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Gilgamesh

af Anonymous, Sîn-lēqi-unninni (Redaktør)

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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 storyline: they revolve around a man's eternal struggle with the limitations of human nature, and encompass the basic human feelings of loneliness, friendship, love, loss, revenge, and the fear of the 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.… (mere)
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Engelsk (92)  Hollandsk (2)  Fransk (2)  Svensk (1)  Alle sprog (97)
Viser 1-5 af 97 (næste | vis alle)
My favorite part is when they held hands. ( )
  stravinsky | Dec 28, 2020 |
The age of this literature, its eternal themes, and the story of its decipherment boggles the mind. Fascinating introduction , appendix and extra chapters makes one want to see the complete edition - but the closest library is 5,700km away and the book costs $500.
Humbaba is described as an ‘ogre’ but he was the first recorded nature conservationist. His murder - at the hands of Gilgamesh and Enkidu - lacks any justification in the text. ( )
  mnicol | Dec 21, 2020 |
Through one of those roundabout ways in which knowledge is acquired, I’ve actually read a ton about the Epic of Gilgamesh (including a whole book about the process by which it was rediscovered) without actually having read the Ur-Epic itself. Tonight I corrected that.

First and foremost, Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse does not adhere perfectly to the surviving fragments of the poem. The text, written by Wellesley College Professor David Ferry, takes minor artistic liberties throughout, filling in gaps in the tablets, tweaking repetitive or redundant lines, letting his own interpretation seep into the translation. I reflexively have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I almost cry out for an academic edition of the text, with every line neatly footnoted with contextualizing information and etymological data. On the other hand, Ferry’s rendering makes the poem fundamentally more readable than a purist’s translation ever could. This is something of a compromise between fidelity and readability, but it does make it possible to experience the poem in a way an ancient Sumerian might have, four millennia ago. There’s a small appendix at the back wherein Ferry explains many of his decisions, all of which seem eminently reasonable, on both artistic and academic grounds. For what it’s worth, I found the eighty-odd pages of texts surprisingly readable – far more so than the usual translations of Antiquity texts (or even Victorian prose) – with the exception of “Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Nether World”, which appears to have been composed separately from the rest of the epic and which Ferry makes no effort to clean up.

And what of the epic itself? The story itself is not particularly long or complicated (at least superficially). Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, is terrorizing his subjects, and so the gods create the wild man Enkidu, equal to Gilgamesh in strength. Raised in the wilderness, Enkidu is seduced (domesticated?) by Shamhat, a sacred prostitute, and after a brief scuffle with Gilgamesh the two become best of friends. After a couple of adventures, however, Gilgamesh and Enkidu have pissed off the gods, who slay Enkidu, sending Gilgamesh into an inconsolable depression.

The second part of the text is more familiar, particularly to those who have studied its parallels with the Book of Genesis. Gilgamesh is horrified by the reality that death comes for all mortal men (as someone who wants to live forever, I can relate), and so he sets off on a quest to obtain immortality. This quest ultimately leads Gilgamesh to Utnapishtim, the only man to have achieved immortality. When pressed as to how he pulled this off, Utnapishtim reveals that he survived the gods flooding the world by building a giant boat, and the gods, apparently unsure of what to do with him, granted him immortality and exiled him to a remote island. Gilgamesh is again distraught, since this is not exactly something he can replicate, but Utnapishtim consoles the king by informing him of a plant that, while not granting immortality per se, will restore his youth. Gilgamesh successfully retrieves this plant, but before he is able to use it, it is stolen by a serpent.

Ferry’s work really does bring the poem to life, for it has truly timeless qualities. There is the fierce fraternity of Enkidu and Gilgamesh, their shared despair over the looming shadow of death, a desire to rage against destiny and the will of the gods. I’m sure there are a thousand and one things I missed by virtue of not being a Sumerian scholar, but it’s easy enough to pick up the more moralizing threads the poet was weaving into the narrative. Enkidu being seduced from the wild by the luxuries of civilization; the prohibitions against women’s sexuality (which go all the way up to Ishtar); the happiness that having many sons will bring even after one’s death. On the whole, intriguing and well-worth your time. Gilgamesh retains its power after so many centuries.
  pvoberstein | Dec 14, 2020 |
2013 (My review can be found on the LibraryThing page linked)
http://www.librarything.com/topic/147378#3978596
  dchaikin | Sep 24, 2020 |
An interesting tale: deep folklore

This is not what I had in mind...

It's not bad, in fact I like this better than what I thought it would be. The ties with the Jewish story of Noah and the flood were one of the few things I already knew of the Gilgamesh epic... But to find a tale of friendship, love, death and grief... Mind blowing. ( )
  Miguel.Arvelo | Jun 9, 2020 |
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Vigtige steder
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Beslægtede film
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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)
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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.
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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 storyline: they revolve around a man's eternal struggle with the limitations of human nature, and encompass the basic human feelings of loneliness, friendship, love, loss, revenge, and the fear of the 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.

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