Chimera by John Barth

By John Barth

In Chimera John Barth injects his signature wit into the stories of Scheherezade of the Thousand and One Nights, Perseus, the slayer of Medusa, and Bellerophon, who tamed the winged horse Pegasus. In a e-book that the Washington publish referred to as “stylishly maned, tragically songful, and serpentinely elegant,” Barth retells those stories from various views, analyzing the myths’ dating to truth and their resonance with the modern international. A winner of the nationwide publication Award, this feisty, witty, occasionally bawdy ebook provoked Playboy to remark, “There’s each probability on the earth that John Barth is a genius.”

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28 Although they are not narratives, some spells in the Coffin Texts describe major events in the Egyptian creation story and even provide evidence for Egyptian views about the end of the world (see “Return to Chaos” under “Linear Time” in “Mythical Time Lines”). The creator god Atum-Ra and his offspring Shu and Tefnut are particularly prominent. Many texts deal with transformations of the sun god into various forms. A new element is a stress on the dangers faced by the sun god during his celestial voyages, such as attacks by the chaos monster Apophis.

The Eighteenth Dynasty is often considered the high point of Egyptian culture. Much great art and architecture was produced during the reigns of Queen Hatshepsut (c. 1473–1458 BCE); her nephew and stepson, King Thutmose (Tuthmosis) III (c. 1479–1425 BCE); and the latter’s great-grandson, Amenhotep (Amenophis) III (c. 1390–1352 BCE). Hatshepsut’s famous mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri in Thebes had many innovative features, such as an open court for solar worship inscribed with a summary of the ruler’s secret knowledge about the sun god.

41 This New Kingdom story restates the political conflict in mythological terms by Introduction making it into a fight between the Followers of Horus (the Thebans) and the hippopotamus-worshipping Followers of Seth (the Hyksos). The Theban rulers who made up the Seventeenth Dynasty gradually drove the Hyksos out of Egypt. Under the Seventeenth Dynasty, a new collection of funerary texts developed that was to become the famous Book of the Dead. 1550–1525 BCE). The Egyptians considered him to be the first king of a new dynasty and a new era.

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