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The Defeat of Death

A Reading of Sir Henry Rider Haggard’s "Cleopatra</I>

Afroditi-Maria Panaghis

The monograph reads Sir Henry Rider Haggard’s historical romance Cleopatra (1889) with the aim to delineate the last decade of the Victorian period, shed light on the attempt to forge identity, and demonstrate the author’s preoccupation with the concept of coincidentia oppositorum as the basic principle of life, death, and regeneration. Through the mythic figure of Cleopatra, the simulacrum of the goddess Isis, the writer underscores that death can be defeated and immortality attained. By simulating ancient Egypt, submerging in the unconscious, withdrawing from the ephemeral world and espousing the spiritual, he came to terms with his fear of mortality, rejuvenated his self, and redeemed his soul. In perusing the three papyri, discovered in the hero’s sarcophagus, the reader traces the progress from the Ptolemaic degenerate court to that of Isis.


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image: Queen Cleopatra: the Serpent of the Nile Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Panaghis, Afroditi-Maria, 1947- The Defeat of Death : a Reading of Sir Henry Rider Haggard's Cleopatra / Afroditi-Maria Panaghis. p. cm. ISBN 978-3-631-62723-5 1. Haggard, H. Rider (Henry Rider), 1856-1925. Cleopatra. 2. Historical fiction, English—History and criticism. 3. Death in literature. I. Title. PR4731.C5P36 2013 823'.8—dc23 2013037662 ISBN 978-3-631-62723-5 (Print) E-ISBN 978-3-653-02681-8 (E-Book) DOI 10.3726/978-3-653-02681-8 © Peter Lang GmbH Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften Frankfurt am Main 2013 All rights reserved. Peter Lang Edition is an Imprint of Peter Lang GmbH. Peter Lang – Frankfurt am Main ∙ Bern ∙ Bruxelles ∙ New York ∙ Oxford ∙ Warszawa ∙ Wien All parts of this publication are protected by copyright. Any utilisation outside the strict limits of the copyright law, without the permission of the publisher, is forbidden and liable to prosecution. This applies in particular to reproductions, translations, microfilming, and storage and processing in electronic retrieval systems. This Book is dedicated to my sister Sofia-Zoe Panaghis who enriched my life and vision with her love for ethics and perfection

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