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The Epic of Gilgamesh: A New Translation…

The Epic of Gilgamesh: A New Translation (Penguin Classics) (edition 2000)

by Anonymous

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Title:The Epic of Gilgamesh: A New Translation (Penguin Classics)
Info:Penguin Classics (2000), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Epic, Sumeria, Read

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The Epic of Gilgamesh by Anonymous


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Wow! Quick read - great read! I only wish it was longer.

This is what an epic should be. There is majesty & mystique in every scene, ancient wisdom in every line, eternal truth in every relationship. It just cements the fact that every story has already been told, & we are just re-telling the tales, with a few twists, some new scenery, & some minor details.

Really wish I'd read this in school. Lots to discuss & mull over. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
I am taking on the subject of Babylonian Civilization this summer. To get started, I'm rereading the oldest story ever written by humans. How old? Try 4000 years old. Not only is it the oldest, but it is written in a dead language and it was buried for a couple thousand years before some British archaeologists dug it up in the Iraqi desert in the mid 1800's. It took another 50 years before it was translated into English.

I've read an adaptation of Gilgamesh before but never a scholarly translation that was directly translated from the cuneiform tablets. Andrew George's translation is considered one of the standards and I found it very readable even though there are gaps here and there to represent where the tablets are broken. In a sense, this made the work of translation more apparent and interesting. In fact, there is a whole system in place that emphasizes when and where certainty and speculation are used in the story. Italics and brackets are all over the place, but once you figure out the code, it adds a lot to the reading experience.

In addition to the standard Gilgamesh tablets, there are older Sumerian tablets that are translated and included in this Penguin edition. The Sumerian tablets are older but translated from Sumerian and not Akkadian. They tend to be less standardized, with characters switching names or roles here and there. The notes help sort all this out. The introduction is also very interesting and helps lay some crucial groundwork for placing this story in context to the history of the Babylonian Empire.

If you are like me and love Homer and all the other early epics you will want to familiarize yourself with this most excellent story. Just as interesting is the story of its discovery. Check out The Buried Book by David Damrosch to learn more about that. If you want to learn more about the ancient history of the area in audio format, check out Dan Carlin's podcast "Hardcore History -King of Kings" series. ( )
  BenjaminHahn | May 24, 2016 |
I read the entire book in undergrad, very quickly and delightedly - but didn't get to the introduction! I recently got the audiobook and got to it. I usually don't include audiobooks on here but I figured if I didn't with this, I'd never get it off my list. I definitely recommend this translation, it's the best one I've seen (and I've seen a LOT a lot). I also really recommend the audiobook of this translation, it's incredibly well done, very empowering but also soothing. ( )
  Kristin_Curdie_Cook | Apr 29, 2016 |
When I was a student teacher, I actually taught my students the Gilgamesh Epic. I used it to then go into the various creation and flood stories of various world religions. In fact, when I was in high school, my tenth grade English teacher also taught Gilgamesh, which is probably why I decided to follow his lead. Of course, every version I've ever seen is a simple breakdown of each section of the story, not the actual translation of the poem that this is (or, at least, the translation of what has been found of it so far). So, this particular version was a first time read for me.

The Epic of Gilgamesh presents one of the earliest recorded tales. It includes the first known example of a written creation story, a flood story, and even a version of the temptation of man by woman and a betrayal by a serpent. The Biblical parallels are so many that it can't be mere coincidence, especially when you learn that the early Semites (who would become the Jewish people) were at one time indoctrinated by Babylonian religion, which copied many of their stories from the Sumerian, including Gilgamesh, already an historical figure turned mythic hero by the time Babylon became a power.

To me though, the most important element of the Gilgamesh epic, is that it's not only the first "on the road" story, but also the first buddy story. Gilgamesh literally has a best friend made for him by the gods, and the two go on amazing adventures together. As a fan of the road movie and the buddy picture, this is something that always stayed with me about Gilgamesh and Enkidu. This brand of buddy adventure has always been around and has always been popular, since the literal beginnings of civilization. ( )
1 vote regularguy5mb | Mar 31, 2016 |
This is the grandmama of all written epic stories. Its influence can be read in Judeo-Christian and Roman stories. The Flood story is of particular interest to many since the bible story very nearly mirrors every detail as found in Gilgamesh.

Gilgamesh goes on a quest to find eternal life and commits heroic deeds, only to discover there is no such thing as eternal life to those not fully gods.

Worth reading if you really like epic stories. Also worth reading for the historical influence on literature through the ages. ( )
  AuntieClio | Mar 28, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (271 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anonymousprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sîn-leqi-unninnĩEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Kapheim, ThomIllustratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, StephenTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sandars, N. K.Translatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burckhardt, GeorgTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Feyter, Theo deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardner, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
George, AndrewTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hämeen-Anttila, JaakkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jastrow, MorrisEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kantola, TainaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kovacs, Maureen GalleryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maier, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marks, John H.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mason, HerbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maul, Stefan M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muss-Arnolt, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pasco, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salonen, ArmasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sandars, N.K.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schott, AlbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vanstiphout, HermanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warring, LennartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Für Lilian.

Penguin Classics ed., 1960.
First words
I will proclaim to the world the deeds of Gilgamesh. ...

trans. N.K. Sandars (1960)
It is an old story
But one that can still be told
About a man who loved
And lost a friend to death
And learned he lacked the power
To bring him back to life.

trans. Mason (1972)
The Story
of him who knew the most of all men know;
who made the journey; heartbroken; reconciled;

who knew the way things were before the Flood,
the secret things, the mystery; who went

to the end of the earth, and over; who returned,
and wrote the story on a tablet of stone.

trans. Ferry (1992)
He who saw the Deep, the country's foundation,
    (who) knew . . . , was wise in all matters!
(Gilgamesh, who) saw the Deep, the country's foundation
   (who) knew . . . , was wise in all matters!

(He) . . . everywhere . . .
   and (learnt) of everything the sum of wisdom. 
He saw what was secret, discovered what was hidden. 
   he brought back a tale of before the Deluge.

trans. George (1999) 
He had seen everything, had experienced all emotions,
from exaltation to despair, had been granted a vision
into the great mystery, the secret places,
the primeval days before the Flood. ...

trans. Mitchell (2004)
Last words
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Disambiguation notice
This work is any complete, unabridged translation of the Standard Version of The Epic of Gilgamesh. To quote the FAQ on combining - "A work brings together all different copies of a book, regardless of edition, title variation, or language." Translations of the Old Babylonian Versions should remain separate, as should translations of the early Sumerian Gilgamesh stories and poems from which the epic came to be.
Based on currently accepted LibraryThing convention, the Norton Critical Edition is treated as a separate work, ostensibly due to the extensive additional, original material included.
Publisher's editors
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 014044100X, Paperback)

This edition provides a prose rendering of The Epic of Gilgamesh, the cycle of poems preserved on clay tablets surviving from ancient Mesopotamia of the third mi llennium B.C. One of the best and most important pieces of epic poetry from human history, predating even Homer's Iliad by roughly 1,500 years, the Gilgamesh epic tells of the various adventures of that hero-king, including his quest for immortality, and an account of a great flood similar in many details to the Old Testament's story of Noah. The translator also provides an interesting and useful introduction explaining much about the historical context of the poem and the archeological discovery of th e tablets.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:36 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

A great king, strong as the stars in Heaven. Enkidu, a wild and mighty hero, is created by the gods to challenge the arrogant King Gilgamesh. But instead of killing each other, the two become friends. Travelling together to the Cedar Forest, they fight and slay the evil monster Humbaba. But when Enkidu is killed, his death haunts and breaks the mighty Gilgamesh. Terrified of mortality, he resolves to find the secret of eternal life.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014044100X, 0140449191

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