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Egyptian
Literature
• The ancient Egyptians wrote works on papyrus as well
as walls, tombs, pyramids, obelisks and more. Perhaps
the best know...
• By the eighth century Egypt had been conquered
by the Muslim Arabs. Literature, and especially
libraries, thrived under ...
• Some of the best-known pieces of ancient
Egyptian literature, such as the Pyramid and
CoffinTexts, were spoken from the ...
• During this period, the tradition of writing had
evolved into the tomb autobiography, such as
those of HarkhufandWeni.Th...
• The Story of Sinuhe, written in Middle
Egyptian, might be the classic of Egyptian
literature.Also written at this time w...
• In the late nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries, the Arab
world experienced a al-
Nahda, a Renaissance-esque
moveme...
• One of the most important
figures from this time
was Naguib Mahfouz, the first
Egyptian to win the Nobel
Prize in Litera...
Naguib Mahfouz
• He is regarded as one
of the first
contemporary writers
ofArabic
Literature to explore
themes of
existent...
• He published 34 novels, over 350 short
stories, dozens of movie scripts, and five plays
over a 70-year career. Many of h...
• The Egyptian Revolution of 1919 had a strong
effect on Mahfouz, although he was at the
time only seven years old. From t...
The Tale of Sinuhe
• The story of Sinuhe (son of a sycamore tree) may
have been the most popular literary text in
Egypt: i...
THE STORY
• The Story of Sinuhe narrates the adventures of a
nobleman who served Queen Neferu, daughter
ofAmenemhet I (193...
• . He is particularly worried that his close
connections to the royal family will jeopardize
his own life should Senwosre...
• Sinuhe prospers inYaa, has children, and
successfully leads Amunenshi’s army against
other tribes. Near the end of his l...
• The tale is full of symbolic allusions. Sinuhe's
name (=“Son of the Sycamore”) is seen as
providing an important link in...
• TheAncient Egyptians believed in free-
will, implicit in the code of Maat, but this still
allowed divine grace to work i...
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Egyptian literature

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Transcript of "Egyptian literature"

  1. 1. Egyptian Literature
  2. 2. • The ancient Egyptians wrote works on papyrus as well as walls, tombs, pyramids, obelisks and more. Perhaps the best known example of ancient Egyptian literature is the Story of Sinuhe;[2] other well known works include theWestcar Papyrus and the Ebers papyrus, as well as the famous Book of the Dead.While most literature in ancient Egypt was so-called "Wisdom literature" (that is, literature meant for instruction rather than entertainment), there also existed myths, stories and biographies solely for entertainment purposes.The autobiography has been called the oldest form of Egyptian literature
  3. 3. • By the eighth century Egypt had been conquered by the Muslim Arabs. Literature, and especially libraries, thrived under the new Egyptbrought about by the Muslim conquerors • Several important changes occurred during this time which affected Egyptian writers. Papyrus was replaced by cloth paper, and calligraphy was introduced as a writing system.
  4. 4. • Some of the best-known pieces of ancient Egyptian literature, such as the Pyramid and CoffinTexts, were spoken from the New Kingdom onward and is represented in Ramesside administrative documents, love poetry and tales, as well as in Demotic and Coptic texts.
  5. 5. • During this period, the tradition of writing had evolved into the tomb autobiography, such as those of HarkhufandWeni.The genre known as Sebayt (Instructions) was developed to communicate teachings and guidance from famous nobles; thelpuwer papyrus, a poem of lamentations describing natural disasters and social upheaval.
  6. 6. • The Story of Sinuhe, written in Middle Egyptian, might be the classic of Egyptian literature.Also written at this time was the Westcar Papyrus, a set of stories told to Khufu by his sons relating the marvels performed by priests.The Instruction of Amenemope is considered a masterpiece of near-eastern literature
  7. 7. • In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Arab world experienced a al- Nahda, a Renaissance-esque movement which touched nearly all areas of life, including literature
  8. 8. • One of the most important figures from this time was Naguib Mahfouz, the first Egyptian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
  9. 9. Naguib Mahfouz • He is regarded as one of the first contemporary writers ofArabic Literature to explore themes of existentialism.
  10. 10. • He published 34 novels, over 350 short stories, dozens of movie scripts, and five plays over a 70-year career. Many of his works have been made into Egyptian and foreign films.
  11. 11. • The Egyptian Revolution of 1919 had a strong effect on Mahfouz, although he was at the time only seven years old. From the window he often saw British soldiers firing at the demonstrators, men and women. "You could say ... that the one thing which most shook the security of my childhood was the 1919 revolution", he later said.
  12. 12. The Tale of Sinuhe • The story of Sinuhe (son of a sycamore tree) may have been the most popular literary text in Egypt: it has been found in more than 20 manuscripts, the oldest from about 1800 BCE. • Sinuhe's motive for fleeing Egypt is pointedly mysterious. He describes his state of mind repeatedly but with contradictions.The story thus focuses on his anxiety at being an individual rather than submitting to the Pharaoh.
  13. 13. THE STORY • The Story of Sinuhe narrates the adventures of a nobleman who served Queen Neferu, daughter ofAmenemhet I (1938–1909 B.C.E. ) and wife of Senwosret I (1919–1875 B.C.E. ).When the story opens, Sinuhe is on a military campaign in Libya with Senwosret I, son of the reigning king Amenemhet I.The news of Amenemhet I’s assassination reaches the army and Sinuhe panics, fearing that Egypt will fall into turmoil
  14. 14. • . He is particularly worried that his close connections to the royal family will jeopardize his own life should Senwosret I be denied his legitimate claim to the throne. He decides to flee Egypt, traveling across Egypt’s eastern border into the lands beyond. In his haste to leave, however, he does not pack sufficient provisions and nearly dies of thirst in the desert. A bedouin chief rescues him, and Sinuhe is able to reach the town of Byblos in modern Lebanon, eventually settling in Upper Retenu in modern Syria.There he meets a local ruler named Amunenshi, who gives him his daughter in marriage and land in a place calledYaa.
  15. 15. • Sinuhe prospers inYaa, has children, and successfully leads Amunenshi’s army against other tribes. Near the end of his life, however, he decides he wants to return to Egypt for burial. He sends a letter to the king, and the benevolent Senwosret I welcomes him back to Egypt with full honors despite his cowardly flight years before. Senwosret I arranges for Sinuhe’s burial in Egypt, and the final verses describe Sinuhe’s tomb and his final contented days in Egypt waiting for death.
  16. 16. • The tale is full of symbolic allusions. Sinuhe's name (=“Son of the Sycamore”) is seen as providing an important link in understanding the story.The sycamore is an ancient EgyptianTree of Life,associated with Hathor, (the Goddess of fertility, rebirth and patroness of foreign countries), who features throughout the work.
  17. 17. • TheAncient Egyptians believed in free- will, implicit in the code of Maat, but this still allowed divine grace to work in and through the individual, and an overarching divine providence is seen in Sinuhe's flight and return to his homeland. Unable to escape the orbit of God's power and mercy, Sinuhe exclaims: “Whether I am in the Residence, or whether I am in this place, it is you who cover this horizon”
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