- Taschenbuch: 288 Seiten
- Verlag: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Auflage: Reprint (8. Februar 2005)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0345448723
- ISBN-13: 978-0345448729
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,2 x 1,5 x 20,3 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.816.321 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Linguist and the Emperor: Napoleon and Champollion's Quest to Decipher the Rosetta Stone (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 8. Februar 2005
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“[A] page turner . . . entertaining history that’s told with gusto and goes down like a pleasant aperitif.”
–The Washington Post Book World
“COMPELLING . . . A PASSIONATE LINGUISTIC LOVE AFFAIR.”
“[Meyerson] has inhaled his rich material. It is as if his normal respiration were in cursive, demotic, or hieratic scripts, and acrophonic principles–as if he had always been able to read obelisks and coffins.”
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Daniel Meyerson, an Ellis Fellow at Columbia University, has taught writing at Columbia, New York University, and Bennington College. He is the author of Blood and Splendor: The Lives of Five Tyrants, From Nero to Saddam Hussein. He lives in New York City.
From the Hardcover edition.
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Some mention of incestuous relationships, especially between royal siblings of the Ptolemy dynasty, is to be expected as well. However, M seems to have attempted to catalog every manner of sexual perversion imaginable in this work of 'meticulous history', such as fetishism (Egyptian priest executed for abusing himself with queen's hair), prison sex, necrophilia (apparently no beautiful woman's corpse was safe in ancient Egypt), rape of captured French soldiers by Bedouin nomads, catamites, costume play (Napoleon dressed as maid, Pharaoh Snefru dressed his harem in nothing but fishnet), cliterectomy, brother-sister incest, mother/sister-daughter/niece-brother/uncle incestuous m?nage ? trois, bestiality, temple prostitutes, etc.
M's tabloid-like coverage continues in sordid detail, such as listing Josephine's lovers (aside from Napoleon): her first husband, an unnamed prisoner, the dandy Hippolyte Charles; and Napoleon's lovers (aside from Josephine): an 18-year-old Austrian archduchess, Mme George, the Polish beauty Countess Walewska, several unnamed Egyptian women, several unnamed Abyssinian slave women, the French lieutenant's wife, Pauline Four?s.
It is hard to see what bearing much of this has on the story at hand, other than to titillate the reader. But don't run out and buy it expecting anything hardcore: there is little detail and M can't even bring himself to say (...). Instead M uses prudish euphemisms such as member or phallus. This really cannot be called linguistics, history, or erotica-it's just gossip.
No taboo is untouched, no matter how detached from the dramatic events which are supposedly the actual topics of the story: cannibalism, a pharaoh feeding his children to dogs, a Roman feeding slave boys to lamprey eels, French soldiers wrestling crocodiles on the Nile, Napoleon having sick prostitutes sewn in sacks and thrown in the Nile, Frederick the Great reassigns a man convicted of bestiality with a horse to a cavalry unit, Marie Antoinette squatting to "pee" in her favorite plum-colored shoes before she is guillotined.
Well, all this might have made for amusing comic relief had there been deep, meaningful discussion of Champollion's linguistic exploits, which, I believe, is the primary reason anyone would purchase this book. However, the discussion of the actual deciphering of the hieroglyphs is much sketchier than I had hoped for.
The brief discussion does provide a succinct outline of Champollion's breakthrough, which started with the deciphering of the readings of proper names, which were set off from the rest of a text by a cartouche, such as Ptolemy, Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, Berenice, Ramesses, etc, and was followed by the discovery that particles and other frequently occurring words were similar in sound to Coptic or were similar in orthographic form to special characters derived from the hieroglyphs and used in written Coptic, a Greek script, to represent sounds not found in Greek. This was enough to disprove previous mistaken assumptions about ancient Egyptian based on Horapollo's Hieroglyphica and establish Champollion as the scholar who finally deciphered the Hieroglyphs.
This book makes for an amusing read, but too much space is taken up with Meyerson's erudite bric-a-brac which might better have been spent on Egyptology and details of the story of how Champollion deciphered of the hieroglyphs.
The book wasn't quite irritating enough for me to throw it to one side in disgust. So I soldiered on, feeling, at times, a bit like the French soldiers in the Egyptian desert whom Meyerson so uninterestingly describes. It was barely worth it, however: the ending, in which the author makes a sad and abbreviated attempt to explain what Champollion actually did, doesn't even fizzle -- it is so soaking wet that it puts out the match.