The Epic of Gligamesh
Often regarded as the earliest surviving work of literature, The Epic of Gilgamesh tells the story of the great king Gilgamesh, who can be bested by no man, and basically screws around with all the women in his kingdom. Angered by his actions, he gods create a wild man Enkidu, to fight Gilgamesh. Through a series of adventures, Enkidu becomes "civilized" and becomes best friends with Gilgamesh. Together, they embark on several adventures involving mythical beasts, feats of super human strength, and journeys of discovery. At times profound, others profane, by turns dramatic and comedic, The Epic of Gilgamesh is an enduring and influential work that continues to intrigue, inform, and inspire researchers, authors, and historians. This newest edition of the classic work even includes new discoveries from Tablet V, making it the most up to date and complete translation in the world. Kent Dixon's version of this ancient tale is actually what is called a "rendition", or a translation of other translations, but he did take pains to compare his translation to the original as much as possible. Wanting the book to be accessible to his students, as well as the average reader, the focus of this book is more on the sensory aspects as opposed to a straight retelling of the tale. There is a great effort to really show the incidental actions as well, filling out an epic story in a three dimensional way as much as possible. Kevin Dixon's artwork blends perfectly with the rendition of the tale, taking a comic influenced style and bringing a true sense of ethos to the tale. At times the story gets raunchy or gory, or intense, and the artwork expresses this excellently without wallowing in lurid exhibition. Now, this story should be reviewed before handing it off to younger readers as the Mesopotamians weren't shy about such things as sex or violence, but this is too good a work to simply write off as offensive. As far as literature works go, I can easily see this being used in Ancient Literature classes for college, as well as AP literature classes in high schools. I highly recommend this title for it's educational purposes as well as its entertainment value. This version really makes the story accessible to those who otherwise quickly tire of slogging through archaic language and vernacular.