Reading Ancient Egyptian Poetry

Parkinson, Richard
Date published: 
February 2009

R. B. Parkinson, renowned as one of the leading experts in the interpretation of ancient Egyptian literature, brings an innovative and theoretically-informed account of how three of the most famous ancient Egyptian poems have been read and perceived across the ages. By considering the evolving landscapes of the poems and developing modern perspectives, Parkinson breathes new life into the complex literary culture of the Middle Kingdom. Parkinson first imagines the experience of an Egyptian audience enjoying the poems as they were perhaps performed around 1840 BC. In the book's second section, he draws on recent discoveries to discuss the poems’ early manuscripts and then traces their transmission as classic texts during later periods. Finally, Parkinson considers the poems' modern reception by academics and other audiences, including Hollywood. Reading Ancient Egyptian Poetry is a passionate homage to poetry’s power to engage/acquire new readers and readings through 4,000 years.