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Gilgamesh: A New English Version (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Stephen Mitchell

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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

Présentation de l'éditeur

Gilgamesh is considered one of the masterpieces of world literature, and although previously there have been competent scholarly translations of it, until now there has not been a version that is a superlative literary text in its own right. Acclaimed translator Stephen Mitchell's lithe, muscular rendering allows us to enter an ancient masterpiece as if for the first time, to see how startlingly beautiful, intelligent, and alive it is. His insightful introduction provides a historical, spiritual, and cultural context for this ancient epic, showing that Gilgamesh is more potent and fascinating than ever.

Gilgamesh dates from as early as 1700 BCE -- a thousand years before the Iliad. Lost for almost two millennia, the eleven clay tablets on which the epic was inscribed were discovered in 1853 in the ruins of Nineveh, and the text was not deciphered and fully translated until the end of the century. When the great poet Rainer Maria Rilke first read Gilgamesh in 1916, he was awestruck. "Gilgamesh is stupendous," he wrote. "I consider it to be among the greatest things that can happen to a person."

The epic is the story of literature's first hero -- the king of Uruk in what is present-day Iraq -- and his journey of self-discovery. Along the way, Gilgamesh discovers that friendship can bring peace to a whole city, that a preemptive attack on a monster can have dire consequences, and that wisdom can be found only when the quest for it is abandoned. In giving voice to grief and the fear of death -- perhaps more powerfully than any book written after it -- in portraying love and vulnerability and the ego's hopeless striving for immortality, the epic has become a personal testimony for millions of readers in dozens of languages.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1665 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 306 pages
  • Editeur : Atria Books (11 mai 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B003P9XHZ8
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°256.031 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  174 commentaires
223 internautes sur 231 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A Decent Choice To Start 8 août 2006
Par Dave_42 - Publié sur Amazon.com
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.
170 internautes sur 183 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 Amazon.com
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!
27 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Adventures of Gilgamesh and Enkidu 29 août 2006
Par General Breadbasket - Publié sur Amazon.com
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.
24 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An Enjoyable Read 7 juillet 2005
Par S. Schisgall - Publié sur Amazon.com
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.
29 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 You can feel the wisdom and beauty on every page 9 décembre 2004
Par Morgana Darling - Publié sur Amazon.com
I was in a wine store the other day, looking for an exquisite wine. Somehow Stephen Mitchell's name came up in the conversation. Then the wine merchant told me how his life had been deeply influenced by Mitchell's translations of Rilke. He said that the essence of Rilke's work had inhabited Mitchell's translations.

So it is no wonder that Mitchell's latest offering, his translation of the ancient epic Gilgamesh, has been chosen as the Book Sense "2004 Highlight for Poetry." Harold Bloom agrees with the wine merchant about Mitchell's ability as a translator when he writes that Mitchell's Gilgamesh "is as eloquent and nuanced as his translations of Rilke."

Mitchell is that rare talent who combines scholarship and exquisite poetic sensibility in the service of a translation. His rendering of Gilgamesh expresses the soul of this most ancient of epics in all of its lyrical splendor and primordial wisdom - so much so that you can feel the beauty and the wisdom on every page.

Mitchell informs us in his introduction that Rilke wrote: "Gilgamesh is stupendous. I consider it to be one of the greatest things that could happen to a person." So when you have a work with such ancient and innate power as Gilgamesh, we are doubly fortunate when someone such as Mitchell gives us the gift of his translation. His scholarship and poetic eloquence resonate in harmony together to capture the essence of the work.

Mitchell says he was possessed by the task of the translation when in reading Gilgamesh one of its lines came to him as "Climb the stone staircase, more ancient than the mind can imagine." I am reminded of how John Fowles described the inception of The French Lieutenant's Woman as an image that came to him of a woman standing alone at the end of a misty pier. The image possessed him and eventually grew into the novel. Mitchell seems to have been equally as possessed by the invitation to climb the stone staircase and translate this most ancient work.

Some have suggested that America is the modern Babylon. Even if this isn't so, Mitchell is certainly a modern Sin-leqi-unninni (the ancient Babylonian editor/poet whose version of Gilgamesh is referred to as the Standard Version). So pick up a copy of Mitchell's new standard version of Gilgamesh, and use your eyes and ears to take in the lyrical beauty and the wisdom more ancient than your mind can imagine. Be careful though; you might wind up having your life touched as deeply as did Rilke and the wine merchant.
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