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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 (1020 )
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Performance
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  •  
    J R Plummer 04-01-15
    J R Plummer 04-01-15 Member Since 2015
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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
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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
  •  
    Kekone Chicago, Illinois USA 03-19-13
    Kekone Chicago, Illinois USA 03-19-13 Member Since 2013

    kekone

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    "best version yet of my favorite story"
    Would you listen to Gilgamesh again? Why?

    Gilgamesh lends itself to repeated listening, the story is timeless and so moving, the vocal performance captures the rich humanism of the tale. I have enjoyed listening together with my child, and plan to keep this one in our family e-library forever.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Gilgamesh?

    When Enkiku faces his curse, first with anger then with heroism, it's so memorable and wonderful, I cried. There are also some laugh out loud moments too, when Gilgamesh resists the seduction of the Goddess there are some hilarious lines. The love between the two heroes is so touching.


    What about George Guidall’s performance did you like?

    His pacing is spot on, it really captures the tone of the action, and he has just the right degree of expressiveness too, he's really just perfect for this story.


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

    The whole book is wonderful, I genuinely did laugh out loud, and cried too. The friendship between the heroes is on par with the brotherly love in Lord of the Rings. Beautiful.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are at all interested in the great classics grab this ebook. It's easy for even a child to follow the story, the background notes are ample but not at all overwhelming, a fantastic introduction to a timeless and deeply beautiful story. The language is frankly sensual, vivid, and rich, extremely enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Madison WI, WI, United States 04-26-12
    Douglas Madison WI, WI, United States 04-26-12 Member Since 2007
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    "The Gligamesh story is most immersive."

    I loved finally being able to read Gilgamesh. I appreciate that the author had taken existing translations and made a story out of them without having to be distracted by the fragmentary nature of what has been found so far.

    From the very start of the story, I was captivated. My imagination was immersed in a long passed civilization existing in a world unimaginably ancient. Gilgamesh was relevant to my life. More so than much of the books and stories, told as movies, produced today.

    There is so much depth here. So much intellectual wealth. If you have always wanted to approach Gilgamesh, this may be one of the best ways.

    The only downside is the commentary after the epic. For one thing, it is so much less compelling than the epic that I went back and listened to the epic once again before finishing the slog through the commentary. There were some edifying moments but it would have been much better if the author didn't feel the need to get across just how much he disapproved of George W. Bush and the Iraq war. I got it in one. I was also annoyed at how he assigned certain motivations and insights to the poet which he couldn't possibly be able to prove. At times it seemed as if the author was attempting to turn this treasure of the world into some trite piece of propaganda.

    But Gilgamesh prevails in the end and Stephen Mitchell should both be congratulated and rebuked.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly Portland, OR, United States 04-05-12
    Kelly Portland, OR, United States 04-05-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Great Story!"
    What made the experience of listening to Gilgamesh the most enjoyable?

    The story of Gilgamesh is an engaging saga that deals with timeless issues that are common to the human race. It gives great insight into early Mesopotamian culture and includes stories that were obviously common to a multitude of ancient middle eastern societies like the Great Flood.


    What does George Guidall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I will simply say that I enjoyed George Guidall's reading of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    The additional essay of the

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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