Originally the work of an anonymous Babylonian poet, who lived over 3700 years ago, this is the tale of one man's struggle against death. Not content with the immortal renown won by reckless deeds, the hero of the epic seeks immortality itself and journeys to the end of the earth and beyond.
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The Epic of Gilgamesh is a splendid work--and so is Andrew George's new translation of it. Powerful, moving and intensely readable, this great Babylonian story about man's fear of mortality, first written down more than four thousand years ago, was rediscovered in 1872. Since then it has grown piece by piece, as scholars translate the cuneiform text on more and more pieces of clay tablets discovered by archaeologists: jigsaw puzzles with many of the pieces missing.
This new edition, the most complete ever published, is the culmination of a dozen years of research by a dedicated academic at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies. It contains the standard version of the Epic, with many of the gaps in the fragmentary clay tablets filled by painstaking comparison with parallel passages from earlier versions, including the first time five very early Sumerian poems of a quiet different version in which Gilgamesh is known as Bilgames. It is a tribute both to the translator and to the unknown authors of the original that the whole work is a sometimes painful, sometimes joyous, but always stimulating read, as fascinating, and surely just as relevant today, as it was four thousand years ago. --David V. Barrett
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