Lucie Duff Gordon: A Passage to Egypt

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Lucie Duff Gordon: A Passage to Egypt by Katherine Frank

The mysterious cities of the dead, Egypt's desert Necropoli, set the scene for this book. It is based on the journey of Lucie Duff Gordon in the last century, but interweaves the modern-day experiences of the author, and life and death in ancient Egypt. Lucie Duff Gordon, suffering from TB, went to Egypt to die and in fact survived long enough to become deeply involved in the culture and to live almost as a native Egyptian.

Lucie Duff Gordon was a world apart from her Victorian counterparts. An intellectual, traveller, writer and progressive social commentator, she and her husband led a bohemian, eccentric and highly unconventional life in London, socialising with such luminaries as Tennyson, Dickens and Thackeray. In 1862, however, Lucie was diagnosed with tuberculosis and on the advice of her doctor, left her husband and three children to live in Egypt, where she would spend the rest of her life.

Drawing on Duff Gordon's correspondence with her family, Katherine Frank elegantly relates the dramatic transformation that she underwent as she discarded the restrictions of Victorian England, shunned the English community in Cairo and immersed herself in the Egyptian way of life - 'the real, true Arabian nights'. Lucie Duff Gordon, Noor ala Noor 'light from the source of all light' as she later became, led an exceptional, luminous life, never afraid to step outside the boundaries of convention and explore the unknown.

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