Gilgamesh (Google eBook)
Random House LLC, Sep 28, 2011 - Fiction - 320 pages
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 Trade Paperback edition.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
BkC2) THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH: Not sorry I read it, but what a slog. The Book Report: Evil King Gilgamesh is hatefully cruel to the citizens of Uruk, his kingdom. The gods, hearing the cries of his oppressed people, send Gilgamesh a companion, Enkidu. (Yes, that's right, a man.) Gilgamesh falls so in love with Enkidu, and has such big fun playing around and exploring the world and generally raising hell with Enkidu that his people are left alone to get on with...whatever it was that they weren't allowed to do before. And there was much rejoicing *yay* No one is allowed to be too happy for too long. Gilgamesh learns this when he royally screws up by refusing to screw goddess Ishtar because he's busy having fun with Enkidu. It is **NEVER** a good idea to turn down nookie from a goddess. She gets her knickers in a twist and decides that, if he's gonna be *that* way about it, he's not gonna have his boy-toy either! THEN the boys do the colossally stupid thing of stealing Ishtar's bull, and it's lights out for Enkidu. Gilgamesh's grief, to his peoples' relief, sends him on a quest for immortality. Which, frankly, makes not one whit of sense. Grief, in my extensive experience, makes one want oblivion, not eternity. Well, whatever, not me writin' the story, so off goes Gilgamesh to have more adventures. My Review: A whole bunch of the Old Testament is lifted from this book. Amazingly whole and entire, too. Methuselah, Noah...all here first. It's a slog to read, like the Bible, but it's fascinating if kept to smaller doses. I had no faith for it to rock, but it might rock a religious person's sacred book fantasy pretty hard. Highly instructive is the treatment of a strong love between men as perfectly boringly ordinary. No sexual component is implied in their relationship, but go find me a more loving relationship in sacred literature. Their closeness was so complete that it threatened the gods. But, crucially, it was the *CLOSENESS* that threatened the gods, not any inherent evil. The men loved each other so completely that there was no room for gods, which pisses gods off somethin' fierce. Food for thought, homophobes who think Leviticus is right on *this* count.