What was written down in Ancient Egypt and what was not committed to writing changed dramatically over 3000 years of dynastic history. Why were some genres of texts created and not others? John Tait uses this question as the starting point to explore the meaning of writing in ancient Egypt, through its technology, through the decisions of the scribes who wrote them, and through the expectations of readers of these texts. It explores the culture of orality, the uses made of written documents, and ancient preservation strategies for textual materials. Tait creates a set of genres of Egyptian texts to help us understand how they viewed written documents in their original cultural context.