The Charm of Egypt Preview
129 Pages, 5.5″x8.5″
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Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, born in Alexandria in the Khedivate of Egypt in 1876 to an Italian couple, came of age during the turn of the 20th Century. He witnessed the rapid advancement of industrial society, observed the struggles of Europe’s Great Powers as a war reporter, and saw firsthand the cataclysmic events of the Great War while a soldier in the Italian army.
Marinetti founded the Italian “Futurist” movement, which emphasized dynamism, speed, technology, youth, and violence, finding inspiration in the automobile, the airplane, and the industrial city, and aimed to liberate Italy from the weight of its past. Futurism’s key figures were Marinetti himself, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Fortunato Depero, Gino Severini, Giacomo Balla, and Luigi Russolo. He would also gain some influence outside of Italy, notably with the Englishman Wyndham Lewis, whose “Vorticist” style drew heavily on Futurism.
Marinetti found the world of the Great Powers, tied down by their immense histories, to be suffocating and moribund: like an open-air museum. He loved above all else the world of action and fire, machine-guns, cannons, and ironclad vessels. On this shared love of action, he drew close to Mussolini’s Fascists, though this relationship was often troubled by Marinetti’s criticism of what he perceived to be Fascism’s reactionary tendencies.
Originally published in 1933 as Il Fascino dell’Egitto, Marinetti’s The Charm of Egypt is both a diary and an artistic rendering of his adventures among the Egyptian dunes. Marinetti paints the world as he saw it, through his unique Futurist perspective. His reflections on the land of his birth, and the changes wrought upon it by the forward march of technology, come together in this fascinating homage to that ancient and beautiful land.
After nearly a century, Antelope Hill is proud to present The Charm of Egypt for the first time to the English reader. We hope that this beautiful account by one of Europe’s most radical thinkers and artists will become a timeless artifact to be studied and enjoyed by many future generations to come.