Reading Ancient Egyptian Poetry: Among Other Histories

Reading Ancient Egyptian Poetry: Among Other Histories

by R. B. Parkinson


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Reading Ancient Egyptian Poetry: Among Other Histories by R. B. Parkinson

In Reading Ancient Egyptian Poetry, Richard Parkinson explores how ancient Egyptian poems have been read and perceived across the ages.

  • Presents an innovative and theoretically-informed account of how the most famous ancient Egyptian poems have been read over 4,000 years
  • From a leading expert in the interpretation of ancient Egyptian literature
  • Explores the original experience of ordinary Egyptians enjoying the poems as well as their interpretation during the Middle Kingdom and up to modern times
  • Draws on recent discoveries in the British Museum archives to reconstruct the contexts of the poems

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781405125475
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 02/24/2009
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

R. B. Parkinson is a curator in the Department of Ancient Egypt & Sudan, the British Museum, and regularly teaches in England and Germany. His publications include The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant (1991), the prize-winning Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems 1940–1640 bc (1997), and Poetry and Culture in Middle Kingdom Egypt (2002).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations.


Note on Cited Texts.


Part I Performing Poetry.

1. Visitors in Egypt.

2. Reciting Two Poems at Abu (c. 1840 BC).

3. A Performance.

Part II Reading Old Poems.

4. Writing at the Southern City (c. 1780 BC).

5. A Certain Provincial Scribe (c. 1780 BC).

6. A Library at the Southern City (c. 1680 BC).

7. Imperial Classics in the New Kingdom and Beyond (c. 1550–500 BC).

Part III Studying Ancient Texts.

8. Some Modern Readers (AD 1836 on).

9. Among Other Histories.

Appendix: Translations of the 12th-Dynasty Papyri.




What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Parkinson, one of the foremost scholars of ancient Egyptian literature, does much more than provide translations of these well-known narratives: he brings them back to life by showing us how they were part of the lives of everyday ancient Egyptians, reconstructing their entire performative context and giving us a rich picture of the performers, the audiences, and their physical and cultural world. It will be impossible to read these texts in the same way again." Orly Goldwasser, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

"Parkinson's new book challenges fashions and overcomes mere theory to confront us with living literary actors: both the ancient authors who composed timeless poems and the later readers who reinterpreted them within their own history. This is a jewel of literary perceptiveness." Antonio Loprieno, University of Basel

"In this extraordinary and lyrical book, R. B. Parkinson takes the relationship between text and context to a whole new level, exploring the densely constructed meaning of ancient Egyptian poetry and the ways in which diverse actors and audiences may have experienced it within complex social and physical landscapes. With a strong emphasis on materiality and place, Dr. Parkinson vividly depicts the life history of these texts through to their reception in the modern world, engaging readers in an exhilarating and thought-provoking process of interpretation." Janet Richards, University of Michigan

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