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Ancient Egyptian LiteratureTheory and Practice$
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Roland Enmarch and Verena M. Lepper

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265420

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265420.001.0001

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The Practice of Literature

The Practice of Literature

The Relationship between Content, Form, Audience, and Performance

(p.101) 7 The Practice of Literature
Ancient Egyptian Literature

Christopher Eyre

British Academy

This chapter discusses the ways in which a literary criticism for Ancient Egypt can be embedded in the contemporary practice of literature. This is distinguished from a criticism rooted in visions of literature as an autonomous artefact of culture. It examines evidence for the practitioners of literature and their audience, modes and occasions of reading, degrees of formal structure (including use of metre), genre, and the nature of publication, to argue that oral and written literature were not separate categories, either of practice or cultural evolution. It is emphasised that criticism of Egyptian literature needs to focus on the manner of its recitation against its survival as a written artefact, and that genres of ritual and rhetoric overlap in form and performance with those of narrative, lyric, and instruction.

Keywords:   eulogy, genre, literacy, metre, oral literature, performance, publication, schooling, singers, theory of literature

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