Poetry, stories, hymns, prayers, and wisdom texts found exquisite written expression in ancient Egypt while their literary counterparts were still being recited around hearth fires in ancient Greece and Israel. Yet, because of its very antiquity and the centuries during which the language was forgotten, ancient Egyptian literature is a newly discovered country for modern readers.
This anthology offers an extensive sampling of all the major genres of ancient Egyptian literature. It includes all the texts from John Foster’s previous book Echoes of Egyptian Voices, along with selections from his Love Songs of the New Kingdom and Hymns, Prayers, and Songs: An Anthology of Ancient Egyptian Lyric Poetry, as well as previously unpublished translations of four longer and two short poems. Foster’s translations capture the poetical beauty of the Egyptian language and the spirit that impelled each piece’s composition, making these ancient masterworks sing for modern readers. An introduction to ancient Egyptian literature and its translation, as well as brief information about the authorship and date of each selection, completes the volume.
This exceptional sampling of one of the world's most ancient literatures offers more than 40 hymns, stories, prayers, and songs revolving around religion, the Pharaohs, life, death, love, and more. The literary translation presents a critical reading of the ancient texts rather than a strict literal rendering. We do not know for certain how to pronounce the language as it was spoken 3000 to 4000 years ago, but Foster (research associate, Oriental Inst., Chicago) includes a number of poems in their original hieroglyphs, adding an exotic touch. The introduction to ancient Egyptian literature, as well as information about the authorship and chronology of each selection, helps to place the works in context. An excellent glossary explains many of the ancient concepts for the modern reader, who will discover that the splendor of Pharaonic visual art of which we know and see plenty has its parallel in literature. Highly recommended for all literary collections, this is also of interest to comprehensive collections of Egyptology, Near Eastern history, world literature in translation, and religion. Ali Houissa, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.