“Gilgamesh was kind of a jerk throughout most of the epic, but finally started getting it right in the end.”Coco wrote this review Tuesday, August 16, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I had to read this story in many different translations, many different times during undergrad. I hated it, then as I read other stories, I grew to respect it. Now I recommend it.”Jeff O wrote this review Thursday, March 6, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Love to read it. Love to teach it. This is my favorite version of the Gilgamesh epic, but it's not entirely appropriate for public school use. ”Autumn C wrote this review Friday, February 29, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“"It is i who will establish fame for eternity!"... utter utter vanity. reminds me of those bloody monstrous Hittite reliefs at the British Museum. War, Conquest, Domination, Conquest, Assimilation, War. ”Kaiser Sozay wrote this review Thursday, February 28, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest surviving piece of written literature. Over three thousand years ago, the author explored the same essential aspects of our humanity that all great literature explores: interpersonal relationships and social structure (the wealthy vs. the poor, rulers vs. their subjects, sexuality, friendship), what is truly valuable, and ultimately how to deal with death. These issues are still applicable to us today, and the wisdom contained in the epic still relevant.
Stephen Mitchell's version of the epic is excellent. He is himself a poet, and his version captures the true literary and poetic value of this epic. (Unfortunately, the epic of Gilgamesh only survives in fragments; most editions are heavily annotated literal translations. They may be more "accurate", but they manage to lose most of the power and heart of the poem.)
Mitchell said of his version, "If I have succeeded, readers will discover that, rather than standing before an antiquity in a glass case, they have entered a literary masterpiece." I would say that he has succeeded, and I strongly recommend this version of the epic of Gilgamesh.
One tip: read the story first and then the introduction. (If you don't know anything about Gilgamesh at all, read pages 1-2, 65-66, the poem itself 67-199, and then the introduction 3-64.) I read almost every book this way, but with this book I think it's essential. The "introduction" is an excellent analysis of the poem, exploring its significance to archeology, to literature, to anthropology, and -- most importantly -- to us as human beings. But you should read the poem itself before you read Mitchell's analysis of it.”
“One of the oldest written stories. Very strong in-depth thought provoking concepts. Strong message of friendship and loyalty. Helps view the parrells of our universe with so many opposites to our very natures as human beings. Very quick read but lots to think about.”scott d wrote this review Wednesday, January 30, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“ I had always heard that this had a big influence on the writing of the Torah. I can see it a little bit but I was expecting it to be more in line with the Torah. I still enjoyed it. It was not like anything that I could have predicted. I still enjoyed it. I was surprised by the situation between Inanna and Gilgamesh. How he pretty much called her out on her shit. Overall, I really enjoyed it. The translation was really tight and the story very mesmerizing. I wish now that I had not gotten an abridged version but I will have to correct that at some point in the near future. ”Kevin B wrote this review Tuesday, January 29, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I actually listened to this as an audiobook, as a bedtime story. It is a neat story - about immortality and fame. It is also a swords-and-monsters adventure. It includes a tale about a great flood and an ark, very similar to the story of Noah in the Bible.”girasol wrote this review Wednesday, January 23, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No