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The Image of Orient according diaries and correspondence of participants of the Egyptian expedition (1798-1801)

Prousskaïa Evguenia

   The image of the Orient in the sources of personal origin differed from the image created by the leaders of the Army of Orient. In comparison with the locals, with their habits, customs, religion and the way of life the French realized their own cultural superiority. On the example of the inhabitants of Egypt the invaders formed a judgment on the «inhabitants of Orient» in general, and made generalizations about their habits and customs which were common in their opinion for all Orient. Oriental people (les Orientaux) became for the French the «Others», in comparison with whom the conquerors felt their superiority and emphasized such identifying features of their character, as generosity, humanity and enlightenment. Accordingly, in the writings of the expedition members the motif of the necessity to civilize the Egyptians was expressed as well as idea of the outspread of the French Revolution values. But in Egypt the French didn’t always follow these ideas in practice, preferring to act at the cruel (in their opinion) Orient accordingly to the local practices. Thus, the image of the Orient determinated the French policy towards it.

Keywords: Egypt, France, Bonaparte’s expedition to the Orient, image of the Other.
Link: Prousskaïa E. The Image of Orient according diaries and correspondence of participants of the Egyptian expedition (1798-1801) // Annuaire d'études françaises 2014, tome 2: La France et l'Orient / Annual of French Studies 2014, volume 2 : France and Orient.М. P. 166-188.