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Inanna, Lady of Largest Heart: Poems of the Sumerian High Priestess Enheduanna Paperback – 1 Feb 2001


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Inanna, Lady of Largest Heart: Poems of the Sumerian High Priestess Enheduanna + Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, The Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others (Oxford World's Classics) + Inanna
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Product details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press (1 Feb 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292752423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292752429
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 873,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"That these poems deal immediately with the very popular 'goddess literature' and with an individual woman in a most important historical situation should give this work widespread appeal." John Maier, SUNY College at Brockport, cotranslator of the Epic of Gilgamesh "The Epic of Gilgamesh is well-known as the earliest extant work of literature, but try the Bronze Age poems if Inanna. Written around 2,300BC, they contain fabulous lines: "Lady of blazing dominion, clad in dread. Riding on red fire-power." Stand in the Middle East today and you can feel the heat of the great goddess coming at you." - Bettany Hughes, The Week, May 12th 2012

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chloe Miriam on 14 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Enheduanna's poetry remains fantastic, however this book is let down greatly by De Shong Meador's shoddy interpretation of archaeological evidence. She is not an archaeologist and it shows. Some of her interpretations and assertions are directly contradicted by archaeological sources and textual evidence. For example she infers that Enheduanna's poetry was perhaps a rebellion against a male dominated society, and whilst I certainly agree Sumerian/Akkadian society was male dominated, her poetry was in fact commissioned by her father King Sargon (who appointed her to the position of En Priestess) and the only copies we have are much later copies found in official archives. All these things which indicate that her work was not seen as rebellious by the state (if anything, as a high ranking religious official and member of the royal family, she was the 'establishment') as anything deemed 'dangerous' in anyway would not have been preserved in archives for so long, indeed copies of her work was archived alongside the letters of kings indicating the high esteem in which her work was held by the establishment. It is when statement susch as this are presented as 'fact' in a book pertaining to be at least vaugely academic that I just cannot overlook them. Van Djik and Halo's translation of 'The Exaltation of Inanna' is a much better book with an academic translation of one of Enheduanna's finest works and a good summary of the evidence about her life.

These niggles would not be such a problem if a large section of the book was not devoted to an exploration of Enheduana's life and times.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. L. M. Tarrier on 3 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
A book of delightful discovery where the past meets the present in the writings of a Priestess who is the first published poet her work having been revealed through the remarkable translation of De Shong Meador. A book that takes you to an ancient mysterious world that is changing beyond recognition for those living within it and yet deals with issues that we all experience in our lives today. De Shong Meador reveals a divinity who spans all of human emotion and experience and who "smashes the mountain" of our prejudice to bare open the feminine in all of her aspects whether dark or light. In discovering Enheduanna's Goddess we can discover our full nature as women without the sanitised version that has been presented for the past milennium.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By travelswithadiplomat on 8 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback
This rendition of Sumerian religious poetry and hymns can be reviewed in two areas. The first: that of the theories around the poems/hymns; the second: the actual translations. Five stars the latter, two stars the former.
The first part is given over to discussion of the Sumerian culture and the mythology of Inanna. The first chapter dupes as an intro and is autobiographical, which is nice, as it's good to see why an author has chosen to write any book. Chapter Two could be summed up by the statement that Inanna is "all encompassing", but the author chooses to spend a dozen pages saying it. To be honest you can safely ignore Chapter Two. Chapter Three is far better, giving a succinct history of pre-Sumerian cultures during the Ubaid period. Chapter Four is also very good as Meador gives a history of the archaeology of the Sumerian period. It continues through Chaprter 5 with an interpretation of Enheduanna's life. Several interpretative anomalies and assumptive theories leap out in chapters 5 to 7. For example, the single disk that was found stating: "Enheduanna..., daughter of Sargon" is interpreted as literal, even though, as the author acknowledges, this presents a dichotomy (as other Sumerian scholars also acknowledge) of incestuous rituals described in Chap6, pg 61. Given all these scholars and the author agree it presents a problem it might be prudent to theorize that the term `daughter' is ritualistic and not literal. But, by taking the literal interpretation, it has allowed the author to present a full princessly/priestessly life of Eduhanna with no primary source to back it up.
Chapter 7 begins to discuss the 42 hymns and 3 poems. Hymn 8 speaks of the `seven seas' which throws up all kinds of questions, given the relatively modern usage of the term.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Happy Chappie TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Dec 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting look at the works of the High Priestess to the moon god Nana, Enheduanna.

Some of the poems/hymns are quite stunning in there imagery, `Lady of the Largest Heart' itself for example, others not so. The book covers Enheduanna and her times in some depth and relates most strongly to Inanna (later known as Ishtar I believe), as you would expect. What grates is the constant pushing of a feminist agenda. I have no problem with that per se it's the way it's done that I find gets in the way of the poems to the extent that one stops looking at them and starts looking for the next `feminist dig'. Pity, because as I say the poems/hymns and the exploration of Enheduanna is very good indeed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D45 on 24 Feb 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Enheduanna was the earliest poet of whom we have recorded works of poetry in civilisation. A woman and high priestess of the important cult, it is surprising that she is not included in people's education and cultural map of literature and writing in ancient history.

This translation is sympathetic and accessible. The commentary and analysis is rather feminist in agenda, although understandably so. Overall, recommended. 4 stars.
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