Literary aspects of Ipuwer

Roland Enmarch

in A World Upturned

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780197264331
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734106 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs

Literary aspects of Ipuwer

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  • Religion in the Ancient World


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The sole surviving manuscript of The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All is the Ramessid P. Leiden I 344 recto. The papyrus is damaged, and it is unclear how much has been lost at both the beginning and end. As currently preserved, the papyrus is divided into seventeen columns, and would originally have contained at least 236 lines of text. Following Gerhard Fecht's metrical analytical principles, this amounts to some 660+ verses. The content of the text may be divided into two literary formats: strophes and more discursive sections of dialogue. The majority of the text consists of strophes (poetic stanzas) of varying lengths, where each strophe is introduced by a repeated refrain (termed an ‘anaphor’). These anaphora are repeatedly written in red ink in the first nine columns of the text, whereas in the later columns rubrics are only used for the first occurrence of each new refrain. The poem has been the subject of considerable debate, including its unity of the text, its compositional date, and the identity of the speakers mentioned in it.

Keywords: Gerhard Fecht; poem; unity; papyrus; strophes; dialogue; anaphora

Chapter.  28853 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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