Monday, June 18, 2007

Book Review: Ancient Egyptian Literature by John L. Foster

There's a short review of the above book on the website by K. Kris Hirst, from which the following is a brief extract (Book details: John L. Foster (translator). 2001. Ancient Egyptian Literature. University of Texas Press, Austin. 229 pp; four appendices, including a chronology, a glossary, a list of hieroglyphic passages, a list of sources; and an index.):

I think I'll go home and lie very still

feigning terminal illness.

Then the neighbors will all troop over to stare,

my love, perhaps, among them.

How she'll smile while the specialists

snarl in their teeth!

She perfectly well knows what ails me

That love song, written in the Ramessid period of ancient Egypt (ca. 1292-1070 BC), is as fresh and funny as if it were written yesterday, rather than over three thousand years ago. This is but one of numerous poems brought to us over the centuries by John Foster, research associate at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. The poems are a selection from Foster's earlier comprehensive translations of Egyptian literature, and they have been collected from papyri (paper scrolls), ostraca (etched or painted ceramic sherds), and from the walls of temples, pyramids, and tombs.

See the above link for more.

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