In the ancient city of Uruk, the tyrannical King Gilgamesh tramples citizens "like a wild bull". The gods send an untamed man named Enkidu to control the ruthless king, but after fighting, Enkidu and Gilgamesh become great friends and embark on a series of adventures. They kill fearsome creatures before Enkidu succumbs to disease, leaving Gilgamesh despondent and alone. Eventually, Gilgamesh moves forward, and his quest becomes a soul-searching journey of self-discovery.
Mitchell's treatment of this extraordinary work is the finest yet, surpassing previous versions in its preservation of the wisdom and beauty of the original.
©2004 Stephen Mitchell; (P)2004 Recorded Books LLC
"Stephen Mitchell's Gilgamesh is a wonderful version....This is certainly the best that I have seen in English." (Harold Bloom)
"Here is a flowing, unbroken version that reads as effortlessly as a novel....Vibrant, earnest, unfussibly accesible....The muscular eloquence and rousing simplicity of Mitchell's four-beat line effectively unleashes the grand vehemence of the epic's battle scenes." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Mitchell seeks language that is as swift and strong as the story itself. He conveys the evenhanded generosity of the original poet....This wonderful new version of the story of Gilgamesh shows how the story came to achieve literary immortality: not because it is a rare ancient artifact, but because reading it can make people in the here and now feel more completely alive." (Publishers Weekly)
I can't comment on its fidelity to the original, but this is a very engrossing rendering of the tale. The reader does a great job, and the translation is smooth and listenable. There's also an excellent essay at the end which answered all the questions that I had!
An unknown poet writes the world's oldest known epic poem. (2 hours for story; 2 hours for interpretation and explanation by the editor.) Superbly narrated by George Guidall in what is undoubtedly the way most received the story in its time. Uniquely and appropriately audio. The narrative pace translates beautifully to an easy to listen to story(publisher's notes say that earlier translations are stiff and academic). Fun and Enlightening -- not to worry if poetry puts you off -- this story flows beautifully. The interpretations and explanations of editor are worthwhile. I question his easy-to-ignore comparisons to very current events that can only be judged appropriately in the lens of history and his speculations on a homoerotic relationship between the two main characters. Very worthwhile.
Here is a daring translation of Gilgamesh that is easy to listen to, although strong in language and flavor. It makes you feel like you are getting close to experiencing one of the seminal myth/legends in vivo, that all cultures and peoples have deep in their psyches.
Also, there is a long commentary that follows the translation that is valuable in emphasising the intrepretive role of this translator and giving the listener/reader a way to evaluate his/her own reaction and perhaps judge any possbile bias in this translation.
All in all, very pleasurable and valuable.
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.
What a great experience this version of the epic is! What a pleasure to listen to. Normally I would bemoan the unscholarly treatment Mitchell has given the story; I'd never condone such loose treatment of, say, the Homeric epics. But given the fragmentary nature of the epic as it has come down to us, such a treatment is the only way to enable us modern readers to really dig in to the story, to experience it as a literary work rather than an archeological artifact. And what a wonderful story, and a titanic literary achievement it is!
George Guidall is fantastic as always; one could not ask for a better reading.
Listeners should note that the epic itself is only about half of the audiobook. The second half is an essay about the epic as literature, its discovery, and the editor's process. Not a bad essay, though a little lightweight.
One of the best audio books. I enjoyed essay written on the topic by the writer.
A great book to read, must say that the essay written is a great philosophical narration.
This story is one of the most poignant stories in all of human history.
How do we deal with the death of loved ones? If you ever experienced a tragedy of losing your soulmate you will see yourself in Gilgamesh and his anguished cries after losing Enkidu.
I did not care much about George Guidall's performance in Longmire mysteries but I absolutely loved his performance in Gilgamesh! His mature voice, experience and expert pacing was beautifully measured and expressive. The way he portrayed the characters in the epic was priceless.
The beginning of the story is absolutely magical and draws you in as if in a dream.
What an epic story!
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