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. The most penetrating study of the curse ever conducted shows that its structure and meaning changed over time, as public attitudes toward archaeology and the Middle East were transformed by events such as the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. Victorian women writers likened unwrapping to rape, but to exploit the growing popularity of Egyptology, Hollywood turned mummies from victims into monsters, destroying the curse's power to challenge abuses of human remains. So mummies came to symbolize everything wrong and rotten: pollution, age, death, difference and defiance of authority, becoming imaginary friends or cautionary examples for children.
"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. 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. The Mummy's Curse asks: must we debase other cultures in order to practice our own?
'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