Ancient Egyptian Biographies : Contexts, Forms, Functions


Julie Stauder-Porchet; Elizabeth Frood; Andréas Stauder; Michael Silverstein, University of Chicago; Christopher Woods, University of Chicago; John Baines, University of Oxford; René van Walsem, University of Leiden; Pascal Vernus, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris; Laurent Coulon, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Université Paris Sciences & Lettres (EPHE, PSL, UMR 8546 AOROC); Juan Carlos Moreno García, CNRS, UMR 8167 “Orient et Méditerranée,” Paris; Sabine Kubisch, Indepedent Scholar; Katalin Anna Kóthay, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest; Maria Michela Luiselli, Indepedent Scholar; David Klotz, Indepedent Scholar


(Auto-)biography is a genre of ancient Egyptian written discourse that was central to high culture from its earliest periods. Belonging to the nonroyal elites, these texts present aspects of individual lives and experience, sometimes as narratives of key events, sometimes as characterizations of personal qualities. Egyptian (auto-) biographies offer a unique opportunity to examine the ways in which individuals fashioned distinctive selves for display and the significance of the physical, religious, and social contexts they selected. The present volume brings together specialists from a range of relevant periods, approaches, and interests. The studies collected here examine Egyptian (auto-)biographies from a variety of complementary perspectives: (1) anthropological and contrastive perspectives; (2) the original Old Kingdom settings; (3) text format and language; (4) social dimensions; and (5) religious experience. 


  • Introduction
    Julie Stauder-Porchet, Elizabeth Frood, Andréas Stauder
  • Narrating Biography versus Biographical Indexicality
    Michael Silverstein
  • Self-Representation in Mesopotamia
    The Literary Evidence
    Christopher Woods
  • From Living a Life to Creating a Fit Memorial
    John Baines
  • Genres and Textual Prehistories of the Egyptian Autobiography in the Old Kingdom
    Julie Stauder-Porchet
  • (Auto-)“Bioconographies” versus (Auto-)Biographies in Old Kingdom Elite Tombs
    Complexity Expansion of Image and Word Reflecting Personality Traits by Competitive Individuality
    René van Walsem
  • Autobiography versus Biography in the Second Person and Biography in the Third Person
    Textual Formats, Authorship, and Apocryphal/Pseudepigraphic Works
    Pascal Vernus
  • Clichés in Ancient Egyptian Autobiographies
    Laurent Coulon
  • Expressions of Royal Agency
    Forms of the Verb in the Old Kingdom Event Autobiography
    Andréas Stauder
  • The Social Context of Biographies (Old and Middle Kingdom)
    Juan Carlos Moreno García
  • Images of Social Ascent in Biographical Self-Presentations from the Old Kingdom to the Middle Kingdom
    Katalin Anna Kóthay
  • jnk wr m njw.t=f : References to njw.t, “Town, City” in Biographies of the Second Intermediate Period
    Sabine Kubisch
  • Living a Religious Life
    The Display of Religious Experience in Egyptian Autobiographies
    Maria Michela Luiselli
  • Participation in Religious Ceremonies, as Related in Egyptian Biographies
    David Klotz


August 10, 2020


Details about the available publication format: PDF


Physical Dimensions

Details about the available publication format: Print


Physical Dimensions