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Caught Up in “Eternal Repetitions”: Napoleon in Egypt and Rome

Caught Up in “Eternal Repetitions”: Napoleon in Egypt and Rome

Chapter:
(p.198) Ten Caught Up in “Eternal Repetitions”: Napoleon in Egypt and Rome
Source:
The Conquest of Ruins
Author(s):
Julia Hell
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226588223.003.0011

Chapter ten begins the exploration of the French case of neo-Roman mimesis and its particular deployment of ruin scenes. The author argues that French imperial mimesis consists of three acts, bookended by the Napoleonic conquest of Egypt in 1798 as the first act of French imitation staged among Egypt’s Roman ruins, and the occupation of Rome in 1806, with its designs for the restructuring of the ancient metropole, as the third act. The chapter ends with Joseph Fourier’s introduction to the Description de l’Égypte as a Napoleonic manifesto in the vein of Augustus’s Res Gestae. Fourier rewrites the conquest’s failure as anticipating the success of France’s future ventures. In the process, Fourier rediscovers empire’s time as the time before the end.

Keywords:   Jules Michelet, Luxor obelisk, Ottoman Empire, Napoleon, Egyptian campaign, Joseph Fourier, Description de l’Égypte, occupation of Rome, Roman masquerade, Rome's architectural stage

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