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The Tale of Sinuhe (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 26 Mar 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; Reissue edition (26 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199555621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199555628
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 1.8 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Mar 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The tales, discourses and teachings in this anthology of literature of Egypt’s Middle Kingdom (1940-1640 BC!) sound still all too familiar to us today. Their themes are politics (war), justice (corruption), speech (partial), social upheaval, taboos, art and the nature of man; in one word: the way of our world.

Political and social issues
‘Sinuhe’ is a political tale about a man who fled his country because of its life threatening instability. Now, he wants to go back. It is also a war story: ‘I plundered its cattle and carried off its inhabitants.’
In ‘Neferti’ there is social upheaval: ‘the great will beg to exist; only the poor will eat bread, while forced labourers are exultant.’ But, in ‘Khakheperreseneb’ ‘the pauper has no strength to save himself from the powerful man.’
‘King Cheops’ Court’ is partially a tale about a taboo: an adulterous love between a noble woman and a commoner.

Ruling, justice, corruption, speech
‘King Merikare’ is Egypt’s counterpart of Machiavelli’s ‘Il Principe’: be a ruthless, but righteous ruler. ‘Vizier Ptahhotep’ exhorts to ‘punish promptly! Instruct absolutely!’, while the Loyalist teaches: ‘do not make a field-worker wretched with taxes’.
In ‘The Eloquent Peasant’ ‘the officials are doing evil; the lawful leaders now command theft, and the standard of speech is now partial.’
In ‘Khakheperreseneb’ ‘honest speech is abandoned’, while in ‘A Man and his Soul’ ‘mercy has perished, there are no just men and the land is left to the class of injustice.’

The nature of man
‘Neferti sees a world where ‘every mouth is full of ‘I want’, all goodness has fled.’ In ‘Khakheperreseneb’ ‘there is no person free from wrong.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Duns Scotus on 9 Oct 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a collection of several stories taken from the papyri. They are apparently the sort of tales ancient Egyptians listened to. Because of the state of the original material, not all are complete, but are quite fascinating. The editorial apparatus is very useful, drawing attention to matters an ordinary reader would miss, and providing explanations. For the non-specialist this is a very intriguing insight into the Egypt of long ago. The comparison with such as the literature of Greece, or Mesopotamia, is fascinating. This is early, early stuff.
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I am not able to read for any length of time, and chose this book after hearing it on radio 4. I have loved reading it., It is possible to pick it up and put it down, to come back to it and have an experience of another world another time. love it!
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