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The Epic of Gilgamesh (Norton Critical…
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The Epic of Gilgamesh (Norton Critical Editions)

by Benjamin R. Foster (Editor), Sin-leqi-unninni (Author)

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BkC2) THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH: Not sorry I read it, but what a slog.

The Book Report: Evil King Gilgamesh is hatefully cruel to the citizens of Uruk, his kingdom. The gods, hearing the cries of his oppressed people, send Gilgamesh a companion, Enkidu. (Yes, that's right, a man.) Gilgamesh falls so in love with Enkidu, and has such big fun playing around and exploring the world and generally raising hell with Enkidu that his people are left alone to get on with...whatever it was that they weren't allowed to do before. And there was much rejoicing *yay*

No one is allowed to be too happy for too long. Gilgamesh learns this when he royally screws up by refusing to screw goddess Ishtar because he's busy having fun with Enkidu. It is **NEVER** a good idea to turn down nookie from a goddess. She gets her knickers in a twist and decides that, if he's gonna be *that* way about it, he's not gonna have his boy-toy either! THEN the boys do the colossally stupid thing of stealing Ishtar's bull, and it's lights out for Enkidu.

Gilgamesh's grief, to his peoples' relief, sends him on a quest for immortality. Which, frankly, makes not one whit of sense. Grief, in my extensive experience, makes one want oblivion, not eternity. Well, whatever, not me writin' the story, so off goes Gilgamesh to have more adventures.

My Review: A whole bunch of the Old Testament is lifted from this book. Amazingly whole and entire, too. Methuselah, Noah...all here first.

It's a slog to read, like the Bible, but it's fascinating if kept to smaller doses. I had no faith for it to rock, but it might rock a religious person's sacred book fantasy pretty hard. Highly instructive is the treatment of a strong love between men as perfectly boringly ordinary. No sexual component is implied in their relationship, but go find me a more loving relationship in sacred literature. Their closeness was so complete that it threatened the gods. But, crucially, it was the *CLOSENESS* that threatened the gods, not any inherent evil. The men loved each other so completely that there was no room for gods, which pisses gods off somethin' fierce.

Food for thought, homophobes who think Leviticus is right on *this* count. ( )
2 vote richardderus | Jan 22, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Foster, Benjamin R.Editorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sin-leqi-unninniAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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He who saw the wellspring, the foundations of the land...
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the Norton Critical Edition, which includes several versions of the Gilgamesh story, plus several essays of literary criticism unique to this edition.
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Book description
Gilgamesh, offspring of a god and king of the ancient city of Uruk, sets off with newly-found friend Enkidu to kill the monster Humbaba and achieve everlasting fame. This particular edition contains, in addition to the primary text, supplemental literature from ancient Mesopotamia as well as critical essays on the Gilgamesh tradition.
Haiku summary
A king part divine
ventures far in hopes to find
immortality. (johnxlibris)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393975169, Paperback)

The Epic of Gilgamesh is the world’s oldest epic masterpiece.

More than a thousand years before Homer or the Bible, Mesopotamian poets sang of the hero-king Gilgamesh, who sought to crown his superhuman exploits by finding eternal life.  This Norton Critical Edition presents translations by Benjamin R. Foster, Douglas Frayne, and Gary Beckman of the entire Gilgamesh narrative tradition, with some texts now in English for the first time.  In addition to the eleven tablets of the great Akkadian epic, written around 1700 B.C.E., the book includes seven Sumerian poems about Gilgamesh, written before 2000 B.C.E., as well as the later Hittite version and other related sources, among them a Babylonian parody of the epic.

"Criticism" provides interpretive essays by William Moran, Thorkild Jacobsen, and Rivkah Harris and concludes with a modern poetic response to the Gilgamesh epic by Hillary Major.

A Glossary of Proper Names and a Selected Bibliography are also included.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:37 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

More than a thousand years before Homer or the Bible, Mesopotamian poets sang of the hero-king Gilgamesh, who sought to crown his superhuman exploits by finding eternal life.nbsp; This Norton Critical Edition presents translations by Benjamin R. Foster, Douglas Frayne, and Gary Beckman of the entire Gilgamesh narrative tradition, with some texts now in English for the first time.nbsp; In addition to the eleven tablets of the great Akkadian epic, written around 1700 B.C.E., the book includes seven Sumerian poems about Gilgamesh, written before 2000 B.C.E., as well as the later Hittite version and other related sources, among them a Babylonian parody of the epic."Criticism" provides interpretive essays by William Moran, Thorkild Jacobsen, and Rivkah Harris and concludes with a modern poetic response to the Gilgamesh epic by Hillary Major.A Glossary of Proper Names and a Selected Bibliography are also included.

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