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Gilgamesh Audiobook

Gilgamesh: A New English Version

This brilliant new treatment of the world's oldest epic is a literary event on par with Seamus Heaney's wildly popular Beowulf translation. Esteemed translator and best-selling author Stephen Mitchell energizes a heroic tale so old it predates Homer's Iliad by more than a millennium.

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Publisher's Summary

This brilliant new treatment of the world's oldest epic is a literary event on par with Seamus Heaney's wildly popular Beowulf translation. Esteemed translator and best-selling author Stephen Mitchell energizes a heroic tale so old it predates Homer's Iliad by more than a millennium.

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1217 )
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Performance
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  •  
    R. Alpizar 07-14-15
    R. Alpizar 07-14-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Inanna remember!"

    I am required by this app to write a review of the audiobook I just listened to. So here it goes, it was audible.
    But to be honest I think it's the best reading of the Gilgamesh tale I've come across. I'm not going to waste your time by stating obvious facts. The only fact I will say is that I enjoyed it. If you like ancient poems you can't go wrong with this reading. Too bad audible doesn't have more books about the ancient Mesopotamians or any of their kings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Klein Rocketville, Maryland - USA 07-08-15
    R. Klein Rocketville, Maryland - USA 07-08-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Dating from antiquity doesn't mean it's great"

    I may be in the minority. I was wooed by the many good reviews and the historical importance of this book. But I was sorely disappointed. I found this read, and the reader to be very tedious. The story is quite repetitive (to the point where I actually thought, during some passages,that there was a problem with my player repeating earlier tracks!) and while it may be steeped in symbolism (or is that merely a modern interpretation of the ancients?) it struck me as being very slow and simplistic.

    I couldn't WAIT for this to end. For me, the reader's dramatic affectation only made me wish it would end even sooner.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    JURANDYR Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 07-04-15
    JURANDYR Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 07-04-15
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    "Superbly Engaging and Instructive"

    A beautifully rendered piece of literary art brought to us from the distant, forgotten past by two great masters, the writer and the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. Paul Sommer 06-04-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Wonderful work and narration!"

    I'll read it twice along with the notes. What a great view of human search for meaning, where we end up where we started out, only to find that the greatest journey is the one that takes place right where you are, coming home to the real you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Publicagent 05-17-15
    Publicagent 05-17-15 Member Since 2015

    Publicagent

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    "Compelling Narration/Translation"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 05-05-15
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 05-05-15 Member Since 2013

    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.

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    "The Ancient Epic resurrected in English Verse"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    SidCat257 04-13-15
    SidCat257 04-13-15 Member Since 2014
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    "THE Classic"

    Loved this audiobook! This is one of my favorite stories of all time however it comes in many different versions and interpretations. I was very pleased with this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Paul A. Gallagher SLO,CA 04-12-15
    Paul A. Gallagher SLO,CA 04-12-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Old and dated."

    Glad I listened, the explanation helped a lot. The price as an Audible daily deal made me happy I hadn't invested a lot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Mooney Halifax, MA USA 04-09-15
    Patrick Mooney Halifax, MA USA 04-09-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Amazing"

    I loved this fascinating ancient epic and the author's commentary at the end of the story. I wish I had more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Jonathan 04-08-15
    Jonathan 04-08-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Good story but I did not agree with essay"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    yes, mainly for the story itself


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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