“True of Voice?”: The speech, actions, and portrayal of women in New Kingdom literary texts, dating c.1550 to 1070 B.C.

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dc.contributor.advisor Hellum, J en
dc.contributor.advisor Lewis, M en
dc.contributor.author Crowhurst, CJ en
dc.date.accessioned 2017-12-17T21:05:09Z en
dc.date.issued 2017 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/36757 en
dc.description.abstract This thesis will examine texts from the corpus of ancient Egyptian love songs, narrative tales, and funerary literature (The Book of the Dead, specifically that of Anhai, Chantress of Amun), dating to the New Kingdom, c.1550 to 1070 B.C. I shall focus on the presentation and speech of women within these three literary genres, analysing not just what women say and do, but also what is said about them and their actions. However, this thesis does not aim to give an Essentialist account of women, as a homogenous group, in New Kingdom Egypt. Instead, I will discuss some of the constructs of gender and gendered identity in ancient Egypt as revealed by these texts, constructs that go beyond an overly simplified male vs. female binary opposition that is based on biological sex alone. In order to do this, I will use intersectional analysis in conjunction with a close reading of the texts, and concepts of transformations, liminality, and transfigurations in relation to individual identity will be addressed. One of the central concerns of this thesis is that of gender ventriloquism, the act of somebody putting their own words into the mouth of someone or something of a different gender to the original ‘speaker.’ This ‘speaker’ may be a fictional constructed character or a historically attested individual. In this study, these words must, out of necessity, be examined in written form, as ancient Egyptian is a dead language. The writer of these words must therefore be taken to be exactly that: someone who has written them down and not necessarily composed or invented them. Indeed, we do not have a named ‘author’ in the modern sense for any of the texts analysed in this thesis, although in some cases we do have the name of the ‘owner’ of the source, or the scribe who wrote the words down. These factors lend themselves to a post-structuralist analysis of the texts, wherein I will consider them to be the product of a specific cultural milieu rather than only as the individual creation of a single person. The transmission as well as genesis of the texts therefore relies on both collective understanding and social reception to impart a desired message that may be accepted, altered, or rejected by the receiver(s), both ancient and modern. Although the content of the sources is largely culture-specific, certain aspects can be regarded as perennial, or at the least able to cross cultural borders. In the case of the texts analysed, I will argue that their transmission would be at least partly in oral form, most likely performative and potentially mutable to a degree. This then gives a physicality to the ventriloquism, a way of verbally actualising another’s speech, and a means of vocally performing and even manipulating gender constructs. Feminist theory therefore plays a substantial part in my reading of the texts; both Anglo-American, regarding the performativity of gender, as well as French, in terms of linguistic expressions of gender. Lastly, performance theory relating to the suspension of disbelief is considered, particularly in terms of creating a connotative non-literal identity through specific usages of the literature that often overrides, or at least modifies, the denotative identity of the gendered individual. Here, the themes of liminality and transformation already presented will be discussed alongside modern discourse from this discipline. My overall aim is to present a new reading of texts that are already familiar to Egyptologists, using modern theory in a way that can lead us to re-evaluate and deepen our understanding of gender constructs in New Kingdom Egypt. In this way, we are able to recover the lives and experiences of individuals who most often exist only on the peripheries of our extant literary evidence and in academic studies. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99265005914002091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/nz/ en
dc.title “True of Voice?”: The speech, actions, and portrayal of women in New Kingdom literary texts, dating c.1550 to 1070 B.C. en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline Ancient History en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights http://purl.org/eprint/accessRights/OpenAccess en
pubs.elements-id 719354 en
pubs.org-id Academic Services en
pubs.org-id Contact Centre en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2017-12-18 en


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