Guidall and Mitchell seems to make a nice team. This version of Gilgamesh was much better than I expected. It felt contemporary and yet timeless at the same time. The quickly changing chapters and Guidall's effective narration kept me hooked.
The reading is not over four hours. The entire reading of Gilgamesh is about half of that. The other half is a lengthy introduction providing considerable context about the piece that sensibly is placed afterward. I did not listen to the entire introduction after the fact as I was reading about Gilgamesh online while listening.
Great way to get acquainted with one of the oldest known pieces of literature and mythology. It does not disappoint.
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
If you want a fairly easy follow-able version of the Gilgamesh epic without the endless repetions in the text, but true in most other aspects to the epic and read by an extraordinary narrator, I strongly recommend Stephen Mitchell's English rendition of "Gilgamesh."
It is not a translation of the Akkadian standard version or the Old Babylonian fragmentary version of Gilgamesh, but a retelling of the story in trimeter stichoi. That said Stephen Mitchell, a poet, translator and reteller of some fame, captures the essence and even the details of the Gilgamesh epic splendidly. He follows the standard Akkadian version of the text, but where it seems too fragmentary he supplements it with the Old Babylonian and Sumerian versions. He has used seven different academic translations of the Gilgamesh epic which he conservatively combined into one text. Thereafter he wrote it over in verse form. This thorough treatment of the story, makes it an excellent version to listen to even as a scholar. It is very accessible. It is meant to feel authentic.
I am of the opinion that George Guidall as choice of narrator is spot on. He is an outstanding narrator whom delivers once again. (I think his performance is on par with his reading of Eli Wiezel's Night.)
After the story of Gilgamesh is narrated an essay by the author is read by another narrator (whose name has slipped me). It is an overview and interpretation of the epic by Stephen Mitchell. Most of the content is rock-solid information, though I am not sure if he is always spot-on with his analysis of the epic. Be that as it may, it is not enough to default him on a single star, as this is truly a magnificent version of the ancient Gilgamesh Epic.
If you are not sure if you should buy it, because it is not a strict translation, I can heartily recommend it. I admire Mitchell's ability to resurrect the ancient epic of Gligamesh so that it can be relevant today.
yes, mainly for the story itself
The story was very interesting with the many comparisons to the bible, however I did not agree with the essay after the story. The essay made the bible an inferior book and tried to give Gilgamesh more importance in literary history.
This is a great tale of a king who is so self absorbed and evil, that it takes the intervention of the gods to bring about change. In the end he becomes human.
Beautiful poetry combined with a phenomenal reading. The oldest written story in man's possession comes alive under Mitchell's and Guidall's talents. I recommend you stay for the essay following the piece.
An excellent use of 4+ hours.
Listening to the story, then the essay recapping it, confirmed many of my thoughts, and gave me better understanding of sections which baffled me.
I'd always wondered why I'd never been taught this epic in school, now I know - sex and morals from a distant past and cultural context.