by John J. Miller on May 31, 2010 · 1 comment

in Explore the Vault

  • Sumo

From my article in The New Criterion:

Gilgamesh has entered the record books as the world’s first known example of true literature. For most people, it remains little more than the answer to a trivia question. Maybe they once had a professor of classics who casually remarked at the beginning of the semester that something predates the Iliad. A smaller number perhaps have been made to read Gilgamesh in a college survey course. The original contains just enough sexually explicit material to keep it off most high school reading lists—though sanitized versions are readily available for kids, including a trilogy of attractive picture books by Ludmilla Zeman and a single volume for a slightly older set by Geraldine McCaughrean. Despite these impediments, a number of readers have found the experience of reading the long-lost epic revelatory. “Gilgamesh is overwhelming,” wrote Rainer Maria Rilke, “and I consider it the greatest thing one can experience.”

  • There is also a novelization of Gilgamesh by Robert Silverberg.

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