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John J. Johnston

The Resurrection of an Ancient Icon: The Book of the Dead and Unearthed

To borrow a quote from Peter Cushing’s Egyptologist in Terence Fisher’s The Mummy (UK 1959), arguably the mummy film par excellence: “I suppose the greater part of my life has been spent among the dead.” So, my involvement in Jurassic London’s two volumes of mummy fiction should probably have come as no great surprise. The surprise comes in the serendipitous collaboration, the first of its kind, with the venerable Egypt Exploration Society, of which I have the honour of being Vice Chair. Founded in 1882, this learned society was established in order to preserve and protect the archaeology of Egypt through excavation, recording, and publication.

The Society’s founder, a Victorian novelist, Amelia Blandford Edwards, was troubled by the looting and casual destruction of sites and monuments she witnessed during a lengthy sojourn there and following the publication of her best-selling travel memoir, A Thousand Miles up the Nile, in 1877, she made it her mission to involve professional Egyptologists and interested enthusiasts alike in the work of the Society. To this day, the Society continues to engage with the entire spectrum of those with a passion for ancient Egypt. Although her fiction never directly addressed ancient Egypt, Amelia published a number of fantastical and macabre short stories and I am convinced that she would have approved wholeheartedly of Jurassic London’s efforts to bring the Society to a larger audience, through its two latest publications.

[The Mummy Returns…to its literary roots.]

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