The Mummy's Curse
Mummymania in the English-speaking world
By Jasmine Day
Routledge – 2005 – 240 pages
The most penetrating study of the curse ever conducted, The Mummy's Curse uncovers forgotten nineteenth-century fiction and poetry, revolutionizes the study of mummy horror films, and reveals the prejudices embedded in children’s toys.
Examining original surveys and field observations of museum visitors demonstrate that media stereotypes - to which museums inadvertently contribute - promote vilification of mummies, which can invalidate demands for their removal from display. Jasmine Day shows that the curse's structure and meaning has changed over time, as public attitudes toward archaeology and the Middle East were transformed by events such as the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.
The riddle of the 'curse of the pharaohs' is finally solved via a radical anthropological treatment of the legend as a cultural concept rather than a physical phenomenon. A must for anyone interested in this ancient and mystifying legend.
'Jasmine Day's The Mummy's Curse contains significant research into museum collections. Day extensively combs a variety of historical sources, including fiction and poetry.' – The Canberra Times
'In a word, brilliant. Jasmine Day fills in a huge gap between popular culture and the scientific study of mummies … A masterley study of mummies in early popular culture ranges confidently from Napolean to B-movie shockers to reveal their shifting and often contradictory meanings and uses.' – The Fortean Times
Unravelling the Mummy. Sex and Death: Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Popular Culture. Fear and Loathing: Twentieth Century Classic Mummy Films. Giggles and Goosebumps: Late Twentieth Century Popular Culture. Attraction and Repulsion: Mummies in Museums. Wrapping It Up. Appendix. Endnotes. Bibliography. Index
Jasmine Day is a freelance lecturer in Egyptology.