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The Epic of Gilgamesh (Penguin Classics)

ISBN 13: 9780140441000

The Epic of Gilgamesh (Penguin Classics)

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9780140441000: The Epic of Gilgamesh (Penguin Classics)
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Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, and his companion Enkidu are the only heroes to have survived from the ancient literature of Babylon, immortalized in this epic poem that dates back to the 3rd millennium BC. Together they journey to the Spring of Youth, defeat the Bull of Heaven and slay the monster Humbaba. When Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh's grief and fear of death are such that they lead him to undertake a quest for eternal life. A timeless tale of morality, tragedy and pure adventure, The Epic of Gilgamesh is a landmark literary exploration of man's search for immortality.

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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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"The work of synthesis has been accomplished, and with a remarkable degree of tact and imagination."
--Times Literary Supplement

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