‘‘To write rapidly about Egypt is impossible,’’ apologized explorer, fe
nist, and agent of British empire Amelia Edwards in 1877. ‘‘The sub
grows with the book, and with the knowledge one acquires by the
It is, moreover, a subject beset with such obstacles as must impede e
the swiftest pen; and to that swiftest pen I lay no
As ambiva
as I might be concerning the source of this quotation, I find myself h
pressed to disagree with its significance: for those who have known
while I have lived and labored in Egypt Land, it goes without saying
this process has taken far too long and I have incurred far too many d
along the way for me to do any kind of justice to those I owe here. Ye
was originally drafted as my dissertation for the Department of Eng
at Duke University in 1998, and the people who oversaw it in that s
were generous in their contributions and extraordinary in their sup
and have remained my models for intellectual and political engagem
ever since—Cathy Davidson, Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Nahum Dim
and Wahneema especially have been my constant friends, linked most
portantly by our loves of jazz and trashy Hollywood movies, respecti
and to them I cannot express the depth of my thanks.
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