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  #1  
Unread 09-25-2021, 07:58 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Default Gilgamesh

Is anybody reading John Carey's Little History of Poetry? He's got the erudition turned down as far as will it go while still remaining illuminating, which suits me just fine.

The first chapter is about Gilgamesh. I'd like to read it, but can anyone recommend a good version of it?

David
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  #2  
Unread 09-25-2021, 11:33 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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I have one or two at home. Very busy there later. If you get no other replies I will try to get back within a week or ten days. One of my favorite people in it is UtNApishtim, the Noah figure.
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Unread 09-25-2021, 12:25 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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Allen, I believe you're confusing it with Phillip Roth's The Great American Novel, which featured Gil Gamesh, a Babylonian side-arm pitcher.
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Unread 09-25-2021, 12:51 PM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Thanks Allen. Yes, Utnapishtim got a mention - "the immortal man ... who survived the great flood, in which all other humans died" - a solitary Noah, then.

Michael, I remember Gil Favor - was it Gil Favor? - from Rawhide.
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Unread 09-25-2021, 01:19 PM
W T Clark W T Clark is offline
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Thank you for reminding me of Gilgamesh, a book I've read much about, but never read.
I can't help you, sadly, David.

But "A LITTLE History of Poetry" I do remember reading, and I have to say, it seems pretty off the mark.

I read somewhere that he was aiming his book at teenagers. But from the actual contents of the book, either he is unintentionally patronising, or Carey believes that literary-minded teenagers are rather simple.
For instance, he tells us that Dante is probably unpalatable to a modern audience. Well, if you are looking for someone morally agreeable, then why are you interested in poetry? And actually, the very gruesomeness of Dante's inferno seems to me very relevant to our world.

Or, to take another example Carey rather disparagingly comments that Hart Crane's poetry deserves to be read highly quickly, with little attention paid to literal meaning. Yeah, in other words, "intellectually-demanding Modernists are crap; why do I have to include this guy? how long until I get to Larkin?" A similar thing happens with his final selection of poetry: we get Maya Angelou(!) as one of our most prominent contemporary poets. Uh, right, bye-bye Geoffrey Hill, or Barry MacSweeney, accessibility trumps all.

The book was certainly entertaining, but I can't really respect Carey's tastes.

Sorry, David, for gatecrashing your thread.

Last edited by W T Clark; 09-25-2021 at 01:27 PM.
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Unread 09-25-2021, 01:59 PM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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Gilgamesh? For a good read, without too much mumbling scholarship, Derrek Hines's version is pretty sound and cheap to get hold of.
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Unread 09-25-2021, 05:18 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Cantor View Post
Allen, I believe you're confusing it with Phillip Roth's The Great American Novel, which featured Gil Gamesh, a Babylonian side-arm pitcher.
Not likely, since my in-progress web comic updating of Gilgamesh features Flipper, the Akkadian pinball ace porpoise, and star of the search for the seaweed of long life. Even so, Roth’s take from the many cuneiform texts is a possibility that some say was very briefly favored by Samual Noah Kramer. (Talk about surname syndrome? He had mezzoname syndrome.) Flipper, by the way, is not naked in my version. Wears a shirt, has a family, and squeaks fluent Quipu.
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  #8  
Unread 09-26-2021, 12:09 PM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W T Clark View Post
Sorry, David, for gatecrashing your thread.
No worries, Cameron.

I thought it was aimed at beginners, rather than teenagers, but I know the categories will inevitably overlap.

I don't really see anything wrong with the warning about Dante. If you are coming to him, after some acquaintance with Shakespeare's much more equivocal world, the contrast can be quite a shock. (I'm not saying it's a bad thing to be shocked.) There is so much downright dogmatic certainty in Dante. It is (pace Andrew) not very appealing.

I've never read any Hart Crane, but I do like Larkin. And I've never read any Maya Angelou either, but I'm sure she will pop up in most beginning poetry-lovers' reading nowadays, so he's probably right to mention her.

And I like Geoffrey Hill (never heard of Barry MacSweeney!), but I suppose he's got to draw the line somewhere.

There was someone else I was surprised to find missing from the index, but I can't think who that was now.

David
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  #9  
Unread 09-26-2021, 12:10 PM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann Drysdale View Post
Gilgamesh? For a good read, without too much mumbling scholarship, Derrek Hines's version is pretty sound and cheap to get hold of.
Great. Thanks Ann.

David
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  #10  
Unread 09-29-2021, 06:55 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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I recently read the David Ferry translation. The couplets irritated me a little but it was fine although I am not an authority on Gilgamesh.
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