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Henri Duveyrier. Un saint-simonien au désert.

Abstract : Henri Duveyrier will remain for posterity the explorer of the Tuareg country - this is the title he bears on the plaque that the Geographical Society has affixed to the discreet and grey tomb where he lies in the Père Lachaise cemetery. He was 24 years old when he published Les Touareg du Nord in 1864. His fame was immediate. A brilliantly composed commission awarded him - "with a unanimous voice", the reporter said - the great gold medal of the Geographical Society of Paris and had him awarded it on April 15, 1864 "amidst the applause of the assembly". The great explorer Heinrich Barth immediately let it be known that he "sincerely" approved of this choice. Victor-Adolphe Malte-Brun, the Secretary General of the Society, wrote a praiseworthy account of the book in the Annales des voyages. Sainte-Beuve also showered him with praise in Le Constitutionnel of Monday, November 21, 1864, giving him credit for having published not a "Journal suivi" but a work composed according to the "Volney method". I doubt very much that Duveyrier had read at the time this Voyage en Syrie et en Égypte - a sober and disenchanted book which the members of the Egyptian expedition, led by Bonaparte, had written their breviary, and which contrasted with the orientalist style of work in vogue at the time. But, in fact, he too successively described the physical and political state of the countries he had travelled through between 13 June 1859 and 2 September 1861. Geography, geology, meteorology, mineral production, flora and fauna were first dealt with; the author then considered the commercial and religious centres; finally, he spoke of the northern Tuaregs, their supposed origin, their history, their distinctive features, their family and social life. The similarity stops there: Duveyrier does not have the sorry look of his predecessor of 1787. His book has the freshness of a first encounter. The traveller was only twenty years old, his hosts were not yet subject to him.
Keywords : Desert Tuaregs
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Contributor : Dominique Casajus <>
Submitted on : Monday, May 25, 2020 - 12:00:09 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, January 24, 2021 - 11:18:01 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-02617477, version 1


Dominique Casajus. Henri Duveyrier. Un saint-simonien au désert.. Qantara, Institut du Monde Arabe, 2009, pp.33. ⟨halshs-02617477⟩



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