Raccontare l Egitto. Astrolabio, quadrante e cannocchiale in Carsten Niebuhr

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroChapter


This essay, which appeared in a volume dedicated to the relationship between literature and optical devices between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, investigates the influence of the use of instruments such as the astrolabe, the quadrant and the telescope on the perception of the world observed and recounted by Carsten Niebuhr during his journey to Egypt between September 1761 and August 1762. The analysis intends to gather the relations and analogies between the geometrical-astronomical method which Niebuhr the geographer adopts and the ways of representing the world of Niebuhr the traveller. To draw the maps he proceeds with a two-dimensional measurement to which is added the three-dimensional, astronomic, “external” one, which collocates places in space thanks to his observation of the sky. One finds an analogy between this method and the way in which, in the page of his diary, Niebuhr recounts and represents only that which he can “measure” physically, or rather experiment rationally, but which he also illustrates from an “external” viewpoint, that is by comparing it with other worlds, which are situated “outside” the observed world; to this game in perspective a further point of view is added, that of the upside down viewpoint, concretely represented by the telescope which turns objects upside down and which is expressed in the perception of his own world, the European one, seen from another perspective, that of the Egyptian world. The game of optics, both in the literal sense and in the figurative sense, of the geographer and of the traveller, reveals the weakness of the Enlightenment’s claim to objectivity, an example of that which has been defined potential and unaware orientalism.
Titolo tradotto del contributo[Autom. eng. transl.] Telling about Egypt. Astrolabe, dial and telescope in Carsten Niebuhr
Lingua originaleItalian
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteLa finestra del testo. Letteratura e dispositivi della visione tra Settecento e Ottocento
EditorValeria, Cometa Michele Cammarata
Numero di pagine20
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2008


  • Carsten Niebuhr
  • Letteratura di viaggio
  • Ricezione Egitto cultura tedesca XVIII secolo


Entra nei temi di ricerca di 'Raccontare l Egitto. Astrolabio, quadrante e cannocchiale in Carsten Niebuhr'. Insieme formano una fingerprint unica.

Cita questo