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Queen’s Fellow gives a voice to ancient Egyptian poetry

16 March 2017

Professor Richard Parkinson has worked with actress and writer Barbara Ewing to record a dramatic reading of one of the finest works of Egyptian poetry, The Tale of Sinuhe.

The poem tells the tale of an official’s troubled life-story and was written in about 1850 BC. It survives in many manuscripts, including one in a collection of texts that was buried in a tomb at Luxor in around 1680 BC, and is now known as the Ramesseum papyri.  Professor Parkinson’s research is part of an ongoing joint British Museum and Oxford University project on the Ramesseum papyri.  He says ‘The problem with any poetry is that it is untranslatable, and Sinuhe is now very remote… How do you capture the ancient resonances of phrases that mean nothing to modern audiences?’  

Find out more and hear how Barbara Ewing finds a voice for the heart of this ancient poem: read the blogpost and watch The Tale of Sinuhe here.