The Tale of Sinuhe

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss The Tale of Sinuhe, one of the most celebrated works of ancient Egyptian literature. Written around four thousand years ago, the poem narrates the story of an Egyptian official who is exiled to Syria before returning to his homeland some years later. The number of versions of the poem, which is known from several surviving papyri and inscriptions, suggests that it was seen as an important literary work; although the story is set against a backdrop of real historical events, most scholars believe that the poem is a work of fiction.

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  • Richard Parkinson 4 episodes
    Professor of Egyptology and Fellow of Queen's College at the University of Oxford
  • Roland Enmarch No other episodes
    Senior Lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Liverpool
  • Aidan Dodson 2 episodes
    Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol

Reading list

  • Sinuhe, The Bible, and The Patriarchs
    Miroslav Barta (trans. R. Landgrafova) (Set Out, 2003)
  • Pharaohs and Mortals: Egyptian Art in the Middle Kingdom
    Janine Bourriau (Cambridge University Press, 1988)
  • The Longman Anthology of World Literature: Volume A: The Ancient World
    D. Damrosch et al. (Longman, 2008)
  • The Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt: History, Archaeology and Society
    Wolfram Grajetzki (Bloomsbury, 2013) Google Books →
  • Ancient Egyptian Literature: A Book of Readings I: The Old and Middle Kingdoms
    Miriam Lichtheim (University of California Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • A Companion to Ancient Egypt
    Alan B. Lloyd (ed.) (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) Google Books →
  • The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems 1940-1640 BC
    R. B. Parkinson (Oxford University Press, 1999) Google Books →
  • Poetry and Culture in Middle Kingdom Egypt: A Dark Side to Perfection
    R. B. Parkinson (Equinox, 2010) Google Books →
  • Reading Ancient Egyptian Poetry: Among Other Histories
    R. B. Parkinson (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009) Google Books →
  • Voices from Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Middle Kingdom Writings
    R. B. Parkinson (British Museum Press, 1991) Google Books →
  • The Norton Anthology of World Literature Vol. A
    M. Puchner et al. (ed.) (W. W. Norton and Company, 2012) Google Books →
  • Society and Death in Ancient Egypt: Mortuary Landscapes of the Middle Kingdom
    Janet Richards (Cambridge University Press, 2005) Google Books →
  • The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, Stelae, Autobiographies, and Poetry
    W. K. Simpson (ed.) (Yale University Press, 2003) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 932 (Ancient Egypt and neighboring civilizations)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 1895, the archaeologist Flinders Petrie was excavating a burial site in the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes.