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Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse Kindle Edition
A new verse rendering of the great epic of ancient Mesopotamia, one of the oldest works in Western Literature. Ferry makes Gilgamesh available in the kind of energetic and readable translation that Robert Fitzgerald and Richard Lattimore have provided for readers in their translations of Homer and Virgil.
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"Ferry's version [of Gilgamesh will] become the standard English text." --Fred Marchant, The Harvard Review
"There have been other English accounts of this hero with a thousand descendants, but this is the first one that is as much poetry as scholarship." --Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World
"Ferry's skill brings a fresh interpretation to the power of Gilgamesh." --John Ray, The Times Literary Supplement
"Ferry's Gilgamesh is uniquely his own, self-contained in holding aloof from fads and hype. No display of adjectival fireworks could do justice to his poem's originality or to the integrity of the poet's formal invention. In identifying the poem as Mr. Ferry's, I mean no disrespect to Sin-leqe-unninni, the ancient poet-editor that Babylonian tradition credits as having developed to their highest form the epic adventures of Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, and his companion, Enkidu. But like Edward Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat or Ezra Pound's Cathay, Mr. Ferry's Gilgamesh is a miraculous transformation of his original into his own, utterly distinctive idiom . . . Perhaps the poem's most moving element is how the desire for fame is superseded, after the death of Enkidu, by a quest that touches every reader, ancient or modern. . . the wish for physical immortality . . . [Ferry's] technical genius and literary sophistication evoke not only the hero's anguish, but the rage and despair of the untouchable." --Tom Sleigh, The New York Times Book Review
"The Gilgamesh epic . . . came to light again in the mid-19th century and, thanks to the labors of an arduous, exacting philology, slowly began to assume its place as one of the great poems of the world. Hitherto, however, it has existed only in posse, waiting for a poet who could actualize it. David Ferry has performed this service, and has given us a noble poem as close to the ancient original as we in our ignorance have any right to. May his achievement quickly win the recognition it deserves." --D.S. Carne-Ross, The New Criterion--This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B00O0F3MNI
- Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First edition (11 November 2014)
- Language : English
- File size : 1819 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 110 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 615,567 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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The book tells the story of Gilgamesh, the stormy-hearted ruler of the city-state of Uruk. At the request of the people oppresed by him, Gilagemesh is given a companion, Enkidu. The two become inseparable, and have many adventures together. First they slay the Dragon Huwawa of the Cedar Forest, and make a great gate for their city. Then they kill the Bull of Heaven. This angers a Goddess Isthar, who convinces the Gods that Enkidu must die. After Enkidu's death, Gilagamesh becomes distraught, and dreads the fact that one day, he too will have to fact the same end that Enkidu did. Attempting to avoid his fate, he starts on a nearly impossible mission the meet Utnapishtim, the only immortal man, in hopes that he too might gain immortality. He is unsuccesful at getting eternal life, however so he returns home. One day he is able to talk with the spirit of Enkidu from the Netherworld, and learns that those who have many to mourn for them live the most comfortably in the Nether.
The book contains 92 pages of wellp-spaced lines of easily understandable prose, as well as an introduction at the beginning and some notes at the end. Any fluent reader will have no problem reading this book and it is very exciting and suspenseful. A tale from ancient civilizations, it contains similarities to the story of Noah and the flood from the Bible, with Utnapishtim being the "Noah" character. It is a must read for anyone who enjoys ancient stories, and a good read even for those who don't.
Third, and most elusive, most difficult, is to create a work of literary art IN ENGLISH (or whatever the target language is). Hopefully this third goal will automatically include all the most important elements of "mere translation." But, if the translator succeeeds, he will have created an independent work of art which will then take on a life of its own. The most famous example of this would probably be FitzGerald's "Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam," probably better described as a fantasy and variations on themes of Omar Khayyam. Alexander Pope's translation of Homer's "Iliad" surely has legs, still in print after all these years.
David Ferry has attempted the third goal in his translation of "Gilgamesh," and to my mind he succeeds. The result is a moving and beautiful work of literary art, and I predict a very long life for it.