This book I treat in much the same way as some would treat the Bible, I guess, in that if my spirits are low I turn to it's pages. I love Egyptian verse, and cannot describe how much pleasure this book brings me. Most people overlook Egyptian literature and turn straight to the Hellenic epics. Whilst (perhaps ironically) Egyptian literature might lack the sheer scale of Iliad or Odyssey, the few fragments we have are beautifully written and very moving.
I actually brought this book to help with a book of my own I'm working on, but it has now become perhaps one of the most thumbed works in my collection, which brings me to it's one problem. Physically this book is not well bound. It's too large for a paperback. It's spine is prone to break and the quality of the cover (beautiful though it is) means you do have to be very gentle, especially as the paper is also similarly lightweight.
A nice hardback would compliment the beautiful writings well. That is my *only* fault with this book. Otherwise this book would be five stars.
As for the translation, it's better than anything I could achieve, and I really am not educated enough to really be able to offer an opinion of value on this aspect, but I do feel that on occasion where the author gives literal translations as well as translations of meaning in English does help to clarify some points and see what the original author was trying to say. For academic use (including as a learning aid, which I would have liked) the lack of a copy of the text in the original Egyptian may be a hindrance (as well as for the purists), but it's fair to say that in a volume of this scale such a translation would make the book hopelessly unwieldy.
Each text also has a introduction about it's discovery and resurrection and more, and an extensive list of sources and further reading is provided, for the academically inclined. Which is interesting, but also, it is a collection of beautiful texts, and that is the heart of this book, the texts themselves.
If you visit Egypt, bring this book with you. The art and the architecture may be be beautiful, but until you add the literature you really have no idea.
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