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Stephen Mitchell , To Be Announced

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Description de l'ouvrage

1 octobre 2004
Gilgamesh is considered one of the masterpieces of world literature, but until now there has not been a version that is a superlative literary text in its own right. Acclaimed by critics and scholars, Stephen Mitchell's version allows us to enter an ancient masterpiece as if for the first time, to see how startlingly beautiful, intelligent, and alive it is.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"Beautifully retold and a page-turner in the bargain. Like Seamus Heaney's recent retelling of Beowulf, this book proves that in the right hands, no great story ever grows stale."

-- Newsweek

"A flowing, unbroken version that reads as effortlessly as a novel...with startlingly familiar hopes, fears, and lusts. Mitchell...cracks open the lessons in Gilgamesh by rebuilding its clay fragments into a poem easy on the eyes and the transcultural imagination....Vibrant, earnest, unfussily accessible.... The muscular eloquence and rousing simplicity of Mitchell's four-beat line effectively unleash the grand vehemence of the epic's battle scenes, and the characters' ominous visions emerge with uncanny clarity."

-- The New York Times Book Review

"Utterly enthralling reading, thanks to Mr. Mitchell's skill and flair in recasting the ancient text."

-- The New York Sun

"Seamus Heaney isn't the only one intent on making the classics relevant to our times. Mitchell...offers a limpid retelling of this story about absolute power.... Its message of love, loss, and endurance [is] rendered in fresh, forceful language."

-- Los Angeles Times

"The mysterious, sinewy surge of his verse [is] thoroughly modern, yet an uncanny evocation of the primeval."

-- The Boston Globe --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Biographie de l'auteur

Stephen Mitchell is widely known for his ability to make old classics thrillingly new. His many books include the bestselling Tao Te Ching, the Iliad, GilgameshThe Gospel According to Jesus, The Book of Job, Bhagavad Gita, and The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. His website is --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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182 internautes sur 188 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A Decent Choice To Start 8 août 2006
Par Dave_42 - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
In general, I am more interested in the scholarly translations of the Epic of Gilgamesh than I am those that attempt to create an English literary version of the Epic. That being said, Stephen Mitchell's new version of the Epic is a very readable adaptation, even if he takes a lot of liberties with the original story. Mr. Mitchell draws from several different translations, including Stephanie Dalley's and Benjamin Foster's, both of which I have read and can recommend to others as very good literal translations. He also uses Andrew George's "The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic" which has been highly recommended to me, and which I look forward to reading.

In his efforts to produce a more literary version of the Epic, parts of it have been cut or rearranged, so if you are looking for a pure translation, this is not only not a good choice but it would be one of the worst selections you could make. However, if you are looking for an enjoyable and easy to follow version of the Epic, this is a nice introduction. I would not suggest that you read only this edition though, but rather use it as a starting place to get a feel for the story and then move on to the other translations, which while more difficult to follow are ultimately more rewarding.
151 internautes sur 164 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful Introduction to the Epic of Gilgamesh. 22 octobre 2004
Par Todd Havens - Publié sur
I have heard the Gilgamesh title bandied about in conversations over the years, but I never had any interest in reading the epic that carries the historical king's name until Stephen Mitchell's translation came along. Call it fate, downtime between freelance jobs or an intriguing cover that happened to feed into my backburnered fascination with the Ancient Near East. In any event, I purchased the book and have just now finished reading it.

One of my biggest obstacles in approaching ancient literature is language. I want to be able to read it in a modern-enough translation that I don't lose the rhythm of the writing. Nothing destroys my interest in finishing a book more than constantly having to flip to a rear glossary or bouncing down to incessant footnotes. Mitchell's translation avoids all of that clutter by telling the story in a vernacular that facilitates finishing the work within a single sitting.

There are ample endnotes that delve into the issue of language translation if that floats one's boat, but there is also a wonderful (and timely) introduction that sets the stage for the literary adventure that is Gilgamesh. Mitchell's love for the epic is evident in his writing style which never suffers from erudite jargon or stuffy, scholarly analysis.

I found this translation completely accessible and a great joy to read!
22 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Adventures of Gilgamesh and Enkidu 29 août 2006
Par General Breadbasket - Publié sur
I remember in Year 9 literature, our teacher came and whacked down a great pile of photocopies on each of our desks. It was bits and pieces of this story called Gilgamesh, one of the oldest surviving written works around. We were reading the part about the Scorpion Men, I remember, and I thought it was pretty interesting. Since then, I've always been meaning to check it out, and just recently, I picked up this modern version of the Sumerian epic.

Gilgamesh is the story of the giant of the same name, King of the ancient Sumerian city of Uruk. He's handsome, he's strong, he's brave, but unfortunately he's a bit of a tyrant, and he oppresses his people. To stop his brutal ways, the gods create a likeness of Gilgamesh, Enkidu, who they put out in the wilds. Enkidu is a man who grows to become Gilgamesh's closest ally, and over a series of quests is one who changes his life and his life's meaning forever.

This adaption is a version, and not a translation. Stephen Mitchell, the author of this version, admits that he can't read Akkadian (the original language of Gilgamesh) but instead relied on several amplified and literal translations of the text for inspiration. As it is, I found it very, very easy to read, even compared to other modern versions of literature (Seamus Heaney's version of Beowulf, for instance). At a relaxed pace, I was able to get through this book in a couple of days.

The book itself I felt could have been a bit shorter. The introduction and endnotes combined take up half the pages! The introduction was all right, but not exactly my cup of tea. To give "Gilgamesh" some contemporary relevance Mitchell tries to draw parallels between Gilgamesh's "pre-emptive strike" on Humbaba and George Bush's attack on Iraq (which just happens to be where Gilgamesh originated). It can see how it would have been a tempting parallel to make in 2004, but I don't think it's a parallel that sits too well. He's reading a bit too much into Gilgamesh's little quest, I feel. In the introduction, I noticed he does that a lot. He paints it to be a very different work to the one I actually went on to read in the introduction, even. He practically tells you the whole thing in the introduction. It felt like I read it twice by the end, actually. The endnotes, meanwhile, are interesting but they aren't numbered, so you won't even know there is a note on something while you are reading until the end. Found that a bit frustrating. Footnotes would have been a bit better, I felt.

Apart from that, it is a very well presented book. The hardcover edition that I read has this lovely ragged yet patterned edge, which looks handmade (though it isn't) and evokes something ancient. The pages themselves all have this great pattern on the edges, which I thought was pretty special too. I hope they present more books with this much care.

As for the Gilgamesh story, like I've said, I don't see as much in it as Mitchell does in his introduction. Mitchell sees it as a world where there is no black and white, where nothing is clear. I thought things were pretty clear, actually. Most characters were just following their lusts, be it their lust for flesh, their lust for fame or their lust for eternal life. Human nature doesn't change really, does it? Speaking of lust, there is an awful lot of sex in this book, especially considering how short it is. I understand why the Bible satirizes, critcizes and condemns the contemporary Babylonian cultures so intensely (if you've read any of the major prophetic books of the Old Testament, you'll know what I'm talking about). Just have a look at some of the stuff that goes on in this book: shrine prostitutes, "omnisexuals", kings who get to sleep with brides on their wedding night, even if they aren't the husband. It is more than a bit off, if you ask me.

I think it's definitely worth a look. Still, I do think one day I'll go and read one of the older, more academic translations, just to compare.
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An Enjoyable Read 7 juillet 2005
Par S. Schisgall - Publié sur
If you're looking for an extremely enjoyable version of Gilgamesh, look no further. I'm glad I put in a few hours of research before deciding which version to read because the other versions may have been accurate to the original tablets, but based on skimming five other versions of the text, the other writing styles were not nearly as comprehensible as Mitchell's. I strongly recommend this version because of the fluidity and entertainment it provides for the modern reader.

If you're not familiar with the epic of Gilgamesh, Mitchell includes a very clear and useful 60 page introduction that provides any reader with an overview of Gilgamesh's history and a basic analysis of the story. If you have no idea what Gilgamesh is about, which was the case for me, you shouldn't have any problems following the story's plot if you start on the first tablet, but I feel that perusing Mitchell's Introduction made the story a lot more enjoyable than if I had dove straight into the story.

One other note about the text: If you have any knowledge about the Old Testament there are numerous allusions between the two texts, which I found cool because Gilgamesh was written before the Old Testament.

I highly suggest this version to all readers interested in the epic.
98 internautes sur 120 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Ersatz Gilgamesh: don't accept this bad imitation 19 juillet 2007
Par S. Richardson - Publié sur
Reading an actual translation of Gilgamesh would be a vastly better experience, unless understanding Stephen Mitchell's worldview is really all you want (see below for three excellent translations). I've met Mitchell, discussed the book with him; a nice man, but he has no conception of what he's changed and lost in his free rendition. And that would all be well and good, except he has the temerity to villanize "scholarly" work as dry, boring, and inaccessible - and make serious coin off of it. Sadly, he is guaranteed of making his claim of his book as a more direct and authentic read good for 99% of his readership, because they will never avail themselves of the real thing. In rendering language as he sees fit, what you get is Mitchell's poetic vision, yes; what you do not get is the authentic set of references and world views that the Sumerian and Akkadian language provide - his "version" actually manages to get things substantially wrong from the very first line! When he claims his work as improved or more accessible, the author (not translator) is playing a shell game with you. And he gets your money.

Meanwhile, for less than the price of Mitchell's, one could buy the scholarly editions of A. George, B. Foster, and S. Dalley and get the Real McCoy!
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