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Literary Form and the "Tale of the Eloquent Peasant"

R. B. Parkinson
The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology
Vol. 78 (1992), pp. 163-178
DOI: 10.2307/3822070
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3822070
Page Count: 16
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Literary Form and the "Tale of the Eloquent Peasant"
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Abstract

The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant is a complex work, for the interpretation of which literary form is crucial. The text is a unity, incorporating diverse styles and genres. It combines two modes of narrative and discourse which are indirectly complementary, being antithetical in their articulation of meaning. This antithesis is also presented through stylistic contrasts within the Tale and by a pervasive use of irony. Although the Tale is concerned with its own writing, the subject matter is not restricted to this. The formal tension between narrative and discourse parallels the dichotomy of awareness which underlies the plot, and which is between the situation as it appears to the protagonist and as it is presented to the audience. Form and content cannot be separated; the literary form which embodies this dichotomy is at one with the creation of the Tale's meaning.

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