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Hieroglyphic ModernismsWriting and New Media in the Twentieth Century$
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Jesse Schotter

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474424776

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474424776.001.0001

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Introduction: A Hieroglyphic Civilisation

Introduction: A Hieroglyphic Civilisation

(p.1) Introduction: A Hieroglyphic Civilisation
Hieroglyphic Modernisms

Jesse Schotter

Edinburgh University Press

The introduction traces how, through the comparison to Egyptian hieroglyphs, twentieth-century writers, directors, and theorists incessantly invoked other media as well as other nations as they sought to define the most essential qualities and capabilities of their own. Rather than attempting to combine media, the modernists defined the uniqueness of any medium by its hybridity, its ability to enclose or embody the sonic, visual, or semantic characteristics of other media forms. At the same time, by situating conceptions of hieroglyphics within the historical context of Egypt in the 1920s and in relation to the novels of Tawfiq al-Hakim and Naguib Mahfouz, the book insists on the fundamental connection between theories of new technologies on the one hand and colonialism, nationalism, and the universalist desire to bridge linguistic and cultural boundaries on the other.

Keywords:   Egypt, Hieroglyphs, Visual Languages, Media, Film, Modernism

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