Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse

Overview

Gilgamesh is the great epic of ancient Mesopotamia, one of the oldest works in Western literature, contemporary with the oldest parts of the Bible. It is the story of a legendary king who achieves heroic victories with the help of the wild man Enkidu; but when his friend dies, Gilgamesh goes in search of the way to escape death, a secret he can learn only from the one man who survived the Great Flood. Long counted among the world's great poems, the Gilgamesh epic in the original Babylonian was found on broken ...
See more details below
Paperback (First Edition)
$10.45
BN.com price
(Save 19%)$13.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (85) from $1.99   
  • New (15) from $4.38   
  • Used (70) from $1.99   
Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

Available for Pre-Order
This item will be available on November 11, 2014.
NOOK Book (eBook - First Edition)
$9.27
BN.com price

Overview

Gilgamesh is the great epic of ancient Mesopotamia, one of the oldest works in Western literature, contemporary with the oldest parts of the Bible. It is the story of a legendary king who achieves heroic victories with the help of the wild man Enkidu; but when his friend dies, Gilgamesh goes in search of the way to escape death, a secret he can learn only from the one man who survived the Great Flood. Long counted among the world's great poems, the Gilgamesh epic in the original Babylonian was found on broken tablets, inscribed in ancient cuneiform script. Previously, line-by-line literal translations have necessarily been somewhat discontinuous, while freer versions have departed widely from the original. Now, for the first time, David Ferry in his new version makes Gilgamesh available in the kind of energetic and readable rendering that Robert Fitzgerald and Richmond Lattimore have provided for readers in their translations of Homer and Virgil. Ferry's poetry combines faithful attention to the literal meanings of the original with a sense for the poetic qualities that make Gilgamesh not only an important document of ancient Mesopotamia but also a profoundly moving story of the love between companions, and the terrible inevitability of death. This edition also includes Ferry's version of the related Babylonian poem "Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Nether World," as well as an introduction by William L. Moran, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, Emeritus, at Harvard University.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ferry's ( On the Way to the Island ) version of this Mesopotamian epic is not simply a translation but an artful interpretation which aims to convey the spirit rather than the letter of the fragmentary original. Working from scholarly translations of the Sumerian and Akkadian tablets but departing from them freely, he has produced a ``rendering'' with shape and wholeness. And Ferry has enhanced the closeness of the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu, the wild man created by the gods to temper the hero's fierceness. Early in the poem, Gilgamesh sagely tells Enkidu, ``The life of man is short. / What he accomplishes is but the wind.'' After Enkidu's death, Gilgamesh is driven to seek the secret of eternal life from Utnapishtim, who was granted eternal life. Gilgamesh learns bitterly the truth of his own words in the beautiful but unconsoling speech of the wise man: ``Time after time the river has risen and flooded. / The insect leaves the cocoon to live but a minute.'' Ferry's iambic pentameter is more lyrical than epic, and captures the elegiac and ironic undertones of Gilgamesh's failed search for immortality. One senses that he has restored the poetry of this oldest epic. (June)
From the Publisher
"Ferry's version [of Gilgamesh will] become the standard English text."—Fred Marchant, The Harvard Review

"There have been other English accounts of this hero with a thousand descendants, but this is the first one that is as much poetry as scholarship."—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World

"Ferry's skill brings a fresh interpretation to the power of Gilgamesh." —John Ray, The Times Literary Supplement

"Ferry's Gilgamesh is uniquely his own, self-contained in holding aloof from fads and hype. No display of adjectival fireworks could do justice to his poem's originality or to the integrity of the poet's formal invention. In identifying the poem as Mr. Ferry's, I mean no disrespect to Sin-leqe-unninni, the ancient poet-editor that Babylonian tradition credits as having developed to their highest form the epic adventures of Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, and his companion, Enkidu. But like Edward Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat or Ezra Pound's Cathay, Mr. Ferry's Gilgamesh is a miraculous transformation of his original into his own, utterly distinctive idiom . . . Perhaps the poem's most moving element is how the desire for fame is superseded, after the death of Enkidu, by a quest that touches every reader, ancient or modern. . . he wish for physical immortality . . . [Ferry's] technical genius and literary sophistication evoke not only the hero's anguish, but the rage and despair of the untouchable."—Tom Sleigh, The New York Times Book Review

"The Gilgamesh epic . . . came to light again in the mid-19th century and, thanks to the labors of an arduous, exacting philology, slowly began to assume its place as one of the great poems of the world. Hitherto, however, it has existed only in posse, waiting for a poet who could actualize it. David Ferry has performed this service, and has given us a noble poem as close to the ancient original as we in our ignorance have any right to. May his achievement quickly win the recognition it deserves."—D.S. Carne-Ross, The New Criterion

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374523831
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 6/1/1993
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 123,697
  • Product dimensions: 5.45 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

David Ferry, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry for his translation of Gilgamesh in 1992, has translated The Odes of Horace, The Eclogues of Virgil, and the Epistles of Horace. For Of No Country I Know: New and Selected Poems and Translations he won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, given by the Academy of American Poets, and the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, given by the Library of Congress. In 2001 he received an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2002 he won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award. He is the Sophie Chantal Hart Professor of English Emeritus at Wellesley College.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)