The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, 1940-1640 BC

The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, 1940-1640 BC

The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, 1940-1640 BC

The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, 1940-1640 BC

Synopsis

Drawing on recent advances in Egyptology, R. B. Parkinson's new translations bring to life for the modern reader the golden age of Egyptian fictional literature, the Middle Kingdom (c. 1940-1640 BC). The book features The Tale of Sinuhe, acclaimed as the masterpiece of Egyptian poetry, which tells of a courtier's adventures after he flees Egypt. Other works include stories of fantastic wonders from the court of the builder of the Great Pyramid, a lyrical dialogue between a man and his soul on the nature of death and the problem of suffering, and teachings about the nature of virtue and wisdom, one of which is bitterly spoken from the grave by the assassinated king Amenemhat I, founder of the Twelfth Dynasty. A general introduction discusses the historical context of the poetry, the nature of poetry, and the role of literature in ancient Egyptian culture., while a full set of notes explicates allusions, details of mythology, place-names, and the like. Parkinson's book provides, for the first time, a literary reading to enable these poems to entertain and instruct the modern reader, as they did their original audiences three-and-a-half thousand years ago.

Excerpt

This anthology contains those literary works from Middle Kingdom Egypt that are not too obscured by problems of preservation, textual corruption, or philological difficulties. Only relatively complete works are translated, but a selection of other fragments is included in a final section. Although these texts have been long acknowledged as 'literary' in some sense of the word, they remain unknown to many people familiar with other ancient classics. The English anthologies of William Kelly Simpson and Miriam Lichtheim have ended their confinement to a specialized discipline, and I hope to continue this process of making them accessible for the general reader. Thus, my translations are meant to be free enough for general readers and literal enough to help those reading the original; as with period performances of Western music, a balance between strict authenticity and spontaneous passion is desirable. Like all readers of Egyptian, I owe much to Lichtheim's renderings, which touch the very heart of the originals, and are models of style and clarity.

These translations do not aspire to the Egyptological impossible state of being definitive, but I hope that they embody the present state of our understanding of the texts. Many texts lack full critical editions and commentaries, and there is still no fully comprehensive dictionary of Egyptian, although we now have Rainer Hannig valuable Großes Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch-Deutsch (Mainz, 1995). My translations and notes do not include any technical and philological comments, or indications of uncertainties: the notes would otherwise have been overburdened with alternatives, doubts, qualifications, and specific references. It should be clear enough to an Egyptological reader what philological interpretations I have adopted; I list in the Select Bibliography the studies on which my readings are based (I do not indicate which renderings follow earlier studies and which are my own innovations). I have drawn freely on the work of many scholars; such imitation is an act of . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.