The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems 1940-1640 B.C., edited and translated by R. B. Parkinson / ISBN 9780199555628 / 296-page paperback from Oxford World's Classics
Drawing on recent advances in Egyptology, R. B. Parkinson's new translations bring to life for the modern reader the golden age of Egyptian fictional literature, the Middle Kingdom (c. 1940-1640 BC). The book features The Tale of Sinuhe, acclaimed as the masterpiece of Egyptian poetry, which tells of a courtier's adventures after he flees Egypt. Other works include stories of fantastic wonders from the court of the builder of the Great Pyramid, a lyrical dialogue between a man and his soul on the nature of death and the problem of suffering, and teachings about the nature of virtue and wisdom, one of which is bitterly spoken from the grave by the assassinated king Amenemhat I, founder of the Twelfth Dynasty.
A general introduction discusses the historical context of the poetry, the nature of poetry, and the role of literature in ancient Egyptian culture., while a full set of notes explicates allusions, details of mythology, place-names, and the like. Parkinson's book provides, for the first time, a literary reading to enable these poems to entertain and instruct the modern reader, as they did their original audiences three-and-a-half thousand years ago.