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The Tale of Sinuhe [Paperback]

R. B. Parkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1 1999 0192839667 978-0192839664 New edition
The Tale of Sinuhe, from c.1875 BC, has been acclaimed as the supreme masterpiece of Ancient Egyptian poetry, a perfect fusion of monumental, dramatic, and lyrical styles, and a passionate probing of its culture's ideals and anxieties. This anthology contains all the substantial surviving works from the golden age of Egyptian fictional literature. Composed by an anonymous author in the form of a funerary autobiography the Tale tells how the courtier Sinuhe flees Egypt at the death of his king. Other works from the Middle Kingdom (c.1940-1640 BC) include a poetic dialogue between a man and his soul on the problem of suffering and death, a teaching about the nature of wisdom spoken by the ghost of the assassinated King Amenemhat I, and a series of light-hearted tales of wonder from the court of the builder of the Great Pyramid. These new translations draw on recent and innovative advances in Egyptology, and together with contextualizing introductions and notes to each work provide for the first time a literary reading of these ambiguous and fascinating poems to enable the modern reader to experience them as much as their original audience did, three thousand years ago.

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Review

`Classicists interested in the development of ancient lyric and epic will find plenty to enjoy in Parkinson's elegant and subtle collection of translations of the principal Egyptian literary texts dating to the period known as the Middle Kingdom ... His beautiful translations and thorough, informative yet unobtrusive commentaries work together to convey strongly the poetic qualities of the Egyptian originals ... Parkinson has produced a book of lasting value here, whose high quality and easy yet authoritative presentation will make these too-long-obscure poems accessible to a wider audience in comparative literary studies, and (I hope) beyond.' Dominic Montserrat, The Classical Review

About the Author

R. B. Parkinson is at British Museum.

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First Sentence
Around 1800 BC in the reign of the great king Amenemhat III, a man lived at Thebes whose position in the state bureaucracy was high enough for him to build a tomb on the west bank of the Nile-probably the sort of man who could also dedicate a small but tasteful statue of himself in the local temple. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The best available translations Aug. 15 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This excellent collection of translations of the key Middle Kingdom (the classical era of ancient Egyptian literature) literary texts supersedes the now dated translations of Lichtheim and Simpson. Those were great translations at the time they were made (26 and 15 years ago, respectively). However, Parkinson's have the benefit of up to date understanding of the ancient Egyptian language, are much more readable (he uses clear, modern English rather than the rather awkward, over-wordy and old fashioned English used by other translators) and have superb commentaries which clearly explain the meaning of each text. The commentaries will be very helpful to students of Egyptology, but are as valuable for the general reader as they provide background information, much of which is unlikely to be known to non-Egyptologists and which is essential to making sense of these ancient texts which can appear simple but are surprisingly complex. This book also comes out on top on price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent coverage of Ancient Egyptian literature July 15 2000
Format:Paperback
This book offers an English translation of the major literary works from the Middle Kingdom (ca 1940-1640 BC), golden age of Egyptian fictional literature. It includes the masterpiece The Tale of Sinuhe, The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor, The Teaching of Merikare, The Teaching of Ptahhotep and The Dialogue of a Man and his Soul. An introduction to each work is provided, followed by its translation. The glossary and bibliographic references are useful. Accessible to the general reader, this is an excellent introductory book for those interested in Ancient Egyptian literature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid presentation Jan. 19 2001
Format:Paperback
This text is not dry or dull at all, but incredibly readable. It is also accurate - a priority with me. The selection is varied and should present something of interest for almost everyone. I highly recommend it.
Also good is "The Literature of Ancient Egypt : An Anthology of Stories, Instructions and Poetry" by R.O. Faulkner and William K. Simpson. However, I believe that this Oxford World Classics book is better presented and perhaps more enjoyable. It will provide many hours of good reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Aug. 29 2003
Format:Paperback
There are some great stories here and much insight into the ancient Egyptians as a people. It is refreshing to have a view of them apart from either simple lists of kings or the pyramids. I hate to be provincial but the Tale of Sinuhe, the first story in the book, is as powerful as others claim. In some ways a tear jerker. My favorites were that, The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor, and the Teaching of Khety. You may have others.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best available translations Aug. 15 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This excellent collection of translations of the key Middle Kingdom (the classical era of ancient Egyptian literature) literary texts supersedes the now dated translations of Lichtheim and Simpson. Those were great translations at the time they were made (26 and 15 years ago, respectively). However, Parkinson's have the benefit of up to date understanding of the ancient Egyptian language, are much more readable (he uses clear, modern English rather than the rather awkward, over-wordy and old fashioned English used by other translators) and have superb commentaries which clearly explain the meaning of each text. The commentaries will be very helpful to students of Egyptology, but are as valuable for the general reader as they provide background information, much of which is unlikely to be known to non-Egyptologists and which is essential to making sense of these ancient texts which can appear simple but are surprisingly complex. This book also comes out on top on price.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent coverage of Ancient Egyptian literature July 15 2000
By Francesca Jourdan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book offers an English translation of the major literary works from the Middle Kingdom (ca 1940-1640 BC), golden age of Egyptian fictional literature. It includes the masterpiece The Tale of Sinuhe, The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor, The Teaching of Merikare, The Teaching of Ptahhotep and The Dialogue of a Man and his Soul. An introduction to each work is provided, followed by its translation. The glossary and bibliographic references are useful. Accessible to the general reader, this is an excellent introductory book for those interested in Ancient Egyptian literature.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid presentation Jan. 19 2001
By "momteacher" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This text is not dry or dull at all, but incredibly readable. It is also accurate - a priority with me. The selection is varied and should present something of interest for almost everyone. I highly recommend it.
Also good is "The Literature of Ancient Egypt : An Anthology of Stories, Instructions and Poetry" by R.O. Faulkner and William K. Simpson. However, I believe that this Oxford World Classics book is better presented and perhaps more enjoyable. It will provide many hours of good reading.
5.0 out of 5 stars A book with everything July 22 2008
By Brenda Myc - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book has something for everybody it has the ability to make you laugh, cry and think. It deals with real life situations and real emotions and has lessons that are as revelant today as the day they were written. Read this!
5.0 out of 5 stars fun reading April 2 2007
By johndoe13 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this primary source collection. Worthwhile reading if Ancient Egypt interests you.
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