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  Behind Closed Eyes. Dreams and nightmares in ancient Egypt
by Kasia Szpakowska
ISBN-13: 978-0-9543845-0-0 ISBN-10: 0-9543845-0-4, hardback, xii+237 pp., 2003, GB £40.00  
The author:Kasia Szpakowska was educated at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she taught and was also a Research Fellow. She has established herself as a contributor to learned journals and collections on ancient Egyptian culture and dreams. Her interests include the material manifestation of private religious practice. She is currently writing a new interpretation of the life of an individual in Ramesside Egypt and is investigating the religious and magical function of Egyptian clay cobras in the New Kingdom.

Dreams and nightmares have long puzzled and fascinated, yet this is the first book to explore such visions in the Ancient Egyptian world. The author traces the evidence from the first half of Egypt's long history, the Old Kingdom through the New Kingdom, a time-span of over 1,000 years. The book is arranged thematically, with chapters devoted to the literary use of dreams, to the political use of divine visions, to the technology used to ward away terrorizing nightmares. It also explores the Ramesside Dream Book, a unique text that reveals the desires and anxieties that could inspire an Egyptian's dreams, with images of sex and power, of gods and the dead. All the relevant passages are conveniently translated in an appendix.



"Dr Szpakowska has provided a scholarly, stimulating, and engagingly written account which Egyptologists and others will find of great interest."

- Terrence DuQuesne
Discussions in Egyptology, 59, 2004, pp79-86

1. Theories of dreams
2. The dream phenomenon
3. Literature and politics
4. Dream interpretation
5. Dreams and religion
6. Nightmares
7. Conclusion
8. Appendix of texts
9. List of abbreviations