Archive for January 2011
If I’d been randomly choosing a place to begin an adventure through world literature, I could hardly have chosen a better outset than Gilgamesh.
Reaching all the way back to practically the dawn of civilization, the historical Gilgamesh was king of Uruk (in modern-day southern Iraq, on the Euphrates) in about 2700 BC. That’s about 5000 years ago. The epic narrative of his exploits was in development for thousands of years in the oral tradition, and was luckily recorded on clay tablets before the entire thing was lost to the sands of time. It remained lost until around 1870 AD when it was accidentally rediscovered by archaeologists.
Due to the length of this narrative, I’ll be dealing with it in segments. Today, we confront the Prologue and Part One.
The narrative begins with praise to what seems to be a bad king (I hesitate to call him evil, but he’s painted in pretty harsh colors). His people call out to the gods in their oppression, and the gods confer amongst themselves. They decide that man is not meant to be alone, and they create a soulmate for him: “…now create his equal; let it be as like him as his own reflection, his second self, stormy heart for stormy heart. Let them contend together and leave Uruk in quiet.” Read the rest of this entry »
I’d like to take a moment to describe my blog before I plunge in.
I earned my bachelor’s degree in English a while back. I’m one of those people who just can’t get rid of a book, so my old textbooks have been haunting my bookshelves for quite some time. As you probably know, you never read everything in a textbook, and sometimes, the best stuff gets left out. So that’s my challenge – to read the leftovers!
I’m planning to start with one of my (many many) volumes of the Norton Anthology and work through them. I’ve probably got enough textbooks to last for years. 🙂
First textbook post should be coming soon!