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Since the discovery over one hundred years ago of a body of Mesopotamian poetry preserved on clay tablets, what has come to be known as the Epic of Gilgamesh has been considered a masterpiece of ancient literature. It recounts the deeds of a hero-king of ancient Mesopotamia, following him through adventures and encounters with men and gods alike. Yet the central concerns of the Epic lie deeper than the lively and exotic story line: they revolve around a man’s eternal struggle with the limitations of human nature, and encompass the basic human feelings of lonliness, friendship, love, loss, revenge, and the fear of oblivion of death. These themes are developed in a distinctly Mesopotamian idiom, to be sure, but with a sensitivity and intensity that touch the modern reader across the chasm of three thousand years. This translation presents the Epic to the general reader in a clear narrative.
Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, and his companion Enkidu are the only heroes to have survived from the ancient literature of Babylon, immortalized in this epic poem that dates back to the 3rd millennium BC. Together they journey to the Spring of Youth, defeat the Bull of Heaven and slay the monster Humbaba. When Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh's grief and fear of death are such that they lead him to undertake a quest for eternal life. A timeless tale of morality, tragedy and pure adventure, The Epic of Gilgamesh is a landmark literary exploration of man's search for immortality.
-- 15 original woodcut illustrations -- 18 photographs of ancient artifacts This edition aims to reanimate the story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu for modern readers. The poetic rendition brings words to life through indelible images. A learned and lucid historical and cultural introduction fills in background for the narrative. An interpretative essay reviews the themes of Gilgamesh and their echoes in other literature. The total is a new edition that delights, informs, and stimulates readers to a new appreciation of this age-old tale.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest written chronicle in the world, composed two to three thousand years before Christ. It tells events in the life of a king in an ancient Sumerian city of Mesopotamia.In the tradition of the Greek Iliad or the medieval Beowulf, the heroic central figure is admired for his prowess and power; he is a warrior, whose greatest adventures are here recounted, sometimes fantastic and ultimately magical, as he ventures beyond the bounds of the world. The Epic of Gilgamesh is an artifact of the first civilization, that which is the father and mother of our own civilization. It is like the great-great-great-grandparent whose name you do not know but without whom you would not exist. There are many matters that are not believable to us—monsters, deities, and places that we do not think exist, nor ever existed. Yet we can perceive in Gilgamesh a person like ourselves. This is the story of a man, not a god. We understand him, even if we do not understand or believe all that he does. Gilgamesh is the first literature of mankind to express the human condition.
This Norton Critical Edition includes:An expanded translation from the Akkadian by Benjamin R. Foster based on new discoveries, adding lines throughout the world's oldest epic masterpiece.Benjamin R. Foster's full introduction and expanded explanatory annotations.Eleven illustrations.Analogues from the Sumerian and Hittite narrative traditions along with "The Gilgamesh Letter," a parody of the epic enjoyed by Mesopotamian schoolchildren during the first millennium BCE.Essays by Thorkild Jacobsen, William L. Moran, Susan Ackerman, and Andrew R. George, and a poem by Hillary Major.A Glossary of Proper Names and a Selected Bibliography.
THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH is the Uhr epic--the hero's journey, quest, and education--inscribed onto damp clay tablets several millennia before Odysseus or the priest of Ecclesiastes found their voices. Sumerian versions of the epic date back almost 5000 years. It is a Bildungsroman of a bad king learning to become a proper human being and therefore a wise king, and to do so, besides defeating lions and monsters and surviving great physical and emotional suffering, he must face, and answer, the first (and last) great question: mortality. Translated into English and presented here in its entirety as a graphic novel, this version of THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH is a father/son project by scholar and translator Kent H. Dixon and his son, the comix artist Kevin Dixon, who bring a fresh take on this great work. The reader is slowed down by the artwork and visual jokes and the artist's wry hat-tippings to various masters (Crumb and Gilbert Shelton alongside Schultz and Capp, Popeye and Krazy Kat, Uderzo's Astérix and Hergé's Tintin), and then, once the reading pace has shifted into lower gear, having all these aspects complementarily drawn out, makes for an especially satisfying counterpoint to the low-key, the wise and cynical and morally sophisticated, and sometimes sublimely Olympian humor.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is among the earliest surviving works of literature, with the earliest versions dating from around the Third Dynasty of Ur in early Sumeria (2150-2000 BC). Preserved in Cuneiform, the Epic was retold over the centuries, and the most complete version was discovered in the ruins of the library palace of the seventh century BC Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal. The Epic is most notable as being the obvious source of the biblical story of Noah and the flood. The Epic tells the story of the king of Uruk, Gilgamesh, and his adventures with his erstwhile foe and then friend, Enkidu. Together they journey to the Cedar Mountain to defeat Humbaba, its monstrous guardian, then they kill the Bull of Heaven, which the goddess Ishtar sends to punish Gilgamesh for spurning her advances. As a punishment for these actions, the gods sentence Enkidu to death. Gilgamesh then sets out to avoid his friend's fate and seek the secret to eternal life, a quest in which he is ultimately thwarted. Contains original author's preface and a new overview of the storyline. Contents Author's Preface Overview of the Storyline of the Epic of Gilgamesh The First Tablet: Of the Tyranny of Gilgamesh, and the Creation of Enkidu The Second Tablet: Of the Meeting of Gilgamesh and Enkidu The Third Tablet: The Expedition to the Forest of Cedars against Humbaba The Fourth Tablet: The Arrival at the Gate of the Forest The Fifth Tablet: Of the Fight with Humbaba The Sixth Tablet: Of the Goddess Ishtar, Who Fell In Love with the Hero after His Exploit against Humbaba The Seventh Tablet: The Death of Enkidu The Eighth Tablet: Of the Mourning of Gilgamesh, and What Came of It The Ninth Tablet: Gilgamesh in Terror of Death Seeks Eternal Life The Tenth Tablet: How Gilgamesh Reached Uta-Napishtim The Eleventh Tablet: The Flood The Twelfth Tablet: Gilgamesh, In Despair, Enquires of the Dead
The Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from Mesopotamia, is amongst the earliest surviving works of literature. The story centers on a friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Enkidu is a wild man created by the gods as Gilgamesh's equal to distract him from oppressing the people of Uruk. Together, they journey to the Cedar Mountain to defeat Humbaba, its monstrous guardian. Later they kill the Bull of Heaven, which the goddess Ishtar sends to punish Gilgamesh for spurning her advances. As a punishment for these actions, the gods sentence Enkidu to death.
Special Features- Aims to show how The Gilgamesh Epic developed from its earliest to its latest form- Systematic, step-by-step tracking of the stylistic, thematic, structural, and theological changes in The Gilgamesh Epic- Relation of changes to factors (geographical, political, religious, literary) that may have prompted them- Attempts to identify the sources (biographical, historical, literary, folkloric) of the epic's themes, and to suggest what may have been intended by use of these themes- Extensive bibliography- Indices