Pharaoh (novel)

Pharaoh (novel)


"Pharaoh" ( _pl. Faraon) is the fourth and last major novel by the Polish writer Bolesław Prus. Composed over a year's time in 1894–1895, it was the sole historical novel by an author who had previously disapproved of historical novels as inevitable distortions of history.

Czesław Miłosz has described "Pharaoh" as a "novel on... mechanism [s] of state power and, as such, ... probably unique in world literature of the nineteenth century.... Prus, [in] selecting the reign of 'Pharaoh Ramses XIII' in the eleventh century BCE, sought a perspective that was detached from... pressures of [topicality] and censorship. Through his analysis of the dynamics of an ancient Egyptian society, he... suggest [s] an archetype of the struggle for power that goes on within any state." [Czesław Miłosz, "The History of Polish Literature", pp. 299–302]

"Pharaoh" is set in the Egypt of 1087–1085 BCE as that country experiences internal stresses and external threats that will culminate in the fall of its Twentieth Dynasty and New Kingdom. As events unfold, the protagonist Ramses learns that those who would challenge the powers that be are vulnerable to cooption, seduction, subornation, defamation, intimidation and assassination. Perhaps the chief lesson, belatedly absorbed by Ramses as pharaoh, is the importance, to power, of knowledge.

Preparatory to writing the novel, Prus immersed himself in ancient Egyptian history, art and writings. In the course of telling his story of power and personality, he produced one of the most compelling literary depictions ever of life at every level of ancient Egyptian society. He offers a vision of mankind as rich as Shakespeare's, ranging from the sublime to the quotidian, from the tragic to the comic. [Zygmunt Szweykowski, "Twórczość Bolesława Prusa", pp. 345–47.] The book is written in limpid prose, imbued with poetry, leavened with humor, graced with moments of transcendent beauty. [Christopher Kasparek, "Prus's "Pharaoh": the Creation of a Historical Novel," "The Polish Review", 1994, no. 1, p. 49.] "Pharaoh" has been translated into twenty languages and adapted as a Polish feature film.


"Pharaoh" comprises a compact but substantial introduction, sixty-seven chapters, and an evocative epilogue (the latter omitted at the book's original publication, and restored in the 1950s). Like Prus' previous novels, "Pharaoh" debuted (1895-96) in newspaper serialization: in the Warsaw "Tygodnik Ilustrowany" (Illustrated Weekly). It was dedicated "To my wife, Oktawia Głowacka, "née" Trembińska, as a small token of esteem and affection."

Unlike the author's earlier novels, however, "Pharaoh" had first been composed in its entirety, rather than being written in chapters from issue to issue. [Edward Pieścikowski, "Bolesław Prus", p.157.] This may help account for its often being described as Prus' "best-composed novel" [For example, by Janina Kulczycka-Saloni, "Pozytywizm, IX. Bolesław Prus" ("Positivism, IX. Bolesław Prus"), in Jan Zygmunt Jakubowski, ed., "Literatura polska od średniowiecza do pozytywizmu", p. 631.] —indeed, as "one of the best-composed [of all] Polish novels." [Wilhelm Feldman, "Altruizm bohaterski" ("Heroic Altruism"), in Teresa Tyszkiewicz, "Bolesław Prus", p. 339.]

The original 1897 and some subsequent book editions divided the novel's text into three volumes. Later editions have presented it in two volumes or in a single one. Except in wartime, the book has never been out of print in Poland.


"Pharaoh" begins with one of the more memorable openings [Bolesław Prus, "Pharaoh", p. 12.] in a novel — an opening written in the style of an ancient chronicle:

blockquote|In the thirty-third year of the happy reign of Ramses XII, Egypt celebrated two events that filled her loyal inhabitants with pride and joy.

In the month of Mechir, in December, there returned to Thebes laden with sumptuous gifts the god Khonsu, who had traveled three years and nine months in the land of Bukhten, restoring to health the local king's daughter called Bent-res and exorcising the evil spirit not only from the king's family but even from the fortress of Bukhten.

And in the month of Pharmouthi, in February, the Lord of Upper and Lower Egypt, the ruler of Phoenicia and of the nine nations, Mer-amen-Ramses XII, after consulting the gods, to whom he is equal, named as his Successor to the Throne his twenty-two-year-old son Ham-sem-merer-amen-Ramses.

This choice delighted the pious priests, eminent nomarchs, valiant army, faithful people and all creatures living on Egyptian soil. For the Pharaoh's elder sons, born of the Hittite princess, had, due to spells that could not be investigated, been visited by an evil spirit. One, twenty-seven years old, had been unable to walk from his majority; another had cut his veins and died; and the third, after drinking tainted wine that he had been unwilling to give up, had gone mad and, fancying himself an ape, spent days on end in the trees.

The fourth son Ramses, however, born of Queen Nikotris, daughter of High Priest Amenhotep, was strong as the Apis bull, brave as a lion and wise as the priests....

"Pharaoh" combines features of several literary genres: the historical novel, the political novel, the "Bildungsroman", the utopian novel, the sensation novel. [Zygmunt Szweykowski, "Twórczość Bolesława Prusa", pp. 327–47.] It also comprises a number of interbraided strands — including the plot line, Egypt's cycle of seasons, the country's geography and monuments, and ancient Egyptian practices (e.g. mummification rituals and techniques) — each of which rises to prominence at appropriate moments.

The fate of the novel's protagonist, the future "Ramses XIII" (historically there were only "eleven" Ramesside pharaohs), is known from the beginning. Prus closes his introduction with the statement that the narrative "relates to the eleventh century before Christ, when the Twentieth Dynasty fell and when, after the demise of the Son of the Sun the eternally living Ramses XIII, the throne was seized by, and the uraeus came to adorn the brow of, the eternally living Son of the Sun Sem-amen-Herhor, High Priest of Amon." [Bolesław Prus, "Pharaoh", p. 11.] What the novel will subsequently reveal is the elements that lead to this denouement: the character traits of the principals, the social forces in play.

Ancient Egypt at the end of its New Kingdom period is experiencing adversities. The deserts are eroding Egypt's arable land. The country's population has declined from eight to six million. Foreign peoples are entering Egypt in ever-growing numbers, undermining its unity. The chasm between the peasants and craftsmen on one hand, and the ruling classes on the other, is growing, exacerbated by the ruling elites' fondness for luxury and idleness. The country is becoming ever more deeply indebted to Phoenician merchants, as imported goods destroy native industries.

The Egyptian priesthood, backbone of the bureaucracy and virtual monopolists of knowledge, have grown immensely wealthy at the expense of the pharaoh and the country. At the same time, Egypt is facing prospective peril at the hands of rising powers to the north — Assyria and Persia.The 22-year-old Egyptian crown prince and viceroy Ramses, having made a careful study of his country and of the challenges that it faces, evolves a strategy that he hopes will arrest the decline of his own political power and of Egypt's internal viability and international standing. Ramses plans to win over or subordinate the priesthood, especially the of Amon, Herhor; obtain for the country's use the treasures that lie stored in the Labyrinth; and, emulating Ramses the Great's military exploits, wage war on Assyria.

Ramses proves himself a brilliant military commander in a victorious lightning war against the invading Libyans. On succeeding to the throne, he encounters the adamant opposition of the priestly hierarchy to his planned reforms. The Egyptian populace is instinctively drawn to Ramses, but he must still win over or crush the priesthood and their adherents.

In the course of the political intrigue, Ramses' private life becomes hostage to the conflicting interests of the Phoenicians and the Egyptian high priests.

Ramses' ultimate downfall is caused by his underestimation of his opponents and by his impatience with priestly obscurantism. Along with the chaff of the priests' myths and rituals, he has inadvertently discarded a crucial piece of scientific knowledge.

Ramses is succeeded to the throne by his arch-enemy Herhor, who paradoxically ends up raising treasure from the Labyrinth to finance the very social reforms that had been planned by Ramses.


Prus took characters' names where he found them, sometimes anachronistically or anatopistically. At other times (as with the priest "Samentu" in chapter 55) he apparently invented them. [Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh": the Creation of a Historical Novel", "The Polish Review", 1994, no. 1, p. 48.] The origins of the names of some prominent characters may be of interest:
* Ramses, the novel's protagonist: the name of two pharaohs of the 19th Dynasty and nine pharaohs of the 20th Dynasty.
* Amenhotep, high priest and Ramses' maternal grandfather: the name of four pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty.
* Herhor, of Amon and Ramses' principal antagonist: historic high priest Herihor.
* Pentuer, scribe to Herhor: historic scribe Pentaur. [Breasted, "A History of Egypt", p. 381.]
* Thutmose, Ramses' cousin: a fairly common name, also the name of four pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty.`
* Sarah, Ramses' Jewish mistress; Taphath, Sarah's relative and servant; Gideon, Sarah's father: names drawn from those of Biblical personalities.
* Patrokles, a Greek mercenary general: Patroklos, in Homer's "Iliad".
* Ennana, a junior military officer: Egyptian scribe-pupil's name, attached to an ancient text [Adolf Erman, ed., "The Ancient Egyptians: a Sourcebook of Their Writings", pp. 194-95.] (cited in "Pharaoh", chapter 4: Ennana's "plaint on the sore lot of a junior officer").
* Queen Nikotris, Ramses' mother: historic Queen Nitocris.
* Dagon, a Phoenician merchant: a Phoenician and Philistine god of agriculture and the earth; the national god of the Philistines.
* Tamar, Dagon's wife (chapters 8, 13): Biblical wife of Er, then of his brother Onan; she subsequently had children by their father Judah, eponymous ancestor of the Judeans and Jews.
* Dutmose, a peasant (chapter 11): historic scribe Dhutmose, in the reign of Pharaoh Ramses XI.
* Menes (three distinct individuals: the first pharaoh; Sarah's physician; a savant and Pentuer's mentor): Menes, the first Egyptian pharaoh.
* Asarhadon, a "Phoenician" innkeeper: a variant of "Esarhaddon", an "Assyrian" king.
* Berossus, a Chaldean priest: Berossus, a Babylonian historian and astrologer who flourished about 300 BCE.
* Phut (another name used by Berossus): Phut, a descendant of Noah named in Genesis.
* Cush, a guest at Asarhadon's inn: Cush, a descendant of Noah named in Genesis.
* Hiram, a Phoenician prince: Hiram I, king of Tyre, in Phoenicia.
* Lykon, a young Greek, Ramses' look-alike and nemesis: Lycon, in the "Iliad".
* Sargon, an Assyrian envoy: name of two Assyrian kings, the first being the founder of one of history's first empires.
* Seti, Ramses' infant son by Sarah: Seti I, historic pharaoh, father of Ramses II ("the Great").
* Osokhor, a priest thought (chapter 40) to have sold Egyptian priestly secrets to the Phoenicians: a Meshwesh king who ruled Egypt in the late 21st Dynasty.
* Musawasa, a Libyan prince: the Meshwesh, a Libyan tribe.
* Tehenna, Musavasa's son: "Tjehenu", a generic Egyptian term for "Libyan."
* Dion, a Greek architect: Dion, a historic name that appears in a number of contexts.
* Hebron, Ramses' last mistress: Hebron, a city in present-day Israel.


"Pharaoh" belongs to a Polish literary tradition of political fiction whose roots reach back to the 16th century and Jan Kochanowski's play, "The Dismissal of the Greek Envoys" (1578), and also includes Ignacy Krasicki's "Fables and Parables" (1779) and Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz's "The Return of the Deputy" (1790). "Pharaoh"'s story covers a two-year period ending in 1085 BCE with the demise of the Egyptian Twentieth Dynasty and New Kingdom.

Polish Nobel laureate Czesław Miłosz has written of "Pharaoh": The protagonist, Prince Ramses, learns that those who would oppose the priesthood are vulnerable to cooption, seduction, subornation, defamation, intimidation or assassination. Perhaps the chief lesson, belatedly absorbed by Ramses as pharaoh, is the importance, to power, of knowledge — of science. [Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh": Primer on Power", "The Polish Review", 1995, no. 3, pp. 331-32.]

As a political novel, "Pharaoh" became a favorite of Joseph Stalin's; [Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh": Primer on Power", p. 332.] similarities have been pointed out between it and Sergei Eisenstein's film "Ivan the Terrible", produced under Stalin's tutelage. [Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh" and Curtin's Translation", "The Polish Review", 1986, nos. 2-3, p. 128.] The novel's English translator has recounted wondering, well in advance of the event, whether President John F. Kennedy would meet with a fate like that of the book's protagonist. [Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh" and Curtin's Translation", p. 128.]

"Pharaoh" is, in a sense, an extended study of the metaphor of society-as-organism that Prus had adopted from English philosopher and sociologist Herbert Spencer and that he makes explicit in the introduction to the novel. All of society's organ systems must work together harmoniously, if society is to survive and prosper.


"Pharaoh" is unique in Prus' "oeuvre" as a "historical" novel. A Positivist by philosophical persuasion, Prus had long argued that historical novels must inevitably distort historic reality. He had, however, eventually come over to the French Positivist critic Hippolyte Taine's view that the arts, including literature, may act as a second means alongside the sciences to study reality, including broad historic reality. [Zygmunt Szweykowski, "Twórczość Bolesława Prusa", p. 109.] Prus did in fact, in the interest of making certain points, introduce some anachronisms and anatopisms into the novel.

"Pharaoh" drew from many sources for its inspiration. Depicting the demise of Egypt's New Kingdom three thousand years earlier, the book also reflects the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's demise in 1795, exactly a century before "Pharaoh"'s completion. [Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh": the Creation of a Historical Novel", p. 46.] A preliminary sketch for Prus' only historical novel was his first historical short story, "A Legend of Old Egypt." This remarkable story shows clear parallels with the subsequent novel in setting, theme and denouement.

"A Legend of Old Egypt", in its turn, had taken inspiration from contemporaneous events: the fatal 1887-88 illnesses of Germany's warlike Kaiser Wilhelm I and of his reform-minded successor, Friedrich III. [Zygmunt Szweykowski, "Geneza noweli 'Z legend dawnego Egiptu'" ("The Genesis of the Short Story, 'A Legend of Old Egypt'"), in "Nie tylko o Prusie: szkice", pp. 256-61, 299-300.] The latter emperor "would", then unbeknown to Prus, survive his ninety-year-old predecessor, but only by ninety-nine days.

In 1893 Prus' old friend Julian Ochorowicz, having returned to Warsaw from Paris, delivered several public lectures on ancient Egyptian knowledge. Ochorowicz (whom Prus had portrayed in "The Doll" as the scientist "Julian Ochocki") may have inspired Prus to write his historical novel about ancient Egypt, and made available to Prus books on the subject that he had brought from Paris. [Jan Wantuła, "Prus i Ochorowicz w Wiśle" ("Prus and Ochorowicz in Wisła"), in Stanisław Fita, ed., "Wspomnienia o Bolesławie Prusie", p. 215.] In preparation for composing "Pharaoh", Prus made a painstaking study of Egyptological sources, including works by John William Draper, Ignacy Żagiell, Georg Ebers and Gaston Maspero. [Krystyna Tokarzówna and Stanisław Fita, "Bolesław Prus, 1847-1912: Kalendarz życia i twórczości", pp. 452-53.] Prus actually incorporated ancient texts into his novel like tesserae into a mosaic; drawn from one such text [This text may be found in Adolf Erman, ed., "The Ancient Egyptians: a Sourcebook of Their Writings", pp. 194-95.] was a major character, Ennana.

"Pharaoh" also resonates, throughout, with allusions to the "Bible" (including a miniature turning-of-water-to-blood) and to ancient history generally, including Troy and its recent excavation by Heinrich Schliemann.For certain of the novel's prominent features Prus, the conscientious journalist and scholar, seems to have insisted on having two sources, one of them based on personal or at least contemporary experience. Thus the historical Egyptian Labyrinth had been described in the fifth century BCE in Book II of "The Histories of Herodotus" by the Father of History, who visited Egypt's entirely stone-built administrative center, pronounced it more impressive than the pyramids, declared it "beyond my power to describe", then proceeded to give a striking description [Herodotus, "The Histories", translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt, Book II, pp. 160-61.] that Prus incorporated into his novel. [Bolesław Prus, "Pharaoh", pp. 493–95.] The Labyrinth had, however, been made palpably real for Prus by an 1878 visit that he had paid to the famous ancient labyrinthine salt mine at Wieliczka, near Kraków in southern Poland. [Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh" and the Wieliczka Salt Mine", "The Polish Review", 1997, no. 3, pp. 349-55.] According to the foremost Prus scholar, Zygmunt Szweykowski, "The power of the Labyrinth scenes stems, among other things, from the fact that they echo Prus' own experiences when visiting Wieliczka." [Zygmunt Szweykowski, "Twórczość Bolesława Prusa", p. 451.]

Writing over four decades before the construction of the United States' Fort Knox Depository, Prus pictures Egypt's Labyrinth as a perhaps flood-able Egyptian Fort Knox, a repository of gold bullion and of artistic and historic treasures. It was, he writes (chapter 56), "the greatest treasury in Egypt. [H] ere... was preserved the treasure of the Egyptian kingdom, accumulated over centuries, of which it is difficult today to have any conception." [Bolesław Prus, "Pharaoh", p. 493.] Another dually-determined feature of the novel is the "Suez Canal" that the Phoenician Prince Hiram proposes digging. The modern Suez Canal had been completed by Ferdinand de Lesseps in 1869, a quarter-century before Prus commenced writing "Pharaoh". But, as Prus was aware when writing chapter one, it had had a predecessor in a canal connecting the Nile River with the Red Sea — during Egypt's Middle Kingdom, centuries before the period of the novel. [Bolesław Prus, "Pharaoh", p. 13.] A third dually-determined feature was inspired by a solar eclipse that Prus had witnessed at Mława, a hundred kilometers north-northwest of Warsaw, on August 19, 1887, the day before his fortieth birthday. Prus likely was also aware of Christopher Columbus' manipulative use of a "lunar" eclipse on February 29, 1504, while marooned for a year on Jamaica, to extort provisions from the natives. The latter incident strikingly resembles the exploitation of a "solar" eclipse by Ramses' chief antagonist, Herhor, high priest of Amon. [Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh" and the Solar Eclipse", "The Polish Review", 1997, no. 4, pp. 471-78.] [Samuel Eliot Morison, "Christopher Columbus, Mariner", pp. 184-92.] Finally, a fourth dually-determined feature relates to Egyptian beliefs about an afterlife. In 1893, the year before beginning his novel, Prus the skeptic had started taking an intense interest in Spiritualism, attending Warsaw séances which featured the Italian medium, Eusapia Palladino. [Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh": Primer on Power", pp. 332-33.] Palladino had been brought to Warsaw from a St. Petersburg mediumistic tour by Prus' friend Ochorowicz. [Krystyna Tokarzówna and Stanisław Fita, "Bolesław Prus", pp. 440, 443, 445-53.]

Modern Spiritualism had been initiated in 1848 in Hydeville, New York, by the Fox sisters, Katie and Margaret, aged 11 and 15, and had survived even their 1888 confession that forty years earlier they had caused the "spirits'" telegraph-like tapping sounds by snapping their toe joints. Spiritualist "mediums" in America and Europe claimed to communicate through tapping sounds with spirits of the dead, eliciting their secrets and conjuring up voices, music, noises and other antics, and occasionally working "miracles" such as levitation. [Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh": Primer on Power", p. 333.]
Spiritualism inspired several of "Pharaoh"'s most striking scenes, especially (chapter 20) the secret meeting at the Temple of Seth in Memphis between three Egyptian priests—Herhor, Mefres, Pentuer—and the Chaldean magus-priest Berossus; [Bolesław Prus, "Pharaoh", pp. 147-57.] and (chapter 26) the protagonist Ramses' night-time exploration at the Temple of Hathor in Pi-Bast, when unseen hands touch his head and back. [Bolesław Prus, "Pharaoh", pp. 200-02.]

Yet another plot element, involving the Greek, Lykon, in chapters 63 [Bolesław Prus, "Pharaoh", pp. 577-85.] and 66 [Bolesław Prus, "Pharaoh", pp. 611-13.] and "passim", is hypnosis and post-hypnotic suggestion.

Prus, a disciple of Positivist philosophy, took a strong interest in the history of science. He was aware of Eratosthenes' remarkably accurate calculation of the earth's circumference, and the invention of a steam engine by Heron of Alexandria, centuries after the period of his novel, in Alexandrian Egypt. In chapter 60, he fictitiously credits these achievements to the priest Menes, one of three individuals of the identical name who are mentioned or depicted in "Pharaoh" [Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh" and Curtin's Translation", p. 129.] : Prus was not always fastidious about characters' names.


Examples of anachronism and anatopism that are mentioned above make it clear that punctilious historic accuracy was never an object with Prus in writing "Pharaoh." "That's not the point", Joseph Conrad told a relative, regarding putative inaccuracies in "Pharaoh". [Zdzisław Najder, "Conrad under Familial Eyes", p. 215.] Prus had long emphasized in his "Weekly Chronicles" that historical novels cannot help but distort historic reality. He himself used ancient Egypt as a great canvas on which to draw his deeply-considered perspectives of man, civilization and politics. [Zygmunt Szweykowski, "Twórczość Bolesława Prusa", p. 327.]

Nevertheless, overall, "Pharaoh" "is" remarkably accurate, even from the standpoint of present-day Egyptology; and the novel does a notable job of recreating a primal ancient civilization, complete with the geography, climate, plants, animals, ethnicities, countryside, cities, social stratification, politics, Egyptian religion and warfare. Prus succeeds remarkably in transporting readers back to the Egypt of thirty-one centuries ago. [Edward Pieścikowski, "Bolesław Prus", pp. 135–38.]

The embalming and funeral scenes; the court protocol; the waking and feeding of the gods; the religious beliefs, ceremonies and processions; the concept behind the design of Pharaoh Zoser's Step Pyramid at Saqqara; the descriptions of travels and of locales visited on the Nile and in the desert — all draw upon scholarly documentation. The personalities and behaviors of the characters are keenly observed and deftly drawn, often with the aid of apt ancient Egyptian texts.


"Pharaoh", as a "political novel", has remained perennially topical ever since it was written. The book's enduring popularity, however, has as much to do with a critical yet sympathetic view of human nature and the human condition. Prus offers a vision of mankind as rich as Shakespeare's, ranging from the sublime to the quotidian, from the tragic to the comic. [Zygmunt Szweykowski, "Twórczość Bolesława Prusa", pp. 345–47.] The book is written in limpid prose, imbued with poetry, leavened with humor, graced with moments of transcendent beauty. [Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh": the Creation of a Historical Novel", p. 49.]

The novel has been translated into twenty languages: Armenian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, French, Georgian, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Ukrainian. [Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh" and Curtin's Translation", p. 129.]

"Pharaoh" is available in a 2001 English translation by Christopher Kasparek which supersedes an incomplete and incompetent version by Jeremiah Curtin published in 1902. [Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh" and Curtin's Translation", pp. 127–35.]


In 1966, "Pharaoh" was adapted as a Polish feature film directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz.

ee also

*"A Legend of Old Egypt"
*"Mold of the Earth"
*Assassinations in fiction
*Egypt in the European imagination
*Political fiction
*Politics in fiction
*Utopian and dystopian fiction
*Solar eclipses in fiction
*Spiritualism in fiction
*Wieliczka Salt Mine
*Hypnosis in fiction
*"Pharaoh" (the film)



* Czesław Miłosz, "The History of Polish Literature", New York, Macmillan, 1969.
* Zygmunt Szweykowski, "Nie tylko o Prusie: szkice" (Not Only about Prus: Sketches), Poznań, Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 1967.
* Krystyna Tokarzówna and Stanisław Fita, "Bolesław Prus, 1847-1912: Kalendarz życia i twórczości" (Bolesław Prus, 1847-1912: a Calendar of [His] Life and Work), edited by Zygmunt Szweykowski, Warsaw, Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1969.
* Zygmunt Szweykowski, "Twórczość Bolesława Prusa" (The Art of Bolesław Prus), 2nd edition, Warsaw, Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1972.
* Edward Pieścikowski, "Bolesław Prus", 2nd ed., Warsaw, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1985.
* Stanisław Fita, ed., "Wspomnienia o Bolesławie Prusie" (Reminiscences about Bolesław Prus), Warsaw, Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1962.
* Zdzisław Najder, "Conrad under Familial Eyes", Cambridge University Press, 1984, ISBN 0-521-25082-X.
* Teresa Tyszkiewicz, "Bolesław Prus", Warsaw, Państwowe Zakłady Wydawnictw Szkolnych, 1971.
* Jan Zygmunt Jakubowski, ed., "Literatura polska od średniowiecza do pozytywizmu" (Polish Literature from the Middle Ages to Positivism), Warsaw, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1979.
* James Henry Breasted, "A History of Egypt from the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest", New York, Bantam Books, 1967.
* Adolf Erman, ed., "The Ancient Egyptians: a Sourcebook of Their Writings", translated [from the German] by Aylward M. Blackman, introduction to the Torchbook edition by William Kelly Simpson, New York, Harper & Row, 1966.
* Herodotus, "The Histories", Newly translated and with an Introduction by Aubrey de Sélincourt, Harmondsworth, England, Penguin Books, 1965.
* Samuel Eliot Morison, "Christopher Columbus, Mariner", Boston, Little, Brown and Company, 1955.
* Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh" and Curtin's Translation", "The Polish Review", 1986, nos. 2-3, pp. 127-35.
* Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh": the Creation of a Historical Novel", "The Polish Review", 1994, no. 1, pp. 45-50.
* Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh": Primer on Power", "The Polish Review", 1995, no. 3, pp. 331-34.
* Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh" and the Wieliczka Salt Mine", "The Polish Review", 1997, no. 3, pp. 349-55.
* Christopher Kasparek, "Prus' "Pharaoh" and the Solar Eclipse", "The Polish Review", 1997, no. 4, pp. 471-78.
* Bolesław Prus, "Pharaoh", translated from the Polish by Christopher Kasparek (2nd, revised ed.), Warsaw, Polestar Publications (ISBN 83-88177-01-X), and New York, Hippocrene Books, 2001.
* "The Pharaoh and the Priest: an Historical Novel of Ancient Egypt, from the Original Polish of Alexander Glovatski, by JEREMIAH CURTIN, Translator of "With Fire and Sword," "The Deluge," "Quo Vadis," etc., with Illustrations from Photographs". (An incomplete and incompetent translation, by Jeremiah Curtin, of Prus' novel "Pharaoh", published by Little, Brown in 1902.) []

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