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Gilgamesh: A New English Version | [Stephen Mitchell]

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 (1062 )
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4.2 (671 )
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4.4 (678 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Anthony Norwalk, CA, United States 04-06-15
    Anthony Norwalk, CA, United States 04-06-15 Member Since 2011

    Antonavich

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of the first tales ever written."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Loretta 04-05-15
    Loretta 04-05-15
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    5
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    "Wow! An amazimg work!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arsenio Rodriguez 04-02-15
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    4
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    "love George Guidall's narrative way."

    great book!! love George Guidall's narrative way.Inkadu's story and how he lost the wildness after being seduced.....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J R Plummer 04-01-15
    J R Plummer 04-01-15 Member Since 2015
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    7
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    "I was time I heard this epic"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MikeFarr 04-01-15
    MikeFarr 04-01-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "There's a reason it's been around for 3000 years"

    It's the Hero's journey but with its own differences. The essay at the end is wonderful. This is enjoyable like a modern audiobook. Don't hesitate one minute.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Fort Pierce, FL, United States 03-31-15
    Bruce Fort Pierce, FL, United States 03-31-15 Member Since 2014

    Retired Reader

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    "Fascinating"

    I love the discovery side of Audible😊
    I am in my late 60s and have never heard anything about Gilgamesh. Not a great book - but one that did make me think a lot about some basic aspects of the human condition

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zachary Baton Rouge, LA, United States 03-30-15
    Zachary Baton Rouge, LA, United States 03-30-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Awesome epic. Great narration. A very easy depth."

    A very easy listen, that is until you realize how beautifully rich and powerful the simple prose weaves this wonderful epic, and then you get hooked. I actually stopped my morning run to finish listening so that I wouldn't have distractions. EXCELLENT! I am looking forward to listening to it again, and will probably go back to it every few months just to help myself regain grounding in life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Smith San Angelo, TEXAS 03-30-15
    J. Smith San Angelo, TEXAS 03-30-15 Member Since 2014

    JSmith

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    "Gilgamesh"

    Fascinating, incredible story, estimated around 2700 BC. I took a flier on this book and am very glad I did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BARRY 03-10-15
    BARRY 03-10-15
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    "Difficult to get involved."

    Struggled to finish this book. Didn't like author's interpretation or readers presentation. Better versions elsewhere.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher BROOKLYN, NY, United States 11-11-13
    Christopher BROOKLYN, NY, United States 11-11-13 Member Since 2012
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    "A New Version of the Oldest Story"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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