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Love Songs of the New Kingdom Hardcover – January 1, 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 141 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1st University of Texas Press ed edition (January 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292724764
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292724761
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,949,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
Let's go way back to the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, specifically the reign of the Ramesside pharaohs (roughly 1305-1080 BC). To put the era in its proper historical perspective, this was half a millennium before the blind Greek poet Homer composed The Iliad and The Odyssey.
Literature, mainly for moral instruction or in praise of deities, already thrived in the days of the pharaohs. We have some poems and stories inscribed on papyri and ostraca (bits of pottery or limestone). There are temple inscriptions. In terms of size, the most impressive achievement is The Book of the Dead, a bewildering mish-mash of myth and ritual incantation which remains essential reading for morbid-minded folks till today.
Ancient writing can seem intimidating and arcane to our impatient modern sensibilities. There are all these references to gods and demi-gods, whose hierarchic structure and tangled web of familial relations would put any soap opera to shame. You feel that you should just chuck it all aside and down a few cappuccinos instead.
But wait! We have with us today about 60 secular love poems,translated from Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics by the American John L. Foster. They are delightfully accessible, and more entertaining than a month of TV dramas. Some of these poems were discovered in archeological digs conducted just a few decades ago. What's even more amazing is that they read as if they were written not in the 12th century BC but yesterday.
Yes, the poems are all about love. But this isn't the hackneyed,soppy mush that you can get today. This is love not just as sweetness 'n' light but as game-playing and subterfuge, as sexual warfare, as delicious torment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "graybosch84" on August 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you want to warm your lady's heart through her mind, the potency of this book has no equal. I bought this for my girlfriend two years ago and she still reads it over regularly. You know guys, the gift you are looking for to prove that your mind functions outside of the physical? If she is even remotely open to ancient civilization this is the ticket, this is "The Gift." I am not usually into poetry but I like this a lot. This is the Total Recall of poetry: just enough plot, just enough action. Seriously, she will love this and you will not mind it yourself ;).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I LOVED it! I bought it on an impulse, having found it on the backshelf at a bargain store. I wasn't sure if I would like it, but, like I said, I loved it! It is SO romantic! "when I hold you close, and your arms steal around me, I am like a man transplanted to Punt, or like someone out in the reedflats, when the whole world bursts into flower. In this land of south-sea fragrances, my love, you are the essence of roses!" HOW ROMANTIC! I would love to have been that woman to whom the poet was saying such things! I highly reccomend this book to anybody, especially those wo are just getting into poetry, like me. It is truly a beautiful book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Smith VINE VOICE on May 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Finally a book of Egyptian love poetry for people with enough of Budge to recognize a hieroglyph or two :-) More seriously the hieroglyphs are primarily "atmosphere" in this text. Curiously, the hieroglyphs are not the original but rather transcriptions of the original cursive hieratic ... a bit of posturing that mildly concerned me when I first saw the book. Fortunately, the quality of the translated poetry more than compensated for my qualms.
Having been introduced to Egyptian love poetry by the use of Michael Fox's work in a class on the Song of Songs (aka Song of Solomon), I was delighted to find this gem. The poetry is translated without footnotes - a feature I appreciate.
An example of the joys of the poems: "He had made a hushed sell in the thicket, for worship / to dedicate this day / To holy elevation of flesh"
Because of the relationship of Egyptian love poetry to the Song of Songs, this scarely known poetry has had an effect on our culture - one as worth exploring as the Greek or Latin.
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