Love Songs of the New Kingdom

Love Songs of the New Kingdom, translated by John L Foster, from University of Texas Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

John L Foster Love Songs of the New Kingdom from University of Texas Press

“What it was like to live and be in love in the time of the last great pharaohs of Egypt is re-created in this sparkling translation of ancient Egyptian love songs.

As one learns from the Introduction, ‘the speakers in these poems, so long dead yet perennially young, show us that the varieties and moods of love then and in that civilization do not differ from our own.’ The picture of daily life that the love songs preserve for us dates back to the later New Kingdom (ca. 1300–1100 B.C.), the last great flourishing of ancient Egyptian civilization. The original texts were handwritten in hieratic, the cursive form of the ancient hieroglyphic writing adapted to the use of brush and ink on papyrus. Many of the poems are accompanied by hieroglyphic transcriptions of the original texts on facing pages, and the book also contains reproductions of paintings showing scenes of daily life from Egyptian tombs.

These ancient verses sing as poetry to the modern ear, and the translations are faithful to the spirit and idiom of the Egyptian.” — back cover