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Although he invented the entire literary process, the Egyptian god Thoth has been virtually forgotten by readers today. As 'secretary' of the Egyptian pantheon, hew was commonly represented as an ibis-headed man wearing horns and uraei plumes. He is thus embodied 'divine intelligence introduced in some measure into animal form - the human.'

Thoth (whose name means 'logos') made a tremendous contribution to Egyptian culture. The Greeks identified him with Hermes, and as such he was the reputed author of hermetic literature in general. Music, astronomy and the arts also numbered among his innovations. However, it is for the invention of writing that his name survives today.

An exceedingly prolific author, Thoth dictated thousand of books covering the entire spectrum of human endeavour. His huge output transformed the ancient world and ensured that the human race did not, at an early state in its development, 'die of ignorance.'

Nowadays, he continues to find favour with a tiny circle of devotees, thanks at least partly to his plagiarist associations. The concept of plagiarism, after all, is implicit in the concept of writing, and Thoth must therefore be regarded as the god of plagiarism, Lord of the plagiaristic process. It is for this reason that all future SMILE editions should be consecrated to his name.

From SMILE 23, Doncaster 1986