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Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS)

Mr Hany Rashwan

BA (Helwan University, Cairo), MA in Ancient Egyptian Language (Helwan University, Cairo)


Hany Rashwan
Mr Hany Rashwan
Email address:
Thesis title:
Working title: The question of the literary in approaches to Ancient Egyptian Literature: towards an Arabic-based critical approach "the debate between a man and his soul (BA) as a case study"
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors

External Supervisors

Dr Stephen Quirke

PhD Research

In more than century since the first anthologies of Ancient Egyptian literature, generations of European and Euroamerican Egyptologists have investigated Ancient Egyptian literary compositions from many different perspectives including European literary analytical methods.

We have to confess that the European philology has made remarkable progress in Ancient Egyptian linguistic-literary research. In this contrast, as other orientalist philologists remarked, Egyptology suffers from a solid Eurocentrism, with a political partisanship cloaked by the claim of academic political innocence. Egyptologists seem inescapably trapped in the European spirit, imposed unwittingly on the ancient written sources, and tend to lose sight of the special character of the Egyptian language and its literature as a part of Afro-Asiatic languages family.

For example, metric studies, or discussions of the prose/verse distinction, invariably reflect the native language of the particular scholar, whether German, French, or English. As a result, several leading western scholars concluded that western literary theory cannot resolve issues of Ancient Egyptian literary styles, or metric studies.

Nevertheless, the dominant Egyptological focus remains European, as we find also many studies showing the Ancient Egyptian influence on European literatures, from ancient Greek to modern German and English. Alongside, European Biblical interests have encouraged comparative literary and religious study of Hebrew and Ancient Egyptian sources, even we find two PhD comparing the Song of Songs with the Ancient Egyptian love songs.

Such comparative literary studies make it all the more extraordinary that no one investigates the closer connections with Arabic literature, linguistically and geographically closer than western European reception can be.

My study in the PhD follows five years of research on Ancient Egyptian poetry and its metric, ending with my MA, in which I combined advances in European Egyptology with advantages of Arabic literary perspectives and language, including Egyptian colloquial.

I am now in a position to focus on the Arabic critical and rhetorical theories and the working out of a viable comparative method, testing them on the Ancient Egyptian poems while engaging the traditions of European philological approaches.

PhD Publications

  • (Forthcoming) Book: The Ancient Egyptian Poetry and its Metric, The Supreme Council of Culture of Egypt, Cairo (in Arabic)
  • Translation into Arabic:
    Neal Spencer, Anna Stevens and Michaela Binder, Amara West: Living in Egyptian Nubia, The British Museum, 2014

PhD Conferences


Beyond the Eurocentric: New approaches for revealing the literary rhetorical system of Ancient Egypt.
Rhetoric across Cultures, The Twentieth Biennial Conference of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric (ISHR), University of Tübingen, 28-31 July 2015.

Philosophical and literary argumentation methods in the Ancient Egyptian rhetorical system.
Argumentation and Reasoned Action, The first European Conference on Argumentation (ECA), Institute of Philosophy (IFILNOVA), Universidade Nova de Lisboa -New University of Lisbon, Portugal , 9-12 June 2015.

Rethinking the role of cognates in reading ambiguous ancient Egyptian literary passages.
Current Research in Egyptology XVI, University of Oxford, 15–18 April 2015.

Thinking in equivocal circles: Arabic Jinas (paronomasia?) as an Ancient Egyptian literary device.
Ancient Egyptian Language and Texts 6, University College London, Institute of Archaeology, London, 22 November 2014.

A Critical Response to the misinterpretation of Ancient Egyptian Persuasive Language and its Literary Devices.
The Language of Persuasion: Linguistic Approaches to Its Theory and Practice in the Classical World, University College London, 10–12 September 2014.

Towards a New Critical Understanding of Ancient Egyptian Rhetorical Literary Devices.
14th Conference of the International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature and Media (IGEL), University of Torino, Turin, 21-25 July 2014.

Cultural and Linguistic untranslatability in Ancient Egyptian poems.  
Lecture:  Africa Writes 2014, The Royal African Society’s annual African literature and book festival, The British Library, London, 11-13 July 2014.

A Pure Visual Rhetoric: The Hapax nnkttyw and its Literary Phonetic Graphic Metaphor.
Current Research in Egyptology XV, University College London and King's College London, 9-12 April 2014.

Cultural Linguistic Identity of Ancient Egyptian Rhetoric under the Dominance of Greco-Roman Traditions.
Africa Research Network (AfNet) 2014 Africa Research Day, University College London, 17 March 2014.

New Approaches to Reconstructing Ancient Egyptian Rhetorical Devices.
Birmingham Egyptology Annual Symposium, University of Birmingham, 21 February 2014.

The Role of Comparative-Historical Rhetoric in Reconstructing Ancient Egyptian Rhetorical Literary Devices.
Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities Scholars’ Colloquium, University of Toronto, 10-12 January 2014.

A New Rhetorical Reading of the Zigzag Stella of Ramses II (Tanis V, face C).
Current Research in Egyptology XIV, University of Cambridge, 19-22 March 2013.

The Question of the Literary beyond Time, Space and Genres in a Dead Language: Ancient Egyptian texts.
World Literature: Networks of Circulation, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, 13-15 December 2012.

Can Arabic philological methods give a closer perspective to ancient Egyptian poetry?
Worldscapes Conference, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, 10 March 2012.



International Society for the History of Rhetoric (ISHR)

Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities (SSEA)  

International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature and Media (IGEL)


Ancient Egyptian Literature, Arabic Balagha, Comparative Rhetoric, non-Western rhetorical theories, history of rhetoric, Visual Rhetoric, intercultural communication, linguistic anthropology, comparative linguistics.