The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilg
Adventurers, explorers, kings, gods, and goddesses come to life in this riveting story of the first great epic--lost to the world for 2,000 years, and rediscovered in the nineteenth centuryComposed by a poet and priest in Middle Babylonia around 1200 bce, The Epic of Gilgamesh foreshadowed later... show more
Adventurers, explorers, kings, gods, and goddesses come to life in this riveting story of the first great epic--lost to the world for 2,000 years, and rediscovered in the nineteenth centuryComposed by a poet and priest in Middle Babylonia around 1200 bce, The Epic of Gilgamesh foreshadowed later stories that would become as fundamental as any in human history, The Odyssey and the Bible. But in 600 bce, the clay tablets that bore the story were lost--buried beneath ashes and ruins when the library of the wild king Ashurbanipal was sacked in a raid.The Buried Book begins with the rediscovery of the epic and its deciphering in 1872 by George Smith, a brilliant self-taught linguist who created a sensation when he discovered Gilgamesh among the thousands of tablets in the British Museum's collection. From there the story goes backward in time, all the way to Gilgamesh himself. Damrosch reveals the story as a literary bridge between East and West: a document lost in Babylonia, discovered by an Iraqi, decoded by an Englishman, and appropriated in novels by both Philip Roth and Saddam Hussein. This is an illuminating, fast-paced tale of history as it was written, stolen, lost, and--after 2,000 years, countless battles, fevered digs, conspiracies, and revelations--finally found.
Publish date: December 26th 2007
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages no: 336
Edition language: English
I should have a shelf for books about books. I love those. This is a book about a great book. I might read it.
David Damrosch has laid this book out in a very accessible manner, starting with the early archaeology days and Smith translating parts of the epic poem, to Hormuzd Rassam who discovered the ancient city of Nineveh, to the Victorian England sensationalism over the Gilgamesh flood story. I loved how ...