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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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Table of Contents

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Chapter One: Introducing Sir Henry Rider Haggard 11 Chapter Two: Framing Haggard’s Cleopatra 36 Chapter Three: The Birth and Initiation of Harmachis 57 Chapter Four: The Rise of Harmachis 89 Chapter Five: The Fall of Harmachis 114 Chapter Six: The Return and Revenge of Harmachis 136 Chapter Seven: The Defeat of Death 174 Works Cited 193

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