descriptions plus many humorous parts as Loti describes the overrunning of Egypt by tourists and gives rather demeaning descriptions of them. One can tell that he really loves Egypt.

Loti’s poetic descriptions of place are beautiful to read, and really portray a vision of the setting as a nuanced place of death, change, and colonialism. As a whole a tough read, but if taken as individual travel essays/memoirs read one a time, very enjoyable and captivating. I could linger on...more