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Customer Review

on 11 January 2012
I bought this book after having read Normandi Ellis's Awakening Osiris - which are poetic interpretations of the translations of Chapters from the Egyptian Book of The Dead. I wanted to compare Ellis's intepretations with what are considered to be the best known translations of the same Chapters by R O Faulkner (now deceased), contributor of the translations in this book. The book was brought together beautifully by James Wasserman and Dr Ogden Goelet, with a preface by Carol Andrews. It took many years in the making and is obviously a labour of love. What I don't understand is if James Wasserman had the original idea for the book, and worked for years bringing that together into the volume, why hasn't he credited himself as an author? I don't know the man - but reading his Forward to the book shows that he was instrumental in it's creation.

The papyri are presented along the top of the page, with the translation below. In this way one can should be able see how the translator has interpreted the heiroglyphics from the original language. This is as far as I know the first time such a comparison has been made available and the first time that the papyri are collated correctly, in the right order, without being cut up into bits. This makes it possible to read them in the way they were meant to be read without pieces being transposed or missing.

The book is in quite a large format, but then it needs to be to allow for the foldouts of some of the papyri. A stunning volume. Highly recommended for scholars or for anyone who has an interest in the ancient Egyptian language, art and culture. There are some provisos to matching the text to the heiroglyphics. They are not always a good match, possibly because Faulkner's translation is based on a combination from several versions of the original papyri, not specifically the one shown above.

As for a comparison with Ellis's book, this is difficult since Ellis has a rare and wonderful poetic interpretation of the translations that is beautiful in it's own right. Who is to say who is right and who is wrong? They are both stand alone works.
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