The Epic of Gilgamesh

Overview

The ancient Sumerian poem The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest written stories in existence, translated with an introduction by Andrew George in Penguin Classics. Miraculously preserved on clay tablets dating back as much as four thousand years, the poem of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, is the world's oldest epic, predating Homer by many centuries. The story tells of Gilgamesh's adventures with the wild man Enkidu, and of his arduous journey to the ends of the earth in quest of the Babylonian Noah and the secret...

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Overview

The ancient Sumerian poem The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest written stories in existence, translated with an introduction by Andrew George in Penguin Classics. Miraculously preserved on clay tablets dating back as much as four thousand years, the poem of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, is the world's oldest epic, predating Homer by many centuries. The story tells of Gilgamesh's adventures with the wild man Enkidu, and of his arduous journey to the ends of the earth in quest of the Babylonian Noah and the secret of immortality. Alongside its themes of family, friendship and the duties of kings, The Epic of Gilgamesh is, above all, about mankind's eternal struggle with the fear of death. The Babylonian version has been known for over a century, but linguists are still deciphering new fragments in Akkadian and Sumerian. Andrew George's gripping translation brilliantly combines these into a fluid narrative and will long rank as the definitive English Gilgamesh. If you enjoyed The Epic of Gilgamesh, you might like Homer's Iliad, also available in Penguin Classics. 'A masterly new verse translation' The Times 'Andrew George has skilfully bridged the gap between a scholarly re-edition and a popular work' London Review of Books

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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.
Scotsman

“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

From Barnes & Noble
Miraculously preserved on clay tablets and deciphered only in the last century, this classic epic poem tells the story of the great king of Uruk in Mesopotamia and his search for immortality. He journeys to the ends of the earth and beyond, where he hears the story of how the gods made a great flood sweep the earth and learns the destinies of gods and mortals. This new translation offers the most complete version ever published and includes the Babylonian epic poem along with other texts in Accadian and Sumerian. A blend of adventure, morality, and tragedy, the writings open a window to an ancient world. "The world's first truly great work of literature." -- The Independent.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140449198
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/15/2003
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 64,698
  • Product dimensions: 5.06 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 0.71 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2008

    Epic of Gilgamesh a must read!!!

    Don¿t listen to these other reviews posted here. The Epic of Gilgamesh is a classic of mythology and literature and one of the best and most meaningful tales ever told. It is also one of the key foundations for western culture, civilization and religion. I read it while I was a teenager and fell in love with it. I can understand, however, why the some of the other reviewers may have been confused. This particular edition is intended for scholars and researchers NOT laypeople just looking for a good read. It contains the original translated text with all the gaps and bumps and has not been smoothed out for easy reading. Penguin Books however does carry a ¿normal¿ edition of this story and I suggest that those not seeking a degree in mythology or religion pick up that one instead. Again this is a GREAT story, a true classic that has stood the test of time.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2012

    Please note: if you click on the nook-book "Buy Now" b

    Please note: if you click on the nook-book "Buy Now" button on the page for the 2003 Andrew George translation, you will be charged $9.99 and be sent a copy of the 1959 Sandars translation. If you want the Andrew George translation, I think you need to buy the paper version.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2005

    Save your self!

    I am not usually a complainer, but when I read this book, I was truly amazed by it. I had to read a book for history, so I chose this one, and boy was that a mistake!It is by far the most confusing book I have ever read, it was written in an ancient language, and should have stayed that way because it is untranslatable. I am 16 years old and I was lost through out the whole book! If you ever have to read a book for history, this is not the book for you! It was not only confusing, but boring, and it talked about innapropriate topics briefly for no purpose. Once again, I am not a complainer usually, but I wanted to give you the 'heads up' so you wouldn't fall into the same trap as I did.

    1 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

                   The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem, which corr

                   The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem, which correlates with the life of Mesopotamian society, is an excellent poem to read. I would definitely recommend this writing for AP World History students. Starting off with an elaborate introduction, the book sets the place's background information as well as historical events that are occurring. Furthermore, the prologue is a shortened summary of the whole epic, in general. The prologue helps a lot in deciphering the happenings in the long epic poem. Evermore, the poem itself is very interesting, in which it relates the story of Gilgamesh and his epiphany of immortality's reality.  All the chronological occurrences that happen all play a significant role in the meaning behind Gilgamesh's learned lesson. The lesson that he acknowledges is the truth that the closest concept to immortality is indeed the love and care of other people. Furthermore, without the characters, such as Enkidu and the Gods, the epic would not have been as successful. Throughout Gilgamesh's adventures, he learns how Enkidu, in the form of a companion, keeps him company and keeps him alive and jubilant. After Enkidu's death, Gilgamesh goes into deep mourning and sorrow prevails him. Also, the Gods, such as Shamash, aid Gilgamesh in his various adventures to show himself as supreme. Thus, the plot and the characters in the epic poem enable the audience to enjoy the writing.
                    Additionally, the author's usage of the events and people's relationships accomplish a major goal: teaching Mesopotamian social behaviors. The Epic of Gilgamesh is written so that human beings can understand how Mesopotamian culture was like and how the people lived back then. This epic poem accomplishes that very well. For example, religious aspects were examined, since people prayed to the Gods for strength and for redemption from misery. Evermore, it can be seen that there were social classes in the Mesopotamian era. In that time period, women were not respected as much. Therefore, they were often bossed by men off all places. This can be seen from Gilgamesh's acts with newly-wed brides. Thus, knowledge of certain aspects of the Mesopotamian culture can be learned through this epic poem. This poem has been an opportunity for the knowledge of Mesopotamia to grow. It is quick read, so the reader does not meander off into other thoughts. Evermore, there is a lot of repetition, which allows for the major concepts to seep into one's brain. Likewise, the context is also easy to understand. There may be some confusing aspects of the poem, in which the reader does not know what is happening. Though, when one looks at the prologue, the scenes become more evident and self-explanatory. Conclusively, since the plot is interesting, more knowledge about Mesopotamia can be gained, and the poem is understandable, The Epic of Gilgamesh should be read by all people. 

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  • Posted February 11, 2011

    Not for the romance novel reader

    If you are intersted in reading one of the most important early works of mankind, this is the book. If you need something for a high school book report, find a fictional version of Gilgamesh. This is an accurate translation of a very important work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2008

    Thanks to the first reviewer

    Thank you for writing your review. I had planned on purchasing it for my 12 and 16 year old sons. After reading your thoughts, I researched a little more and quickly changed my mind. Thanks again.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 25, 2013

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    Posted November 9, 2014

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    Posted March 2, 2009

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    Posted May 7, 2009

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    Posted November 14, 2010

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