Title: Gilgamesh. Translated from the ...
Publisher: Knopf, New York
Publication Date: 1984
Edition: First Printing of the First US Edition
A Near Fine tight copy with a remainder mark to the top edge in a Fine bright unclipped dust jacket. The Gilgamesh story reaches back to a real Sumerian hero of the Third Millenium B.C. Its late version was written, not in Sumerian but in Akkadian, the language of Sumer's conquerors, by the priest, Sin-leqi-unnini, around 1300 B.C., and it is this Middle Babylonian version that we have been given in the present book. Although Gilgamesh is usually presented as a poem in twelve books, Gardner and Maier, guided by the fact that each of its twelve cuneiform tablets has six columns on each side, and feeling that "the column is an important unit of composition" (page vii), decided to treat the tablets as seventy-two columns or separate poems. Hence the unusual column-by-column layout of their book. Bookseller Inventory # 23673
Synopsis: The story of Gilgamesh, an ancient epic poem written on clay tablets in a cuneiform alphabet, is as fascinating and moving as it is crucial to our ability to fathom the time and the place in which it was written. Gardner's version restores the poetry of the text and the lyricism that is lost in the earlier, almost scientific renderings. The principal theme of the poem is a familiar one: man's persistent and hopeless quest for immortality. It tells of the heroic exploits of an ancient ruler of the walled city of Uruk named Gilgamesh. Included in its story is an account of the Flood that predates the Biblical version by centuries. Gilgamesh and his companion, a wild man of the woods named Enkidu, fight monsters and demonic powers in search of honor and lasting fame. When Enkidu is put to death by the vengeful goddess Ishtar, Gilgamesh travels to the underworld to find an answer to his grief and confront the question of mortality.
From the Back Cover:
"[Gilgamesh] has never been better served than in this new translation...Maier's contribution is the meticulous scholarship that envelopes the book...John Gardner's contribution...is the translation itself: lyrical, sinewy, emotionally uncompromising and rhythmically brilliant."
-- William L. Moran, The New York Times Book Review
"The authors brilliantly achieve the goal of infusing the poem with new life and meaning for the modern reader"
-- Ronald Bailey, Newsday
"A moving and exceptionally readable version of the poem."
-- Aaron Shurin, The San Francisco Chronicle
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