Lettres sur l'Égypte

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by M. Claude Etienne Savary

Claude-Étienne Savary (1750-1788) traveled to Egypt in 1776 and remained there for three years.[1] His three volume Lettres sur l’Egypte includes not only his own personal recollections, but also observations about ancient and modern Egypt that he drew in part from Arab authors little known to his European audience.[2] Savary’s writing was highly praised at the time of its publication for its “picturesque style” and “vivid descriptions.”[3] The Lettres were translated into English, German, Dutch, and Swedish.[4] However, the work did garner criticism from those who felt the book was more novel than nonfiction, that Savary’s observations were exaggerated, and that he was prone to making mistakes when calculating dates.[5] By the ninteenth century, the Lettres had lost much of their popularity, as Savary’s writing was considered overly extravagant.[6]

Bibliographic Information

Author: M. Claude Etienne Savary.

Title: Lettres sur l'Égypte, Où l'on Offre le Parallèle des Moeurs Anciennes & Modernes de Ses Habitans, Où L'on Décrit L'état, le Commerce, l'Agriculture, le Gouvernement du Pays, & la Descente de S. Louis À Damiette, Tirée de Joinville & des Auteurs Arabes, avec des Cartes Géographiques.

Published: Paris: Onfroi, 1785-86.

Edition: ; three volumes.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in full mottled calf bindings with gilt decorated spines and head and tail pieces throughout. Purchased from Eveleigh Books.

View this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

External Links

Google Books


  1. Biographie Universelle Ancienne et Moderne: Histoire par Ordre Alphabétique de la Vie Publique et Privée de Tous les Hommes qui sont Fait Remarquer par Leurs écrits, Leurs Actions, Leurs Talents, Leurs Virtues ou Leurs Crimes, Louis-Gabriel Michaud, ed. (Paris: Chez Madame C. Desplaces, 1843), 108-109.
  2. Robert Kerr, A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Arranged in Systematic Order: Forming a Complete History of the Origin and Process of Navigation, Discovery, and Commerce, by Sea and Land, from the Earliest Ages to the Present Time, (Edinburgh: William Blackwood, 1824), 18:596.
  3. Biographie Universelle Ancienne et Moderne.
  4. Kerr, A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.
  5. Biographie Universelle Ancienne et Moderne.
  6. Kerr, A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.