The Epic of Gilgamesh (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 30 Jan 2003
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"Andrew George has skillfully bridged the chasm between a scholarly re-edition and a popular work
"London Review of Books"
Humankind s first literary achievement..."Gilgamesh "should compel us as the well-spring of which we are inheritors...Andrew George provides an excellent critical and historical introduction.
Paul Binding, "Independent on Sunday"
This volume will endure as one of the milestones markers...[George] expertly and easily conducts his readers on a delightful and moving epic journey.
Samuel A. Meier, "Times Literary Supplement"
Appealingly presented and very readably translated...it still comes as an exhilarating surprise to find the actions and emotions of the Sumerian superhero coming to us with absolute immediacy over 30-odd centuries.
Andrew George has formed an English text from the best of the tablets, differentiating his complex sources but allowing the general reader a clear run at one of the first enduring stories ever told.
Peter Stothard, "The Times"
An exemplary combination of scholarship and lucidity...very impressive...invaluable as a convenient guide to all the different strands which came together to produce the work we now call "Gilgamesh."
Alan Wall, "Literary Review""
About the Author
Andrew George is Reader in Assyriology at SOAS (the School of Oriential and African Studies) in London, and is also an Honorary Lecturer at the University's Institute of Archaeology. His research has taken him many times to Iraq to visit Babylon and other ancient sites, and to museums in Baghdad, Europe and North America to read the original clay tablets on which the scribes of ancient Iraq wrote.
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Top Customer Reviews
Finally, the text is peppered with line drawings of contemporary tablet illustrations. All this, and pictures too! Highly recommended.
The story is told in six chapters, based on the Standard Version of the epic, but without following its line and verse structure. It's short and snappy and by the time you've finished you'll have seen Gilgamesh's adventures in the Forest of Cedar, in the Underworld, and at the end of the world as he is instructed by Uta-napishti, the only survivor of the Deluge. You'll see Gilgamesh progress from haughty despot to responsible ruler, as he realises that the only way to immortality is through the good works you leave behind.
This is a story of gradual realisation and painfully acquired insight which we can all relate to. Though it lacks the sure touch of the Iliad or the Odyssey, which may be due to the extremely fragmentary and disparate sources, there is a real humanity to Gilgamesh and his inner turmoil which goes to show that human nature hasn't changed that much.
It also comes with an excellent short introduction to ancient Mesopotamia and its geography, history and culture.
Don't buy it - if you are interested in Gilgamesh, buy the complete 1972 Sandars Penguin Classic AND the 1999 Andrew George Penguin Classic. Notice that two of the reviews here are actually for Andrew George's edition - that's a big blunder by Amazon!
The story opens with the story of Enkidu, a wild man of nature who was to become Gilgamesh's best friend and accompany him on his dangerous journeys. The first trip takes them to the Land of the Cedars where Gilgamesh sets out to kill Humbaba, the guardian of the forest. When he later slays the Bull of Heaven, the anger of the gods is turned upon him and Enkidu, leading to new suffering by Gilgamesh. In desperation, he seeks Utnapishtim in the land of the gods; Utnapishtim was granted eternal life after preserving mankind in the wake of a great flood. Gilgamesh again finds only heartache for his troubles. Returning to Uruk, he preserves the story of his journeys and deeds in writing, and it is, perhaps ironically, in this written record that Gilgamesh is recognized today for the great man he was.
One learns much about the ancient gods in this tale, and the story of the great goddess Ishtar's role in the related events is pretty amazing. When Ishtar invited Gilgamesh to be her husband, he issued forth a litany of former lovers whom Ishtar had turned out and cursed, boldly rebuffing Ishtar's advances.Read more ›
The introduction to the book is excellent - a brilliant summary of some general ideas about life in the time it was written in ancient Mesopotamia. The introductions to each part, tablet and poem are also lucid, helpful and personable. Even the few illustrations - copies of original pictures from Mesopotamia describing the epic - are lively and expressive. If it had been the first translation of the epic that I had read, and it assuredly is not, then it would have been a perfect introduction.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautifully budget version of a great. Everyone should own this.Published 1 month ago by leigh shaw
While reading The Literature Book, I learned The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest recorded story of all time. That prompted me to find a free online copy to read. Read morePublished 5 months ago by fredamans
I bought this translation in order to update my collection, it is, I believe the best translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh. Read morePublished 9 months ago by originalisa
I have to say that this has been one of the best books that I have read for a long timePublished 9 months ago by wayne skillen
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