Waltari, Mika: The Egyptian
(researched by Anna Roberts)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Mika Toimi Waltari The Egyptian: A Novel. New York: G.P. Putnamís Sons, 1949. Copyright, 1949, By G.P. Putnamís Sons All rights reserved, this book, or part thereof, must not be reproduced in any form without permission.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first edition is published in calico texture cloth. There do not seem to be any alternatives for the first edition.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
252 leaves, pp. [6] [1-2] 3-25 [26-28] 29-50 [51-52] 53-79 [80-82] 83-106 [107-108] 109-131 [132-134] 135-167 [168-170] 171-191 [192-194] 195-223 [ 224-226] 227-261 [262-264] 265-297 [298-300] 301-352 [353-354] 355-381 [382-384] 385-419 [420-422] 423-460 [461-462] 463-503 [1]
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
The novel has not been edited nor was it introduced. It was however translated from its original Finnish to English by Naomi Walford. See Section15 for more information.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
The front and back inside cover of the book have the same illustration of a hand drawn map of Lower Egypt, which spans both the paper glued to the cover and the thick first page. The outline of the map appears to be hand drawn and reproduced in various shades of red ink. On the bottom left corner is a caricature of two women in Egyptian costume standing on a mount of hieroglyphs supporting a scroll that says |THE WORLD OF| SINUHE | THE EGYPTIAN. There is a small legend underneath those words distinguishing different areas on the map by color. There is no illustrator attributed to the piece.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The book is in very good condition for its age. There is some fraying at the corners and binding, but all the pages are intact and the color is still vivid. The inside set up is plain. The leaves are cream in color and rough in cut so that the outside rim of the leaves is not uniform. Type font: Garamond Classico Page Size: 21.3 cm x 14.1 cm (some pages only 21.1 cm x 14.1 cm) Cover: 15 cm x 21.9 cm Top Margins: 1.3 cm Inside Margin: 1.2 cm Outside Margin: 2.1 cm Bottom Margin: 2.7 cm Letters from 1.8 mm to 3mm 20 lines of text (measurement of typeface): 84R
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The pages are made from a soft paper which feels almost cloth-like. The page edges are not uniform on the edge opposite the binding. From use, the edges have worn down slights and are extremely soft. Approximately every fifth leaf is two mm shorter than the others. The first and last leaf is made of a thicker form of paper and supports half of a picture of a map on the inside surface. A sample of 10 leaves measures two mm, so each leaf is approximately .1 mm thick. The pages retain a cream color that does not seem to have faded. This copy was privately owned so it did not receive a large amount of wear.
11 Description of binding(s)
The binding is made from calico texture clothe in a light olive hue. There are markings of Egyptian figures in red at the top, middle and bottom of the spine. These pictures can be seen in section 2. Spine information: [small ink image of figures, 1.8x4 cm] | The Egyptian | [small ink image of figures, 1.8x4 cm] |MIKA | WALTARI | [small ink image of figures, 1.8x4 cm] | PUTNAM | [small ink image of figures, 1.8x4 cm].
12 Transcription of title page
Recto: The Egyptian | A NOVEL | BY MIKA WALTARI | TRANSLATED BY | NAOMI WALFORD | G.P. PUTNAMíS SONS | NEW YORK. Verso: COPYRIGHT, 1949, BY G.P. PUTNAMíS SONS | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, THIS BOOK, OR PARTS THEREOF, MUST | NOT BE REPRODUCED IN ANY FORM WITHOUT PERMISSION. | MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA | BY H. WOLFF, NEWYORK
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
According the RLG, the manuscripts of ìThe Egyptianî could be in one of two places; either on exhibition at the University Library of Uppsala or at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. The Literature Archives of the Finnish Literature Societyís website claims to have Mika Waltariís manuscripts, but how many and for which works is vague. I have contacted that manuscript researcher of the society via email, and received a response January 21, 2003. The message was as follows: The manuscript of the novel is in our collections. There are more than 900 pages, which he wrote in the spring 1945. During the Winter and Continuation Wars, Waltari worked in the information services of the Finnish defensive forces, and the anguish caused by the work changed his direction as a writer. In the desillusion that followed the war, Waltari fled as far as possible, into ancient history. He wrote the Sinuhe, the Egyptian novel in the grip of great creative inspiration, completing the manuscript in three to four months. After the Second World War the author was very depressed and he placed the pain of war at a distance of thousands of years to the Egypt of 1390-1335 BC whose history, and particularly the reign of the pharaoh Ekhnaton (Akhenaten), had interested the author since he was a schoolboy. Without bein an Egyptologist, and never having visited Egypt, Waltari was able to create a credible historical document and to ponder, with the help of his imagination and through the story of the idealistic doctor, Sinuhe and hist realistic servant, Kaptah, the subject of human destinyt in a rough world full of material values. The novel has been translated into more than 30 languages. If there is anything you should want to know more, I shall be more than glad to answer. With best regards, Yours Raija Majamaa Senior Researcher Finnish Literature Society
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
ìThe Egyptianî was first published in 1946 in Helsinki, Finland by Werner Soderstrom in Osakeyltio under the heading of Sanehot fiction. The original ìSinuhe the Egyptianî was translated by British researcher Naomi Walford for the British release of the novel. This was the first novel Waltari ever had published in America and its success is attributed to the popular interest in historical fiction at the time.
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
According to the National Union Catalog (NUC),G.P. Putnam released the novel again in 1954. The original work was published by G.P. Putnamís Sons, while the subsequent edition was done by the publisher Putnam. However, though the publisher divided into different companies and has since combined with others, it did not make any of these changes during this five year interval, so it is safe to assume it is the same publisher. The NUC marks the second book as being 1 cm shorter in length than the original, from 22 cm to 21 cm, but the original art and page length is the same. In addition, ìThe Egyptianî was the September Book of the Month, but still released in its original form.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
The only mention of printings in the 1949 publisherís weekly is from the October 1 issue stating that the book was selling over 1,000 copies a day and that they publisher had issued four printings in three weeks. In tracking down impressions of the novel I never found any textual evidence that the first first edition was printed more than four times. However, I doubt that there were only four impressions as the book was still number one in late December, a good four months after its release. Bibliofind.com claims to have an available copy that is a tenth impression from 1949.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
The book was renowned internationally with many reprints all over the world, but there were a hefty number of publications of ìThe Egyptianî in the United States. Waltari, Mika. ìThe Egyptian.î Chicago: Chicago Press review, 2002 Waltari, Mika. ìThe Egyptianî Buccaneer Books, 1976 Waltari, Mika. ìThe Egyptianî Toronto: Bantam, 1985 Waltari, Mika. ìThe Egyptianî New York: Pocket Book, 1955 Waltari, Mika. ìThe Egyptianî Berkley: Berkley Medallion Book, 1970 & 1978
6 Last date in print?
The Chicago Review Press Inc. released a version of the novel in April of 2002 by the Independent Publisherís Group for $16.95. Buccaneer Books is still printing other Waltari books including ìThe Etruscanî and ìThe Romanî which was released again in March 2002.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
As of October 1, 1949, Publisherís Weekly claimed that since itís August 22 release, ìThe Egyptianî was selling 1,000 copies per day. The November 19th issue stated slightly higher selling of 10,000 per week (average approximate 1400 per day.)
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
No clear record of sales figures has been uncovered. I have contacted the publisher, but have not received a response as of October 9, 2002.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
The biggest visual promotion in Publisherís Weekly was released as the first page of the July 16, 1949 edition, a full month before it was released. The full page devoted to ìThe Egyptianî is first in a five page series promoting Putnam best sellers (this most likely alludes to its British publication earlier that year.) The ad is printed on red paper with black ink and white spaces including an image of the book and its cover art in the middle. The text reads: International sensation! | (bullet) And all over the U.S. now theyíre talking about this great novel. | (bullet) Theyíre calling it: ìEnthrallingîÖîExcitingîÖWhat a wonderful story!î | (bullet) Theyíre saying: ìIt towers above the average historical novel like Pikeís Peak over the Black HillsÖOne of the most important books in our generation.î | (bullet) Read it yourself and youíll join its growing army of enthusiasts. | (bullet) Major league advertising. September Book-of-the-Month. | August 22. $3.75 |By MIKA WALTARI | A PUTNAM BEST SELLER | Underneath is Publisherís Weeklyís copyright statement. The Egyptian was listed first among on ìPutnamís Fall listî in the September 3, 1949 issue. The information was provided on the top of the left hand column on the full page advertisement for Putnamís popular publications. THE EGYPTIAN (F) | By Mika Waltari. August. $3.75 The (F) denotes Fiction according to a key at the bottom of the advertisement.
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
A210191021008212415.jpg
11 Other promotion
Perhaps not a publisher induced promotion, the novel was recognized by Alice Hackett in her weekly ìPW Forecast for Buyersî in the July 16, 1949 issue. Marking the release date, publisher and price she writes: Historical fiction fans will love this and it should reach an even greater audience because of its exceptionally vivid descriptions of living in ancient Egypt, in fact in many countries of the Middle East over a thousand years before the Christian era. ìThe Egyptianî is a doctor- both medical details and sex episodes will enliven the story for many readers. Politics and the problem of rule by fear or by freedom form, however, the main thread of the plot. A long novel that should sell and rent well and that will get top-notch advertising and promotion. It is translated from the Finnish and has had over a million copy sale in Scandinavian countries and Switzerland. Special display pieces available. September selections from the Book-oh-the Month Club. In addition the February 18, 1950 edition of Publisherís Weekly noted that the N.Y. Times Magazine would print a full color page as part of a new ad appropriation.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
The only media production of ìThe Egyptianî found in America was a 1954 Twentieth Century Fox Film in color entitled ìThe Egyptian,î directed by Michael Curtiz (ìCasablancaî, ìLife with Fatherî.) It contained a few famous faces of the time such as Michael Wilding as King Akhnatan and Peter Cestinous, an international star, as Kaptah. The majority of the cast, however, contained actors new to the business or relatively inexperienced. The title role of Sinuhe, ìThe Egyptianî, was played by Edmund Purdom, in his first and last Hollywood appearance. As of October 9, 2002 the movie is sold on VHS through some venders including Amazon.com for $19.98. The movie won an academy award for best color cinematography.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
The English editions of the book are a translation from Swedish. The entitle "Sinuhe, the Egyptian" wastranslated by British researcher Naomi Walford from a Swedish copy. However, the English translation is 276 pages shorter. The National Union Catalog Pre-1956 Imprints records the original Finnish and Swedish as both containing 779 pages, while the first British edition contained only 503 and the American 508. The discrepancy is still unsolved. Supposition lends to the possibilities that either the original language had a much more verbose construction, or more accepted that the 276 pages were removed or left out. Other translations include: SinuhÈ, el Egipcio / Author: Waltari, Mika, 1908- Publication: Barcelona : Plaza & JanÈs, 1995 Document: Spanish : Book : Fiction Egipcjanin Sinuhe / Author: Waltari, Mika, 1908- Publication: Katowice : Wydawnictwo Ksiaznica, 1998 Document: Polish : Book : Fiction SinouhÈ l'Egyptien / Author: Waltari, Mika, 1908- Publication: [France] : Oliver Orban, 1981, ©1977 Document: French : Book Sinuhe der ?gypter : Roman: f¸nfzehn bucher aus dem Leben des arztes Sinuhe ungef?hr 1390 bis 1335 vor Christi Geburt. Author: Waltari, Mika, 1908- Publication: Wien : Im Bertelsmann Lesering, 1959 Document: German : Book Sinuhah, pizishk-i makhsus-i Faraíun / Author: Waltari, Mika, 1908-; Mansuri, Zabih Allah. Publication: [Tehran] : Intisharat-i Zarrin, 1998 Document: Persian : Book : Fiction Sinukhe-Egiptianin : povestvovanie o zhizni tselitelia Sinukhe, faraona Ekhnatona i tsaritsy Nefertiti / Author: Waltari, Mika, 1908- Publication: Sankt-Peterburg : Biblioteka "Zvezdy," 1994 Document: Russian : Book : Fiction Egipcan Sinuhe / Author: Waltari, Mika, 1908- Publication: Ljubljana : Cankarjeva zalozba, 1978 Document: Slovenian : Book : Fiction Egyptan sinuhet : patn·ct knih ze zivota lÈkare Sinuheta / Author: Waltari, Mika, 1908- Publication: Praha : Vyöehrad, 1978 Document: Czech : Book : Fiction Sinuhe : Viisteist raamatut arst Sinuhe elust umbes 1390-1335 e. Kr. / Author: Waltari, Mika, 1908-; Aavik, Johannes, Publication: Goteborg : Orto, 1954 Document: Estonian : Book : Fiction o Aigyptos : mythistorema / Author: Waltari, Mika, 1908-; Lampsas, Giannes. Publication: [Athena?] : Mich. Saliverou, 1949 Document: Greek, Modern [1453- ] : Book : Fiction Sinuhe de Egyptenaar. Author: Waltari, Mika, 1908- Publication: Amsterdam, Van Holkema, 1949 Document: Dutch : Book Egypteren Sinuhe : femten b¯ker fra legen Sinuhes liv omkring 1390-35 f. Kr. / Author: Waltari, Mika, 1908-; Bendow, Peter. Publication: Chicago, Ill. : Chicago Review Press, 2002 Document: Norwegian : Book : Fiction senmutun oglu Sinuhe / Author: Waltari, Mika, 1908-; ÷zg¸n, Nazli. Publication: [Istanbul] : IQ K¸lt¸rsanat, 2002 Document: Turkish : Book : Fiction Szinuhe / Author: Waltari, Mika, 1908- Publication: Budapest : EurÛpa K?nyvkiadÛ, 1996 Document: Hungarian : Book : Fiction Sinuhe Egipcanin. Author: Waltari, Mika, 1908- Publication: Rijeka, "Otokar Kersovani", 1966 Document: Croatian : Book : Fiction Ejiputojin. Author: Waltari, Mika.; Iijima, Yoshihide, Publication: Tokyo : Heibonsha, 1958 Document: Japanese (Show vernacular)
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
N/A
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Born September 19, 1908 in Helsinki Finland, Mika Waltari was rooted in an area of political violence and social changes. His father, a Lutheran pastor, passed away in 1914 leaving Olga Maria Johansson, Waltari's mother, the task of raising her three sons while maintaining a low paying job as a civil service clerk. Waltari's mother and brothers also lived with two uncles, one a doctor of theology and another master of engineering. During his childhood he was educated at home by his mother, later entering the University of Helsinki where he first pursued theology, but later switched to philosophy and literature, ultimately earning a master of arts in philosophy in 1929. At the age of 17 he began experimenting with writing, producing religious poems and horror stories, but in 1928 he published his first novel Suuri illusioni (The Great Illusion) which was a "description of youthful and rebellious Bohemian life in Helsinki." Before that his published three other stories, first Jumalaa Paossa (1925), and wrote for magazines during his studies. After schooling, he financially relied on his writing, working as a literary critic for several magazines and writing intermittently, winning the National Literary Prize in 1934 for a novel "Orange seed." For about 30 years starting in 1930 Waltari also wrote plays and participated in the film industry. Inspector Palmu, a returning character in some of his detective stories inspired a 1960 Finnish film. Many of his plays and shorter works of fiction, especially his early work were published under several pseudonyms including Leo Arne, Kristian Korppi, Nauticus, Leo Rainio, and M. Rituala. In 1941 Waltari married Mariatta Luukkonen. Together they had one daughter who also pursued a career in writing. Waltari died August 26, 1979 in Helsinki. War, politics, and their affects on Europe have often been a latent subject within Waltari's works. In 1918 his family endured poverty during World War I and the Finnish Civil War. During the late 1920s he became involved with Tulenkantajat (The Torchbearers) an ultra-left wing conservative group committed integrating Russian and Italian futurism with Finnish writing. This group eventually dwindled out of political existence by the early 1930s. As an adult he traveled Europe, frequenting France, and witnessed the political strife during World War II. "I am neither a preacher nor a fighter by nature. But if there is any program or tendency to be found between the lines in the books I write nowadays, it is: individual liberty, humaneness, tolerance (Martin 2784)." Critics have often noted that within Mika Waltari's stories and plays, whether historic or not, are a critique of politics and corruption. He uses historical fiction, such as "The Egyptian", as a filter through which to reflect on European society and politics. He often chose highly individualistic and therefore alienated heroes who were ousted by society for radical ideas that could not be implemented. For example, Sinuhe "The Egyptian" is ultimately exiled from Egypt because he supported a pharaoh in favor of monotheism, a blow to ancient beliefs. At the time of its 1945 publication, Finland was buckling under the stranglehold of communism, which the government had been appeasing rather than create political dissension. In the Egyptian and a 1938 played "Akhnaton" (consequently the name of the pharaoh in "The Egyptian") he concentrates on the folly of rule by old practices as detrimental to society much like those of the conciliatory Finnish governors. Mika Waltari's papers seem to be scattered. According to the RLG some are on exhibition at the University Library of Uppsala and others are at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. The Literature Archives of the Finnish Literature Society's website claims to have Waltari's manuscripts, but how many and for which works is vague. Selected Works Plays Jättiläiläiset ovat kuolleet (1930 Yö yli Euroopan (1934) Akhnaton, auringosta syntynyt (1937) Kuriton sukupolvi (1937) Mies rakasti vaimoaan (1937) Toimittaja rakastaa (1937) Ihmeellinen Joosef (1938) Hämeenlinnan kaunotar (1939) Maa on ikuinen (1941) Tulevaisuuden tiellä (1941) Hankala kosinta (1942) Paracelsus Baselissa (1943) Yövieras (1943) Gabriel, tule takaisin (1945) Rakas lurjus (1946) Omena putoaa (1947) Noita palaa elämään (1947) Portti pimeään (1947) Elämän rikkaus (1947) Kutsumaton (1948) Myöhästynyt hääyö (1948) Huhtikuu tulee (1948) Pimeä komero (1951) Viimeiset ihmiset, 1951? Miljoonavaillinki (1959) Keisari ja senaattori (1963) Books and Novels (including film adaptations) ? JUMALAA PAOSSA, 1925 ? KUOLLEEN SILMÄT, 1926 ? SINUN RISTISI JUUREEN, 1927 ? SUURI ILLUSIONI, 1928 - Den stora illusionen - television film 1984, dir. by Tuija-Maija Niskanen ? VALTATIET, 1928 (with Olavi Paavolainen - see also Futurism: Giovanni Papini, Apollinaire) ? YKSINÄISEN MIEHEN JUNA, 1929 ? DSHINNISTANIN PRINSSI, 1929 ? MUUKALAISLEGIOONA, 1930 ? JÄTTILÄISET OVAT KUOLLEET, 1930 ? APPELSIININSIEMEN, 1931 ? RADIOKUUNNELMA, 1931 ? SIELLÄ MISSÄ MIEHIÄ TEHDÄÄN, 1931 ? KIINALAINEN KISSA JA MUITA SATUJA, 1932 ? MIES JA HAAVE, 1933 ? SIELU JA LIEKKI, 1934 ? PALAVA NUORUUS, 1935 ? AIOTKO KIRJAILIJAKSI, 1935 ? SURUN JA ILON KAUPUNKI,1936 ? JUUDEAN YÖ, 1936 ? KURITON SUKUPOLVI, 1936 - film 1937, dir. by Wilho Ilmari ? AKHNANATON, AURINGOSTA SYNTYNYT, 1937 ? HELSINKI KAUTTA VUOSISATOJEN , 1937 ? MIES RAKASTI VAIMOAAN, 1937 ? TOIMITTAJA RAKASTUU, 1937 ? YÖ YLI EUROOPAN, 1937 ? VIERAS MIES TULI TALOON, 1937 - A Stranger Came to the Farm - En främling kom till gården - film 1938, dir. by Wilho Ilmari; film 1957, dir. by Hannu Leminen ? JÄLKINÄYTÖS, 1938 - Sista akten ? IHMEELLINEN JOSEF ELI ELÄMÄ ON SEIKKAILUA, 1938 ? KUKA MURHASI ROUVA SKROFIN, 1939 - Vem mördade fru Kroll - SEE ALSO: Outsider - film 1961, dir. by Matti Kassila, starring Joel Rinne, Matti Ranin, Leo Jokela, Pentti Siimes ? HÄMEENLINNAN KAUNOTAR, 1939 ? filmscript: Aleksis Kivi´s novel Seitsemän veljestä, 1939; dir. by Wilho Ilmari - Sju bröder ? ANTERO EI ENÄÄ PALAA, 1940 - Nej, vi kommer aldrig att dö ? SOTILAAN PALUU, 1940 ? KOMISARIO PALMUN EREHDYS, 1940 - Mystrie i Rygseck - film 1960, dir. by Matti Kassila. ? MAA ON IKUINEN, 1941 ? TOTUUS VIROSTA, LATVISTA JA LIETTUASTA, 1941 ? TULEVAISUUDEN TIEDLLÄ, 1941 ? YÖVUOROSSA, 1941 ? EI KOSKAAN HUOMISPÄIVÄÄ, 1942 - Ingen morgondag, övers. av Anna Bondestam ? FINE VAN BROOKLYN, 1942 ? HANKALA KOSINTA, 1942 ? HYVIN HARKITTU - PUOLIKSI TEHTY, 1942 ? ISÄSTÄ POIKAAN, 1942 ? KAARINA MAUNUNTYTÄR, 1942 - Karin Månsdotter ? NEUVOSTOVAKOILUN VARJOSSA, 1942 - I sovjetspionagets skugga ? NOVELLEJA, 1943 ? EERO JA ILONA, 1943 ? ILONA ON SAIRAANA, 1943 ? ILONAN PÄIVÄT TUULIAJOLLA, 1943 ? PARACELSUS BASELISSA, 1943 ? RAKKAUS VAINOAIKAAN, 1943 ? YÖVIERAS, 1943-44 ? KIRKAS PÄIVÄ, 1944 ? TAKAISIN LINJOILLE, 1944 ? UNOHDUKSEN PYÖRRE, 1944 ? JOKIN IHMISESSÄ, 1944 - film 1956 ? TANSSI YLI HAUTOJEN, 1944 - Kejsarbalens drottning - film 1950, dir. by Toivo Särkkä ? GABRIEL, TULE TAKAISIN, 1944-45 - film 1951, dir. by Valentin Vaala ? SINUHE EGYPTILÄINEN 1-2, 1945 - The Egyptian - Sinuhe, egyptiern - film The Egyptian, dir. by Michael Curtiz, 1954; ? NOITA PALAA ELÄMÄÄN, 1945-46 - film 1952, dir. by Roland af Hällström ? OMENA PUTOAA, 1946-47 - film 1952, dir. by Valentin Vaala ? ELÄMÄN RIKKAUS, 1947 ? PORTTI PIMEÄÄN, 1947 ? KULTAKUTRI, 1948 ? LÄHDIN ISTANBULIIN, 1947 ? MIKAEL KARVAJALKA, 1948 - The Adventurer / Michael the Finn - Mikael Ludenfot ? HUHTIKUU TULEE, 1948-49 ? MIKAEL HAKIM, 1949 - The Wanderer / The Sultan's Renegade - Mikael Hakim ? NELJÄ PÄIVÄNLASKUA, 1949 ? LEIKKAUS, 1951 ? PIMEÄ KOMERO, 1951 ? VIIMEISET IHMISET, 1951? ? JOHANNES ANGELOS, 1952 - Johannes Angelos ? KUUN MAISEMA, 1953 - Moonscape - film RAKAS LURJUS, 1953-54 - film 1955, dir. by Edvin Laine ? YKSINÄISEN MIEHEN JUNA, 1954 ? RUNOJA 1925-45, 1954 ? TURMS KUOLEMATON, 1955 - The Etruscan - Turms den odödlige ? KUTSUMATON VIERAS, 1956-57 ? VALLATON VALTARI, 1957 ? FELIKS ONNELLINEN, 1958 - Felix den lyclige ? VALTAKUNNAN SALAISUUS, 1959 - The Secret of the Kingdom - Rikets hemlighet ? MILJOONAVAILLINKI, 1959-60 - film 1961, dir. by Toivo Särkkä ? MYÖHÄSTYNYT HÄÄYÖ, 1959-60 - film 1960, dir. by Edvin Laine ? KOIRANHEISIPUU JA NELJÄ MUUTA PIENOISROMAANIA, 1961 - The Tree of Dreams ? TOUKOKUU TULEE, 1961 ? TÄHDET KERTOVAT, KOMISARIO PALMU!, 1962 - film 1962, dir. by Matti Kassila ? KEISARI JA SENAATTORI, 1963 ? IHMISKUNNAN VIHOLLISET, 1964 - The Roman - Rikets fiender ? film script KULKURIN VALSSI (with Heikki Kataja), 1965 - film 1941, dir. by T.J. Särkkä ? PIENOISROMAANIT, 1966 ? 22.30 - PIKAJUNA VIIPURIIN, 1966 ? PÖYTÄLAATIKKO, 1967 ? IHMISEN ÄÄNI, 1978 ? MIKA WALTARIN TEOKSIA, 1978 ? MIKAN RUNOJA JA MUISTIINPANOJA 1925-1978, 1979 ? KIEKU JA KAIKU, 1979 (with Atso Alho) ? KIRJAILIJAN MUISTELMAT, 1980 (ed. by Ritva Haavikko) ? NUORI JOHANNES, 1981 ? MIKA WALTARIN NÄYTELMÄT, 1999 ? VIISI ÄSSÄÄ JA MUITA KERTOMUKSIA, 1999
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Mika Waltari's "The Egyptian" was first published in Finland in 1945 and circulated throughout Europe with enthusiastic reviews before being published in America in August of 1949 a few months after its British debut. Due to its popularity abroad its American release was anticipated by contemporary reviews. In the July 23, 1949 edition of "Publishers Weekly" Alice Hackett wrote "historical fiction fans will this and it should reach an even greater audience because of its exceptionally vivid descriptions of living in ancient Egypt." By far these ?vivid descriptions' received the most acclaim from contemporary reviews. The passages about culture were given far more attention than the political ideas shrouding the plot. Many reviewers praised Waltari's attention to historic detail and ability to revive life in Egypt to such a believable level. This literary quality was extolled almost unanimously. Writers gave glowing reports of Waltari's thorough research and depiction of cultural rituals, religion, economics, warfare, and other aspects unique to early life in Egypt. Dissention occurred concerning the plot and characters. Reviews alleged that the idea of the physician's role as mediator between a monotheistic pharaoh and a polytheistic society had merit, but the where the plot was sound, discussion on the topic was thin. Additionally characters did not impress many reviewers. The week the book was released Gladys Schmitt of The New York Times Book Review wrote "at best the characters are types: warrior, fanatic, dreamer, lovely young woman, lovely mature woman, scheming street walker, faithful slave." The stereotypical, underdeveloped characters were a cause for complaint but did not seem to take away from the overall acclaim. The other major grievance, though only found in some of the reviews, concerned the overly sensational nature of the plot. Some scenes were dubbed unnecessarily violent or shocking. Yet many of those same reviewers admired Waltari's ability to write so well about these scenes. Schmitt wrote that there were "vast, impersonal scenes" but in the same paragraph remarked that Waltari "has a flair for the violent scene, the shocking incident, the gruesome detail." Nevertheless the majority seemed confident in saying that the sensational aspects of the novel were outweighed by the vibrant literary descriptions of the country. "Dreams on the Nile" Sugure, Thomas. New York Herald Tribune Book Review, August 21, 1949, p.5 "Richly tinted and tightly stitched narrative and story which blows odor and noise and the illusion of contemporareity into the civilized world 3000 years ago." Schmitt cont. "?even the reader who wearied of the historical romance long ago will be forced to see an earnest attempt to tell an honest story ? successful at least, in that it brings a dead age to life again. Chapin, Ruth. Christian Science Monitor, September 2, 1949, p. 16 "..displays unusual fluidity of treatment and largeness of concept. Whereas the average specimen of this type seems to prove only the continuity of the baser human instincts?" Walbridge, E. F. Liberty Journal, August 1949, book review "?detailed to the point of surfeit- there are certainly too many trepanning operations! As a picture of Egypt there is nothing quite like it." Within Essay "Days of the Pharoahs" Schmitt, Gladys. New York Times Book Review, August 21, 1949, p. 7 & 23 "PW Forecast for Buyers." Hackett, Alice. Publishers Weekly, July 23, 1949, p. 303
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Mika Waltari's "The Egyptian" was first published in Finland in 1945 and circulated throughout Europe with enthusiastic reviews before being published in America in August of 1949 a few months after its British debut. Due to its popularity abroad its American release was anticipated by contemporary reviews. In the July 23, 1949 edition of "Publishers Weekly" Alice Hackett wrote "historical fiction fans will this and it should reach an even greater audience because of its exceptionally vivid descriptions of living in ancient Egypt." By far these ?vivid descriptions' received the most acclaim from contemporary reviews. The passages about culture were given far more attention than the political ideas shrouding the plot. Many reviewers praised Waltari's attention to historic detail and ability to revive life in Egypt to such a believable level. This literary quality was extolled almost unanimously. Writers gave glowing reports of Waltari's thorough research and depiction of cultural rituals, religion, economics, warfare, and other aspects unique to early life in Egypt. Dissention occurred concerning the plot and characters. Reviews alleged that the idea of the physician's role as mediator between a monotheistic pharaoh and a polytheistic society had merit, but the where the plot was sound, discussion on the topic was thin. Additionally characters did not impress many reviewers. The week the book was released Gladys Schmitt of The New York Times Book Review wrote "at best the characters are types: warrior, fanatic, dreamer, lovely young woman, lovely mature woman, scheming street walker, faithful slave." The stereotypical, underdeveloped characters were a cause for complaint but did not seem to take away from the overall acclaim. The other major grievance, though only found in some of the reviews, concerned the overly sensational nature of the plot. Some scenes were dubbed unnecessarily violent or shocking. Yet many of those same reviewers admired Waltari's ability to write so well about these scenes. Schmitt wrote that there were "vast, impersonal scenes" but in the same paragraph remarked that Waltari "has a flair for the violent scene, the shocking incident, the gruesome detail." Nevertheless the majority seemed confident in saying that the sensational aspects of the novel were outweighed by the vibrant literary descriptions of the country. "Dreams on the Nile" Sugure, Thomas. New York Herald Tribune Book Review, August 21, 1949, p.5 "Richly tinted and tightly stitched narrative and story which blows odor and noise and the illusion of contemporareity into the civilized world 3000 years ago." Schmitt cont. "?even the reader who wearied of the historical romance long ago will be forced to see an earnest attempt to tell an honest story ? successful at least, in that it brings a dead age to life again. Chapin, Ruth. Christian Science Monitor, September 2, 1949, p. 16 "..displays unusual fluidity of treatment and largeness of concept. Whereas the average specimen of this type seems to prove only the continuity of the baser human instincts?" Walbridge, E. F. Liberty Journal, August 1949, book review "?detailed to the point of surfeit- there are certainly too many trepanning operations! As a picture of Egypt there is nothing quite like it." Within Essay "Days of the Pharoahs" Schmitt, Gladys. New York Times Book Review, August 21, 1949, p. 7 & 23 "PW Forecast for Buyers." Hackett, Alice. Publishers Weekly, July 23, 1949, p. 303
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Though released in America in late August of 1949, Mika Waltari's "The Egyptian" sold rapidly through high sales and book clubs, claiming the number one slot for fiction sales that year. The Finnish author was an unknown, this novel marking his first release in the United States, and though the piece of historical fiction was promoted that summer by publisher G.P. Putnam Sons there was not enough concentrated thrust behind the author or novel to suggest it was highly anticipated by the general public. Waltari produced two other historical novels that did well in the United States, ?The Roman" and "The Etruscan" in the early 1950s, but never enjoyed high acclaim. However, it would be a mistake to define its success as anomalous. Driven by a rise in interest in historical fiction and written by an author who was praised for his meticulous research, "The Egyptian's" success rode on backbone of fine writing and popular genre. Genuine interest and a well painted setting, if not a polished plot brought "The Egyptian" into the limelight for its brief, but forceful career. In "80 Years of Bestsellers", Alice Hackett notes that 1949 was a year of marked increase in historical fiction, "comprising more than half the fiction list." "The Egyptian" was one of three best-selling fiction books set in biblical times or earlier. The second and third bestsellers, "The Big Fisherman" by Lloyd Douglass and "Mary" by Sholem Asch respectively, used the lives of Jesus and Mary as a basis for plot. It would seem the fiction of empire and of Christ drew large numbers of buyers. Other books sharing the weekly lists in Publisher's Weekly with "The Egyptian" included "The Conquerors", "Women of Rome", "The Prince of Egypt", and "The Flames of Empire." The titles were blunt in their content, confident in using the genre to entice readers. "The Egyptian" captivated both with its setting in Egypt, a timeless era of interest, and its discussion of the Sinuhe's, the Egyptian, battle reconciling between his country's polytheistic beliefs and his confidence in the unconventional pharaoh who only worships one god. The plot of religion against the setting of Egypt was a good mixture. In addition to the rise in interest of history through fiction there was a serious lack of non fiction history. In 1949 three of the top ten best-selling non fiction books were manuals for playing canasta. The majority of the other bestsellers were domestic, religious, and personal self help books such as "A Guide to Confident Living" and "Peace of Soul." These books would prove poor competition for audiences looking for history in literature. History enthusiasts would have to turn the historical fiction list to indulge that genre, especially Waltari who includes other Mesopotamia cultures in detail. However, the vague setting of Egypt is not enough to hold readers. Though Waltari was unknown in America he had published several other historical fiction plays and novels in his native country of Finland. Widely praised for his thorough research into the setting and time period of the novel, Waltari's novel unabashedly integrates rituals and daily living of Egypt into his story even though the modern reader will most likely be unfamiliar with some of the concepts. He lets his reader sort out the oddities and leaves them in context. "The story does not give the reader only the rich pageantry of a vacuously glamorous long-ago. It cuts straight down through ancient society and neglects no class, from the Pharaoh in his Golden House to the untouchables, who live out their lives embalming corpses in the House of the Dead" (Schmit, 7.) The daily life and routines of Sinuhe, the Egyptian, is a fine instrument for examining Egyptian culture. Waltari takes his character from birth to old age. Especially in the adolescence of Sinuhe is an opportunity to learn, including education, religion, familial and social relations. One of the 15 books which the novel is divided into is named "The House of Life" and details Sinuhe's medical training. "When any patient came to the House of Life whose sickness puzzled the ordinary doctors...a royal physician would come to treat him and to demonstrate his proficiency before those who were specializing in his branch"(40). Not merely restricted to Egypt, Waltari created a travel novel. Though a great deal of the story does take place in the main character's homeland, he flees Egypt with his servant Kaptah and spends a good deal of time traveling in Crete, Mitanni, Syria, and other ancient lands. Waltari again displays his researching talents, including social and cultural information on each group of people that Sinuhe encounters. Through his Egyptian eyes we see the differences between his people and these new civilization, would is a good basis for comparison. Additionally these new lands and cultures were a good way to introduce humorous or interesting anecdotes and some of the most intriguing characters. In an area of Babylon (which Sinuhe takes the time to note that its true name is Chaldea, but since it was under Babylonian rule at the time, he would assign that name) there is an account of the spring festival "The Day of the False King." This references an ancient illusion to the French Day of Fools, now known as April Fool's Day. Though bittersweet because this event eventually leads to Sinuhe's flight from that land, it is an amusing story as the servant Kaptah is crowned king for the day, amusing the citizens, and escaping ritual sacrifice. In part the fascination with the novel is due to its detail of the unknown and sometimes grotesque. Soldiers Sinuhe meets on his travels in Mesopotamia cry "can we let this man go free? He is a danger to our women, who love whatever is new and strange"(156.) Like the foreign women, readers are intrigued by the unfamiliarity of context which is vividly painted. As a physician, Sinuhe is often treating patients with what would now be considered crude practices, but the calmness at which the author treats the subject is gripping and horrifying. Skulls are often cracked open with the victim fully conscious, perhaps drugged by wine, and other various images of death and decay are portrayed. The most famous of which, the House of Dead where embalming takes place, has a significant portion of a chapter devoted to it when Sinuhe enters the service of the corpse washer to pay for his parents embalming. Here are some of the most disgusting images, described with little judgment from the main character or the author: "..the greatest rejoicing in the House of Dead occurred when the body of a young woman was brought in....she was not immediately thrown into the bath, but for one night was kept as the corpse washers' bedfellow; they squabbled and cast lots as to who should have her first"(95). Like "Jaws" and "The Godfather" after it, the sheer repulsiveness of some of the scenes and content would be enough to horrify the reader into fascination. Again, without the support of a well-known, previously published author, "The Egyptian" drew its audience with its inner substance. In addition to the well researched cultural knowledge, Waltari integrated characters and plots that appeal to many audiences. Some reviewers found some of the characters vapid and trite and many of the events of the story to be too sensational or lustful. However frowned upon in the academic world, these elements sell books. Though some of the characters are called "types" by New York Times Book Reviewer Gladys Schmitt, including "warrior, fanatic, dreamer, lovely young woman, lovely mature woman, scheming street walker, faithful slave" (Schmitt 7) it is possibly the best device for an alien society. In a book full of characters that keep popping in an out every 100 or so pages and who bear confusing, ancient names it may be helpful to have stereotypical attachments to remember what part they play in Sinuhe's life. Also, Sinuhe himself presents the classic tragic hero who brought himself from the traditional rags to riches as the son of a poor physician to healer or kings and rulers, and eventually falls into exile where he writes "The Egyptian" in the form of his memoirs, though his reasons for doing so are vague. Generally the first person account is a very readable format and gives insight into his emotions, trials, triumphs, and tribulations that make Sinuhe the typical, but agreeable protagonist. However, despite criticism of these sensational elements, "The Egyptian" possesses a healthy mixture of intriguing elements to produce a novel that combines an exotic landscape and culture with 20th century literature expectations. B.J. Whiting, a 1950s analyst of historical novel attributes its success to the base components. There are travels and battles, curious religious and folk rites, medical and surgical practices, embalming, pre-Christian monotheism, pacifism, internationalism, economics of peace and war, fanaticism, infatuation, love, loyalty, hate, frustration, foreshadowing of modern poltical ideologies, and even a little humor (Whiting 105). In other words, a little something for everyone. One would be hard pressed to find some incident or moment that was not at least mildly interesting. In addition, there are some descriptions of nudity, including many chapters dealing with Sinuhe's companion Minea who often dances topless if not naked and rubs oil on herself. Admittedly one can believe that Waltari was accurate in these cultural descriptions, but they certainly can't harm sales. There is often insinuated sex in the forms of pleasure houses or multiple wives for kings and though there are no descriptive acts of love making there is enough implyed to make one believe that more is on its way. Some post-contemporary writing about "The Egyptian" claim that the monotheistic, bureaucratic Egyptian political system was Waltari's way of attacking the upper class Finnish society condoning the actions and entrance of the Nazis in World War Two. From the 1966 edition of "World Authors: 1900-1950", "Waltari started extensive research into ancient Egypt: essentially, he wanted a vehicle to express his view of the contemporary political situation, which he saw as disastrous" (Smith, 2785). Waltari was known as a political activist and this position concerning "The Egyptian" does have merit. However, while this agenda may have been of interest in his native Finland or other European countries, it is unlikely it was a factor for the American audience. First and sadly, the American population probably had no idea of any political tension in Finland as a result of the German invasion because it was not one of the major countries involved in the strife. Second and related to the first, the American reviewers and analysts praised Waltari's skill as an historical author, for his well developed settings and integration of Egyptian culture, but there no mention of the story having anything to do with Finnish politics. In fact, most of the authors do not mention the struggle between polytheism and monotheism as an integral part of the story. The elemental characters, colors, and condition impressed the reviewers and it is prudent to say the American reader as well. Though not a concrete indicator of the novel's most popular features, the areas highlighted in the 1954 Fox Film adaptation of "The Egyptian" point to the more appealing parts in the story. Jay Robert Nash of "The Motion Picture Guide" called the production "a big, big movie and a big, big bore" (Nash 749). The movie omitted most of the chapters concerning Sinuhe's travels. Like the book, it makes a feeble attempt to broach a discussion on monotheism versus polytheism; however its main concern is displaying the color and richness of ancient Egypt. The Technicolor film focuses on Sinuhe's young adulthood in Egypt, devoting a large amount of time to his relationship with a Babylonian mistress. This incident fills one of the 15 books, where the manipulative and beautiful Nefer lures Sinuhe with sexual promises into turning over all his possessions, thus initiating his flight from Egypt. The film includes the embalming scenes in the House of Death, battles, love scenes, and murder. The sensational aspects that were ridiculed by critics were those most promoted. Though the movie did not do well, its choices in production reflect the melodramatic lust of the American public. While many of the elements that earned popularity and praise for Waltari's "The Egyptian" were appreciated they are not original or timeless. Interesting, well described settings, intriguing events, and relatable characters are not in shortage in the 20th century. Mika Waltari's novel had the distinction at the time because "no better historical novel of recent years has reached the top of the bestsellers lists" (Whiting 106). Though the book was well written, nothing, short of the obscure political agenda, makes the story remarkably unique. It is replaceable, and has been, explaining the lack of late 20th and 21st century American interest in the story or the author. Quoted Sources *Waltari, Mika. The Egyptian. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1949 *Whiting, B.J. "Historical Novels: 1948-1949." Medieval Academy of America, Speculum, 1950 **on the JSTOR database, VIRGO *Nash, Jay Robert. The Motion Picture Guide. Chicago: Cinebooks Inc, 1986, p. 749 *Smith, Martin and Kimmens Andrea C. (ed). World Authors: 1900-1950. New York: The H.W. Wilson Co, 1966, pp. 2784-2785 * "Days of the Pharoahs" Schmitt, Gladys. New York Times Book Review, August 21, 1949, p. 7 & 23
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