The Evolution of the Gilgamesh Epic

The Evolution of the Gilgamesh Epic

The Evolution of the Gilgamesh Epic

The Evolution of the Gilgamesh Epic

Synopsis

Special Features- Aims to show how The Gilgamesh Epic developed from its earliest to its latest form- Systematic, step-by-step tracking of the stylistic, thematic, structural, and theological changes in The Gilgamesh Epic- Relation of changes to factors (geographical, political, religious, literary) that may have prompted them- Attempts to identify the sources (biographical, historical, literary, folkloric) of the epic's themes, and to suggest what may have been intended by use of these themes- Extensive bibliography- Indices

Excerpt

The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the most significant Mesopotamian compositions discovered and reconstructed in the century and a half since the libraries of ancient Nineveh were first excavated. The Epic recounts the deeds and struggles of Gilgamesh, a king of the citystate Uruk in the land of Sumer. It is a work of adventure that grapples with issues of an existential nature, but its universal nature should neither blind us to the specific Mesopotamian cultural issues which it treats nor obfuscate the historical contexts in which it was written and in which it evolved. Drawing upon earlier Sumerian tales about Gilgamesh, the work was composed in Akkadian during the first part of the second millennium BCE and was then transmitted in changing forms for the next millennium and a half, both in Mesopotamia and in other lands of the ancient Near East. The history of the evolving work and its various literary themes is crucial for the understanding of both the work and of Near Eastern literature in general; it provides a window through which changing literary and intellectual concerns and styles in Mesopotamia and the rest of the Near East may be studied.

Hence the importance of Professor Tigay's The Evolution of the Gilgamesh Epic. It provides a much-needed detailed and comprehensive treatment of the origin of the work, of the differences between earlier and later versions, of the changes in the form of the evolving . . .

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