Discussion:
The New Yorker: "Rediscovering the Lost Power of Reading Aloud"
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l***@yahoo.com
2020-01-24 00:53:25 UTC
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Actually, it's from Meghan Cox Gurdon's recent book: "The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud In the Age of Distraction."

Charming!

https://lithub.com/rediscovering-the-lost-power-of-reading-aloud/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

Excerpt:

...Like a person today who picks up a novel and reads out loud, rhapsodes were in the business of transmitting, not inventing. The opening words of The Odyssey—“Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story”—make this clear: The storyteller is acknowledging at the start that the tale he tells is not his own, and that he hopes for divine assistance in telling it well. You or I may not take such precautions when we open a storybook and read the words, but, like a rhapsode, we too are serving as a kind of artistic medium. We are drawing upon a story not of our own creation, and the story travels through us—through the concentration of our faculties, the inflection of our voices, the warmth and presence of our bodies—to reach the listener.

It is a marvelous thing: simple, profound, and very, very ancient. What Salman Rushdie calls “the liquid tapestry” of storytelling is one of the great human universals. So far as we can tell, starting in Paleolithic times, in every place where there are or have been people, there has been narrative. Here is Gilgamesh, the Sumerian epic recorded on clay tablets in cuneiform script 1,500 years before Homer. Here are the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, vast Sanskrit poems dating from the 9th and 8th centuries BC. Here too is the thousand-year-old Anglo-Saxon legend Beowulf, the Icelandic Völsunga saga, the Malian epic Sundiata, the Welsh Mabinogion, the Persian, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian ferment of The Thousand and One Nights, and the 19th-century Finnish and Karelian epic the Kalevala. This list is necessarily partial....

(snip)



Lenona.
D B Davis
2020-01-24 04:23:36 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud In the Age of Distraction."
Charming!
https://lithub.com/rediscovering-the-lost-power-of-reading-aloud/?utm_source=pocket-newtab
...Like a person today who picks up a novel and reads out loud, rhapsodes
were in the business of transmitting, not inventing. The opening words of
The Odyssey-"Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story"-make this
clear: The storyteller is acknowledging at the start that the tale he
tells is not his own, and that he hopes for divine assistance in telling
it well. You or I may not take such precautions when we open a storybook
and read the words, but, like a rhapsode, we too are serving as a kind of
artistic medium. We are drawing upon a story not of our own creation, and
the story travels through us-through the concentration of our faculties,
the inflection of our voices, the warmth and presence of our bodies-to
reach the listener.
It is a marvelous thing: simple, profound, and very, very ancient. What
Salman Rushdie calls "the liquid tapestry" of storytelling is one of the
great human universals. So far as we can tell, starting in Paleolithic
times, in every place where there are or have been people, there has been
narrative. Here is Gilgamesh, the Sumerian epic recorded on clay tablets
in cuneiform script 1,500 years before Homer. Here are the Mahabharata
and the Ramayana, vast Sanskrit poems dating from the 9th and 8th centuries
BC. Here too is the thousand-year-old Anglo-Saxon legend Beowulf, the
Icelandic Völsunga saga, the Malian epic Sundiata, the Welsh Mabinogion,
the Persian, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian ferment of The Thousand and One
Nights, and the 19th-century Finnish and Karelian epic the Kalevala. This
list is necessarily partial....
(snip)
Of the stories mentioned, _Beowulf_'s my first choice as a classic to
commit to memory, if need be. _Fahrenheit 415_ (Bradbury) believes that
everyone carries the innate ability to commit a story to memory:

"Montag." Granger took Montag's shoulder firmly. "Walk
carefully. Guard your health. If anything should happen to
Harris, you are the Book of Ecclesiastes. See how important
you've become in the last minute!"
"But I've forgotten!"
"No, nothing's ever lost. We have ways to shake down
your clinkers for you."
"But I've tried to remember!"
"Don't try. It'll come when we need it. All of us have
photographic memories, but spend a lifetime learning how
to block off the things that are really in there. Simmons
here has worked on it for twenty years and now we've got
the method down to wherewe can recall anything that's been
read once. Would you like, some day, Montag, to read Plato's
Republic?"
"Of course!"
"I am Plato's Republic. Like to read Marcus Aurelius?
Mr. Simmons is Marcus."

"Everyone Can Be a Book Reviewer. Should They Be?" (Chong) [1] was my
serendipitous discovery at the _Literary Hub_ website. Chong's essay
speaks to me and my reviews.

Note.

[1] https://lithub.com/everyone-can-be-a-book-reviewer-should-they-be/



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Lynn McGuire
2020-01-24 21:20:55 UTC
Reply
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Post by D B Davis
Post by l***@yahoo.com
The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud In the Age of Distraction."
Charming!
https://lithub.com/rediscovering-the-lost-power-of-reading-aloud/?utm_source=pocket-newtab
...Like a person today who picks up a novel and reads out loud, rhapsodes
were in the business of transmitting, not inventing. The opening words of
The Odyssey-"Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story"-make this
clear: The storyteller is acknowledging at the start that the tale he
tells is not his own, and that he hopes for divine assistance in telling
it well. You or I may not take such precautions when we open a storybook
and read the words, but, like a rhapsode, we too are serving as a kind of
artistic medium. We are drawing upon a story not of our own creation, and
the story travels through us-through the concentration of our faculties,
the inflection of our voices, the warmth and presence of our bodies-to
reach the listener.
It is a marvelous thing: simple, profound, and very, very ancient. What
Salman Rushdie calls "the liquid tapestry" of storytelling is one of the
great human universals. So far as we can tell, starting in Paleolithic
times, in every place where there are or have been people, there has been
narrative. Here is Gilgamesh, the Sumerian epic recorded on clay tablets
in cuneiform script 1,500 years before Homer. Here are the Mahabharata
and the Ramayana, vast Sanskrit poems dating from the 9th and 8th centuries
BC. Here too is the thousand-year-old Anglo-Saxon legend Beowulf, the
Icelandic Völsunga saga, the Malian epic Sundiata, the Welsh Mabinogion,
the Persian, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian ferment of The Thousand and One
Nights, and the 19th-century Finnish and Karelian epic the Kalevala. This
list is necessarily partial....
(snip)
Of the stories mentioned, _Beowulf_'s my first choice as a classic to
commit to memory, if need be. _Fahrenheit 415_ (Bradbury) believes that
"Montag." Granger took Montag's shoulder firmly. "Walk
carefully. Guard your health. If anything should happen to
Harris, you are the Book of Ecclesiastes. See how important
you've become in the last minute!"
"But I've forgotten!"
"No, nothing's ever lost. We have ways to shake down
your clinkers for you."
"But I've tried to remember!"
"Don't try. It'll come when we need it. All of us have
photographic memories, but spend a lifetime learning how
to block off the things that are really in there. Simmons
here has worked on it for twenty years and now we've got
the method down to wherewe can recall anything that's been
read once. Would you like, some day, Montag, to read Plato's
Republic?"
"Of course!"
"I am Plato's Republic. Like to read Marcus Aurelius?
Mr. Simmons is Marcus."
"Everyone Can Be a Book Reviewer. Should They Be?" (Chong) [1] was my
serendipitous discovery at the _Literary Hub_ website. Chong's essay
speaks to me and my reviews.
Note.
[1] https://lithub.com/everyone-can-be-a-book-reviewer-should-they-be/

Thank you,
Hey, I resemble that book reviewer article. I now have 787 reviews on
Big River (Amazon) of which 90% are books.

Lynn
D B Davis
2020-01-24 23:27:30 UTC
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<snip>
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by D B Davis
"Everyone Can Be a Book Reviewer. Should They Be?" (Chong) [1] was my
serendipitous discovery at the _Literary Hub_ website. Chong's essay
speaks to me and my reviews.
Note.
[1] https://lithub.com/everyone-can-be-a-book-reviewer-should-they-be/
Hey, I resemble that book reviewer article. I now have 787 reviews on
Big River (Amazon) of which 90% are books.
goodreads is my book review website of choice. Readers seem most honest
with their negative reviews, so sometimes a "False Negative" methodology
works best to separate the worthy from the stinkers. A False Negative
occurs when a reviewer hates those story elements that appeal to me.



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Paul S Person
2020-01-25 18:07:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
<snip>
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by D B Davis
"Everyone Can Be a Book Reviewer. Should They Be?" (Chong) [1] was my
serendipitous discovery at the _Literary Hub_ website. Chong's essay
speaks to me and my reviews.
Note.
[1] https://lithub.com/everyone-can-be-a-book-reviewer-should-they-be/
Hey, I resemble that book reviewer article. I now have 787 reviews on
Big River (Amazon) of which 90% are books.
goodreads is my book review website of choice. Readers seem most honest
with their negative reviews, so sometimes a "False Negative" methodology
works best to separate the worthy from the stinkers. A False Negative
occurs when a reviewer hates those story elements that appeal to me.
Back when I relied on newspaper movie reviews to decide what film(s)
to see on my periodic week off, I found the most reliable ones to be
those who hated the films I loved.
--
"I begin to envy Petronius."
"I have envied him long since."
D B Davis
2020-01-25 19:46:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Paul S Person
Post by D B Davis
<snip>
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by D B Davis
"Everyone Can Be a Book Reviewer. Should They Be?" (Chong) [1] was my
serendipitous discovery at the _Literary Hub_ website. Chong's essay
speaks to me and my reviews.
Note.
[1] https://lithub.com/everyone-can-be-a-book-reviewer-should-they-be/
Hey, I resemble that book reviewer article. I now have 787 reviews on
Big River (Amazon) of which 90% are books.
goodreads is my book review website of choice. Readers seem most honest
with their negative reviews, so sometimes a "False Negative" methodology
works best to separate the worthy from the stinkers. A False Negative
occurs when a reviewer hates those story elements that appeal to me.
Back when I relied on newspaper movie reviews to decide what film(s)
to see on my periodic week off, I found the most reliable ones to be
those who hated the films I loved.
"A Reminder That Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats Is Garbage on Stage or Screen"
(Friswold) [1] is a typical false negative. Friswold's review first saw
the light of day in the _Riverfront Times_, a St Louis magazine.
_Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats_ (Eliot) serves as the source
for the musical _Cats_. Eliot was born and raised in St Louis.
Friswold's distinct lack of loyalty or deference towards a native son is
dismaying. Friswold's potentially purple prose peppered with ribaldry
only makes matters worse.
Be that as it may, Friswold is a mixed bag, who also possesses
redeeming qualities. Friswold brought "The Toynbee Convector" (Bradbury)
to my attention. [2] A fellow fan of Bradbury can't be all bad.
See? That's how loyalty works.

Note.

[1] https://www.riverfronttimes.com/artsblog/2019/12/19/a-reminder-that-andrew-lloyd-webbers-cats-is-garbage-on-stage-or-screen
[2] https://store.subbooks.com/paul-friswold



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
J. Clarke
2020-01-25 23:55:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by D B Davis
Post by Paul S Person
Post by D B Davis
<snip>
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by D B Davis
"Everyone Can Be a Book Reviewer. Should They Be?" (Chong) [1] was my
serendipitous discovery at the _Literary Hub_ website. Chong's essay
speaks to me and my reviews.
Note.
[1] https://lithub.com/everyone-can-be-a-book-reviewer-should-they-be/
Hey, I resemble that book reviewer article. I now have 787 reviews on
Big River (Amazon) of which 90% are books.
goodreads is my book review website of choice. Readers seem most honest
with their negative reviews, so sometimes a "False Negative" methodology
works best to separate the worthy from the stinkers. A False Negative
occurs when a reviewer hates those story elements that appeal to me.
Back when I relied on newspaper movie reviews to decide what film(s)
to see on my periodic week off, I found the most reliable ones to be
those who hated the films I loved.
"A Reminder That Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats Is Garbage on Stage or Screen"
(Friswold) [1] is a typical false negative. Friswold's review first saw
the light of day in the _Riverfront Times_, a St Louis magazine.
I haven't seen it on stage, but on screen while it had its moments
there was something missing. I expected to be wowed and I wasn't.
Post by D B Davis
_Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats_ (Eliot) serves as the source
for the musical _Cats_. Eliot was born and raised in St Louis.
Friswold's distinct lack of loyalty or deference towards a native son is
dismaying. Friswold's potentially purple prose peppered with ribaldry
only makes matters worse.
Be that as it may, Friswold is a mixed bag, who also possesses
redeeming qualities. Friswold brought "The Toynbee Convector" (Bradbury)
to my attention. [2] A fellow fan of Bradbury can't be all bad.
See? That's how loyalty works.
Note.
[1] https://www.riverfronttimes.com/artsblog/2019/12/19/a-reminder-that-andrew-lloyd-webbers-cats-is-garbage-on-stage-or-screen
[2] https://store.subbooks.com/paul-friswold
?
Thank you,
D B Davis
2020-01-26 00:27:56 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
Post by D B Davis
Post by Paul S Person
Post by D B Davis
<snip>
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by D B Davis
"Everyone Can Be a Book Reviewer. Should They Be?" (Chong) [1] was my
serendipitous discovery at the _Literary Hub_ website. Chong's essay
speaks to me and my reviews.
Note.
[1] https://lithub.com/everyone-can-be-a-book-reviewer-should-they-be/
Hey, I resemble that book reviewer article. I now have 787 reviews on
Big River (Amazon) of which 90% are books.
goodreads is my book review website of choice. Readers seem most honest
with their negative reviews, so sometimes a "False Negative" methodology
works best to separate the worthy from the stinkers. A False Negative
occurs when a reviewer hates those story elements that appeal to me.
Back when I relied on newspaper movie reviews to decide what film(s)
to see on my periodic week off, I found the most reliable ones to be
those who hated the films I loved.
"A Reminder That Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats Is Garbage on Stage or Screen"
(Friswold) [1] is a typical false negative. Friswold's review first saw
the light of day in the _Riverfront Times_, a St Louis magazine.
I haven't seen it on stage, but on screen while it had its moments
there was something missing. I expected to be wowed and I wasn't.
A false negative for me, but not for thee.

This nuanced _Mortal Fear_ (Cook) critic dams with faint praise because
he knows that mere words can not dissuade true fans, such as me:

"A top-grade placebo thriller that for all its inanities
offers a swift and entertaining read certain to please
Cook's huge following."

Forry Ackerman's _PR_ publishes critical voices as comic relief.



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Paul S Person
2020-01-26 18:14:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Sat, 25 Jan 2020 18:55:23 -0500, J. Clarke
<snippo>
Post by J. Clarke
Post by D B Davis
"A Reminder That Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats Is Garbage on Stage or Screen"
(Friswold) [1] is a typical false negative. Friswold's review first saw
the light of day in the _Riverfront Times_, a St Louis magazine.
I haven't seen it on stage, but on screen while it had its moments
there was something missing. I expected to be wowed and I wasn't.
The VHS had a dream sequence involving pirates and a hero who turned
out to -- run for his life, abandoning his sweetie.

The DVD omits that but includes a fight between dogs that, frankly, I
could live without. And why not? It's not on the CD! (The CD is the
same as the LP set, and I suspect the cuts were to fit it onto 2 LPs.)

I may have to live with it, though: the recent film didn't do well. I
haven't seen it yet, but still ...

One of the joys of live theater is that different productions are
/different/. Indeed, depending on the cast, different performances can
be different (if only a little bit). But it is still disconcerting to
find this carried over to video.

I dropped the 1998 /Jesus Christ Superstar/ (removed it from my
collection) because the theatrical film was far better.

I dropped the theatrical film of /Phantom of the Opera/ (removed it
from my collection) when I got the Albert Hall version, for I found
that far more complete and quite well done.

It can take awhile, but sometimes a Lloyd-Webber musical makes it to
video in good form.
--
"I begin to envy Petronius."
"I have envied him long since."
Robert Carnegie
2020-01-26 21:16:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Paul S Person
On Sat, 25 Jan 2020 18:55:23 -0500, J. Clarke
<snippo>
Post by J. Clarke
Post by D B Davis
"A Reminder That Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats Is Garbage on Stage or Screen"
(Friswold) [1] is a typical false negative. Friswold's review first saw
the light of day in the _Riverfront Times_, a St Louis magazine.
I haven't seen it on stage, but on screen while it had its moments
there was something missing. I expected to be wowed and I wasn't.
The VHS had a dream sequence involving pirates and a hero who turned
out to -- run for his life, abandoning his sweetie.
The DVD omits that but includes a fight between dogs that, frankly, I
could live without. And why not? It's not on the CD! (The CD is the
same as the LP set, and I suspect the cuts were to fit it onto 2 LPs.)
I may have to live with it, though: the recent film didn't do well. I
haven't seen it yet, but still ...
I haven't seen any of these but I have read this
presumed source for the pirate bit:
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growltiger%27s_Last_Stand>

Except that in text and in the show described, it's the
lady pirate who deserts. Interesting - and historically
authentic - that a pirate queen is expected to be as brave
as a male. Wikipedia says T. S. Eliot entertained his
godchildren with these cat poems in the 1930s and then
published them; I wonder which thought came first and
what audience was intended. One or more brave little
girl pirates is what I'm considering.

It also seems that the episode was cut out with the racial
treatment of the enemy Siamese as a significant factor;
also described.

The poem seems to be linked to, but is probably in
copyright where the term is "life plus seventy years".
James Nicoll
2020-01-25 18:34:57 UTC
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Post by D B Davis
goodreads is my book review website of choice. Readers seem most honest
with their negative reviews
Except when there's a coordinated campaign on to tank an author's upcoming
book, in which case anything goes including identity theft.

https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/category/goodreads/
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My tor pieces at https://www.tor.com/author/james-davis-nicoll/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-01-25 19:24:13 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by James Nicoll
Post by D B Davis
goodreads is my book review website of choice. Readers seem most honest
with their negative reviews
Except when there's a coordinated campaign on to tank an author's upcoming
book, in which case anything goes including identity theft.
https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/category/goodreads/
Dear me.

I'm not in the habit of looking at Goodreads; perhaps this is a
reason to continue not to.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
D B Davis
2020-01-25 19:46:28 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by James Nicoll
Post by D B Davis
goodreads is my book review website of choice. Readers seem most honest
with their negative reviews
Except when there's a coordinated campaign on to tank an author's upcoming
book, in which case anything goes including identity theft.
https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/category/goodreads/
Au contraire, this proves my point. A negative review fails to sate
hate so the haters amp up their hatred to destroy the object of their
hate at any and all cost. Their hate is pure; it's ironically honest
hatred manifested in a most twisted, perverse way.
This also illustrates how the Inet demands critical thinking at all
times. People set themselves up for failure when they try to plug and
chug answers with only a quick peek at goodreads.



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Lynn McGuire
2020-01-25 19:57:42 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by James Nicoll
Post by D B Davis
goodreads is my book review website of choice. Readers seem most honest
with their negative reviews
Except when there's a coordinated campaign on to tank an author's upcoming
book, in which case anything goes including identity theft.
https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/category/goodreads/
That is incredibly sad. The amount of fraud going on out in the wild is
simply amazing.

Lynn
D B Davis
2020-01-25 20:58:49 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by D B Davis
goodreads is my book review website of choice. Readers seem most honest
with their negative reviews
Except when there's a coordinated campaign on to tank an author's upcoming
book, in which case anything goes including identity theft.
https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/category/goodreads/
That is incredibly sad. The amount of fraud going on out in the wild is
simply amazing.
In the bad old days they told me that there's "no such thing as bad
publicity." Unless they lied to me, then perhaps it remains true today.
"Forbidden fruit" possesses a powerful pull:

[Hitchcock has handed round very graphic photos of Ed Gein's
victims at the press launch of the Psycho project]

Whitfield Cook : I've seen happier faces on a school bus
going over a cliff.

Alfred Hitchcock : But they can't stop looking, can they?

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0975645/characters/nm0396812



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Joe Bernstein
2020-01-27 02:29:33 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Actually, it's from Meghan Cox Gurdon's recent book: "The Enchanted
Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud In the Age of
Distraction."
[stuff about oral tradition]
Post by l***@yahoo.com
So far as we can tell, starting in
Paleolithic times, in every place where there are or have been people,
there has been narrative.
On first reading, I convinced myself this was still talking
specifically about oral tradition, and went on a rant. Then while
re-reading before posting discovered my mistake and abandoned the
post. Problem is, that left the thing that set me off in the first
place untouched: Gurdon, or Cox Gurdon, often includes unnecessary
details, *and gets them wrong* - often chronological ones.

Homo sapiens sapiens started in Palaeolithic times, and the most
restrictive definition of "people" she's likely to mean would be
satisfied by that. But I don't know of any convincing argument that
what remains of Palaeolithic human culture proves they had narratives.
It's probable, of course, but the conjunction of "So far as we can
tell" with "starting in Paleolithic times" implies that we *know*
Palaeolithic humans had narrative. We only know that if we beg the
question, if we assume what she's ostensibly trying to prove.

Next the worst example, the specific one that convinced me this
author is an untrustworthy source.
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Here is Gilgamesh, the Sumerian epic
recorded on clay tablets in cuneiform script 1,500 years before Homer.
Um, no.

We have six short texts in Sumerian that tell stories about a king
who may well be historical, whose name is usually Englished Gilgamesh.
They aren't usually translated as poetry, but I'm not sure how sure
scholars are whether something in Sumerian is poetry or prose. They
get called "epic" by courtesy because of their connections to later
undeniably epic poems. We usually pretend that they date to around
2300 BC or so, which is indeed 1500 years before Homer, because we
don't know much about their actual dates (they come mostly from badly
conducted excavations, and separately things in cuneiform can be and
often are centuries older than the tablets that preserve them).

Some of these texts became sources for what may be a single poem from
around 1800 BC or so, ?the Old Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh. This is
not in Sumerian but in an unrelated language called Akkadian, the
Babylonian dialect thereof. We have something like a third to a half
of this work, if it's a single work. NB Akkadian poetry always
worked by parallelism.

Sometime later - 1400, 1200, still half a millennium before Homer - a
guy named Sin-leqe-unnini revised this into the twelve-tablet version
usually translated as the (Standard Babylonian) Epic of Gilgamesh.
In those times the old tendency toward parallelism hardened into
outright repetition - scribes had figured out ways to make things
easier in such a case, so they elevated this kind of repetition into
an aesthetic value. Sin-leqe-unnini was rather conservative, not au
courant with this trend, but the SB version of <Gilgamesh> still
reads worse than the OB. It is, however, much better preserved.
Translations today usually use the SB where it can be had, and fill
gaps in it with the OB where possible.

There is no one Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh 1500 years before Homer;
there are six mini-epics, *if* scholarly assumptions about their
dates are correct. The epic of Gilgamesh you can buy in bookstores
is mostly a Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh 500 years before Homer.
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Here are the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, vast Sanskrit poems dating
from the 9th and 8th centuries BC.
The dates of the <Mahabharata> and the <Ramayana> are usually fudged
like Sumerian dates, but I know of no evidence that they were already
"vast" in the 800s and 700s BC. (English Wikipedia claims that
events narrated in the <Mahabharata> could have *happened* in those
centuries, and says its composition spanned 300 BC to AD 300.) Also
the MB is much "vast"er than the <Ramayana>.
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Here too is the thousand-year-old
Anglo-Saxon legend Beowulf,
This is pretty close to the actual age of the surviving manuscript.
The work itself may be significantly older, but credit where it's due,
she used one entirely defensible date.
Post by l***@yahoo.com
and the
19th-century Finnish and Karelian epic the Kalevala.
If she's emphatically *not* talking about oral tradition, this date
is fine - the author Elias Lönnrot lived 1802-1884. But to the
extent that oral tradition is really what she cares about, it becomes
more problematic.
Post by l***@yahoo.com
This list is
necessarily partial....
I tend to react very negatively to lists like this early in a work
about literature, because I usually see them deployed to convince the
reader that the critic's ideas actually account for all of literature,
even though those ideas turn out only to be conceived of in relation
to, and tested on, only a small part of the field. So I see in this
closing line annoying false modesty. YMMV.

Anyhow, the author didn't deserve my original rant, but did make at
least one embarrassing mistake, and maybe more.

Joe Bernstein
--
Joe Bernstein <***@gmail.com>
Kevrob
2020-01-27 06:59:19 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
There is no one Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh 1500 years before Homer;
there are six mini-epics, *if* scholarly assumptions about their
dates are correct.
A 6-part miniseries!

Kevin R
Peter Trei
2020-01-27 13:57:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Bernstein
There is no one Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh 1500 years before Homer;
there are six mini-epics, *if* scholarly assumptions about their
dates are correct.
A 6-part miniseries!
It has power politics, buddy plots, seduction, sex, road trips, ocean adventure,
and a quest for immortality. I think it's doable.

Pt
Peter Trei
2020-01-27 13:58:36 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Trei
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Bernstein
There is no one Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh 1500 years before Homer;
there are six mini-epics, *if* scholarly assumptions about their
dates are correct.
A 6-part miniseries!
It has power politics, buddy plots, seduction, sex, road trips, ocean adventure,
and a quest for immortality. I think it's doable.
Pt
...plus global disaster. How could I skip that?
Joe Bernstein
2020-01-28 20:26:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Trei
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Bernstein
There is no one Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh 1500 years before Homer;
there are six mini-epics, *if* scholarly assumptions about their
dates are correct.
A 6-part miniseries!
It has power politics, buddy plots, seduction, sex, road trips, ocean
adventure, and a quest for immortality. I think it's doable.
A TV show based on the Standard Babylonian <Gilgamesh> ? Sure.

On the Sumerian stories? Not so much. You can judge for yourselves:

<http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=c.1.8.1*#>

There's power politics in story 1, "Gilgamesh and Akka". I don't see
a buddy plot - that seems to begin with the Old Babylonian version -
but Gilgamesh does mourn his "slave" Enkidu in story 4, "Gilgamesh,
Enkidu and the Netherworld". Gilgamesh interacts with Inanna in
story 2, "Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven", and in story 4, but none
of this gets anywhere near sex or seduction; again, see the Old
Babylonian version. Road trip, definitely - story 5, either version,
"Gilgamesh and Humbaba". Ocean adventure? Well, I cheated, saying
there's a sixth story and there are twelve tablets of the Standard
Babylonian version. SB XII is a translation of story 4 that doesn't
really fit with the rest of the SB version. And the only way I can
get six Sumerian stories is by including the Sumerian flood story:

<http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=t.1.7.4#>

which doesn't refer to Gilgamesh at all, but is the ultimate source
for SB XI, by way of:

<https://geha.paginas.ufsc.br/files/2017/04/Atrahasis.pdf>
(the Akkadian myth of <Atrahasis>; probably a copyright violation)

Gilgamesh's quest for immortality also seems to be new in the Old
Babylonian version; his desire for immortal fame, as a substitute for
true immortality, motivates story 5, while story 3, not used in the
later epics, depicts his death.

Aside from all that, Sumerian stories are ... just weird. I find it
very helpful to imagine many of them as narration to accompany ritual
activities with literal idols. I'd thought the Gilgamesh stories
exceptions, but looking at them in the ETCSL versions, which tend to
accentuate the weirdness, they fit right in with my memory of other
Sumerian works. Don't be at all surprised if those stories just
completely throw you.

The ETCSL translations are reasonably up to date - made in the 1990s
and 2000s. This matters because a) understanding of these languages
improves year by year - Akkadian was first translated in 1851,
Sumerian apparently in 1871; and b) we keep finding additional copies
of the works in question, filling in gaps. The <Atrahasis> I pointed
to is from 1989. As for the Akkadian <Gilgamesh> ? I found three
serious and relatively recent translations online without visiting
dangerous sites, and pleasingly, the most recent is also probably
legal. This is Benjamin Foster's 2001 version, borrowable from the
Internet Archive:

<https://archive.org/details/isbn_9780393975161>

Maureen Gallery Kovacs's 1989 translation is all over the place,
including a version at the Archive, probably nowhere legally:

<https://web.archive.org/web/20140515171700/http://king-of-heroes.co.uk/the-epic-of-gilgamesh/maureen-gallery-kovacs-translation/>

N, K. Sandars's 1960 version (possibly in a revised edition) is also
borrowable from the Archive:

<https://archive.org/details/epicofgilgamesh00anon>

as well as unlawfully many places online (including an Archive URL
similar to the one I gave for Kovacs).

In print, I think Andrew George's <Gilgamesh> is your best bet. He
did a magisterial two-volume edition, including the Sumerian stories,
separate translations of the Babylonian versions, and even the
Hittite fragments, in 2003. He'd already published a 1999
translation-only version; I've seen a Penguin edition of that, dated
2004, which had a couple of sentences newly discovered since his big
edition. For <Atrahasis>, I know of nothing more recent than the
collections of Akkadian works in translation: Benjamin Foster's
<Before the Muses> (first edition 1993; third 2005; enormous but
doesn't include <Gilgamesh>) and Stephanie Dalley's <Myths from
Mesopotamia> (first 1989 - source of above URL; second 2000; much
shorter but does include <Gilgamesh>). Both are still living and
could produce further editions; a new edition of Foster's <Gilgamesh>
is from 2018, and may perhaps have more of the text than George's.

Joe Bernstein
--
Joe Bernstein <***@gmail.com>
Kevrob
2020-01-28 21:05:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
Post by Peter Trei
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Bernstein
There is no one Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh 1500 years before Homer;
there are six mini-epics, *if* scholarly assumptions about their
dates are correct.
A 6-part miniseries!
It has power politics, buddy plots, seduction, sex, road trips, ocean
adventure, and a quest for immortality. I think it's doable.
A TV show based on the Standard Babylonian <Gilgamesh> ? Sure.
I was originally thinking of a comics mini-series, but give
it the HBO/AMC/Amazon treatment? Sure.

Then there's this, soon to be on screen:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forgotten_One_(comics)

Hey! There's a webcomic!

http://studygroupcomics.com/main/the-epic-of-gilgamesh-part-1-by-kinoko-evans/
Post by Joe Bernstein
<http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=c.1.8.1*#>
There's power politics in story 1, "Gilgamesh and Akka".....
[snip]
Post by Joe Bernstein
And the only way I can get six Sumerian stories is by
<http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=t.1.7.4#>
which doesn't refer to Gilgamesh at all, but is the ultimate source
<https://geha.paginas.ufsc.br/files/2017/04/Atrahasis.pdf>
(the Akkadian myth of <Atrahasis>; probably a copyright violation)
Gilgamesh's quest for immortality also seems to be new in the Old
Babylonian version;....
[snip]
Post by Joe Bernstein
This is Benjamin Foster's 2001 version, borrowable from the
<https://archive.org/details/isbn_9780393975161>
Maureen Gallery Kovacs's 1989 translation is all over the place,
<https://web.archive.org/web/20140515171700/http://king-of-heroes.co.uk/the-epic-of-gilgamesh/maureen-gallery-kovacs-translation/>
N, K. Sandars's 1960 version (possibly in a revised edition) is also
<https://archive.org/details/epicofgilgamesh00anon>
as well as unlawfully many places online (including an Archive URL
similar to the one I gave for Kovacs).
In print, I think Andrew George's <Gilgamesh> is your best bet.
[snip\
Post by Joe Bernstein
.......Both are still living and
could produce further editions; a new edition of Foster's <Gilgamesh>
is from 2018, and may perhaps have more of the text than George's.
--
Kevin R
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-01-28 22:24:21 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
There's power politics in story 1, "Gilgamesh and Akka". I don't see
a buddy plot - that seems to begin with the Old Babylonian version -
but Gilgamesh does mourn his "slave" Enkidu in story 4, "Gilgamesh,
Enkidu and the Netherworld". Gilgamesh interacts with Inanna in
story 2, "Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven", and in story 4, but none
of this gets anywhere near sex or seduction;
You are telling me that Gilgamesh gets together with Inanna
*twice* and there's no sex? I thought sex was what she was the
goddess of. Was she off her form?
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
Joe Bernstein
2020-01-29 18:54:34 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Joe Bernstein
There's power politics in story 1, "Gilgamesh and Akka". I don't see
a buddy plot - that seems to begin with the Old Babylonian version -
but Gilgamesh does mourn his "slave" Enkidu in story 4, "Gilgamesh,
Enkidu and the Netherworld". Gilgamesh interacts with Inanna in
story 2, "Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven", and in story 4, but none
of this gets anywhere near sex or seduction;
You are telling me that Gilgamesh gets together with Inanna
*twice* and there's no sex? I thought sex was what she was the
goddess of. Was she off her form?
Well, maybe the rituals those stories were in aid of were public
rituals kids could watch.

Or maybe I just don't understand the stories. This is actually pretty
much a given with Sumerian stories in general. But I didn't see
anything that *suggested* sex.

-- JLB
Paul S Person
2020-01-30 18:27:35 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Wed, 29 Jan 2020 18:54:34 -0000 (UTC), Joe Bernstein
Post by Joe Bernstein
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Joe Bernstein
There's power politics in story 1, "Gilgamesh and Akka". I don't see
a buddy plot - that seems to begin with the Old Babylonian version -
but Gilgamesh does mourn his "slave" Enkidu in story 4, "Gilgamesh,
Enkidu and the Netherworld". Gilgamesh interacts with Inanna in
story 2, "Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven", and in story 4, but none
of this gets anywhere near sex or seduction;
You are telling me that Gilgamesh gets together with Inanna
*twice* and there's no sex? I thought sex was what she was the
goddess of. Was she off her form?
Well, maybe the rituals those stories were in aid of were public
rituals kids could watch.
Or maybe I just don't understand the stories. This is actually pretty
much a given with Sumerian stories in general. But I didn't see
anything that *suggested* sex.
If you read them in translation and the translation was old enough,
they may have been ... bowdlerized.

But, IIRC what you have said before, that does not seem to be the case
here.
--
"I begin to envy Petronius."
"I have envied him long since."
Joe Bernstein
2020-01-30 17:43:29 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Thought of a different answer.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Joe Bernstein
Gilgamesh interacts with Inanna in
story 2, "Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven", and in story 4, but none
of this gets anywhere near sex or seduction;
You are telling me that Gilgamesh gets together with Inanna
*twice* and there's no sex? I thought sex was what she was the
goddess of. Was she off her form?
Yeah, they say that, down to Eridu. The men of Eridu, they do say
Inanna is the Goddess of Fucking.

Now, we know better. We know She's *our* Goddess. We could say back,
oh, that Enki is the God of Fishing, but our king, our great king,
*he* says we have to be maga nana - He says we have to be bigger than
those we conquer. Damn straight we're bigger!

And, see, I have a theory. I figure the *reason* they say that, down
to Eridu, is that come every summer's fighting, with Her as our
patron, why, we go down to Eridu, and we fuck those men of Eridu
clear into next Sunday. So that's why they say She's the Goddess of
that.

Now, our king, our great king, he says we have to be nice to y'all
from Eridu, he says we should respect the conquered. So, woman of
Eridu, I'll just ask you nicely to come along with me. I think our
king will want to talk with you. He'll want to show you our walls.

-- JLB
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-01-30 19:34:17 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
Thought of a different answer.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Joe Bernstein
Gilgamesh interacts with Inanna in
story 2, "Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven", and in story 4, but none
of this gets anywhere near sex or seduction;
You are telling me that Gilgamesh gets together with Inanna
*twice* and there's no sex? I thought sex was what she was the
goddess of. Was she off her form?
Yeah, they say that, down to Eridu. The men of Eridu, they do say
Inanna is the Goddess of Fucking.
Now, we know better. We know She's *our* Goddess. We could say back,
oh, that Enki is the God of Fishing, but our king, our great king,
*he* says we have to be maga nana - He says we have to be bigger than
those we conquer. Damn straight we're bigger!
And, see, I have a theory. I figure the *reason* they say that, down
to Eridu, is that come every summer's fighting, with Her as our
patron, why, we go down to Eridu, and we fuck those men of Eridu
clear into next Sunday. So that's why they say She's the Goddess of
that.
Now, our king, our great king, he says we have to be nice to y'all
from Eridu, he says we should respect the conquered. So, woman of
Eridu, I'll just ask you nicely to come along with me. I think our
king will want to talk with you. He'll want to show you our walls.
Whaddaya mean, WE, Eriduvian man??
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
Joe Bernstein
2020-01-30 20:47:46 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Joe Bernstein
Thought of a different answer.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Joe Bernstein
Gilgamesh interacts with Inanna in
story 2, "Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven", and in story 4, but none
of this gets anywhere near sex or seduction;
You are telling me that Gilgamesh gets together with Inanna
*twice* and there's no sex? I thought sex was what she was the
goddess of. Was she off her form?
Yeah, they say that, down to Eridu. The men of Eridu, they do say
Inanna is the Goddess of Fucking.
Now, we know better. We know She's *our* Goddess. We could say back,
oh, that Enki is the God of Fishing, but our king, our great king,
*he* says we have to be maga nana - He says we have to be bigger than
those we conquer. Damn straight we're bigger!
And, see, I have a theory. I figure the *reason* they say that, down
to Eridu, is that come every summer's fighting, with Her as our
patron, why, we go down to Eridu, and we fuck those men of Eridu
clear into next Sunday. So that's why they say She's the Goddess of
that.
Now, our king, our great king, he says we have to be nice to y'all
from Eridu, he says we should respect the conquered. So, woman of
Eridu, I'll just ask you nicely to come along with me. I think our
king will want to talk with you. He'll want to show you our walls.
Whaddaya mean, WE, Eriduvian man??
Hey! Insult my Goddess, that's bad enough, but insult me directly?

You're in *my* city, Uruk, now, Inanna's city, Gilgamesh's city, you
beldam of Eridu. Behave yourself!

-- JLB
Robert Carnegie
2020-01-30 23:27:49 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
Thought of a different answer.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Joe Bernstein
Gilgamesh interacts with Inanna in
story 2, "Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven", and in story 4, but none
of this gets anywhere near sex or seduction;
You are telling me that Gilgamesh gets together with Inanna
*twice* and there's no sex? I thought sex was what she was the
goddess of. Was she off her form?
Yeah, they say that, down to Eridu. The men of Eridu, they do say
Inanna is the Goddess of Fucking.
Now, we know better. We know She's *our* Goddess. We could say back,
oh, that Enki is the God of Fishing, but our king, our great king,
*he* says we have to be maga nana - He says we have to be bigger than
those we conquer. Damn straight we're bigger!
And, see, I have a theory. I figure the *reason* they say that, down
to Eridu, is that come every summer's fighting, with Her as our
patron, why, we go down to Eridu, and we fuck those men of Eridu
clear into next Sunday. So that's why they say She's the Goddess of
that.
Either that isn't "fucking", or Gilgamesh was better
at it than most other characters anyway... and mostly
with guys.

Perhaps you can say whether the source material,
and languages in general, use the same words for...
hmm: sexual "conquest", and military conquest;
so there is another correspondence there, perhaps in
the other direction. But it's unfortunate to use the
language of violence; it's often done, though.
"Waterloo" by Abba comes to mind.
Post by Joe Bernstein
Now, our king, our great king, he says we have to be nice to y'all
from Eridu, he says we should respect the conquered. So, woman of
Eridu, I'll just ask you nicely to come along with me. I think our
king will want to talk with you. He'll want to show you our walls.
...and Mr. Frankie Boyle, a Scotsman, admittedly wasn't
being serious when he said rather memorably on British
television: "I would have loved to have a gay dad.
Do you remember at school, there were always kids
saying 'My dad's bigger than your dad, my dad will
batter your dad!' 'So what? My dad will shag your dad.
And your dad will enjoy it.'"
Joe Bernstein
2020-01-31 04:29:00 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Joe Bernstein
Thought of a different answer.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Joe Bernstein
Gilgamesh interacts with Inanna in
story 2, "Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven", and in story 4, but none
of this gets anywhere near sex or seduction;
You are telling me that Gilgamesh gets together with Inanna
*twice* and there's no sex? I thought sex was what she was the
goddess of. Was she off her form?
Yeah, they say that, down to Eridu. The men of Eridu, they do say
Inanna is the Goddess of Fucking.
Now, we know better. We know She's *our* Goddess. We could say back,
oh, that Enki is the God of Fishing, but our king, our great king,
*he* says we have to be maga nana - He says we have to be bigger than
those we conquer. Damn straight we're bigger!
And, see, I have a theory. I figure the *reason* they say that, down
to Eridu, is that come every summer's fighting, with Her as our
patron, why, we go down to Eridu, and we fuck those men of Eridu
clear into next Sunday. So that's why they say She's the Goddess of
that.
Either that isn't "fucking", or Gilgamesh was better
at it than most other characters anyway... and mostly
with guys.
Perhaps you can say whether the source material,
and languages in general, use the same words for...
hmm: sexual "conquest", and military conquest;
so there is another correspondence there, perhaps in
the other direction. But it's unfortunate to use the
language of violence; it's often done, though.
"Waterloo" by Abba comes to mind.
I don't know that that equivalence, which at best barely works in
English (it was certainly the obvious weak point in my previous post,
though I evidently also fell down on the location front) - anyway, I
have no reason to think it exists in Akkadian or Sumerian. It might,
but I wouldn't have heard. I don't actually go around asking of
unfamiliar languages what their sexual vocabularies are; I guess I'm
just prudish that way.

Most love poetry I'm aware of in Sumerian is actually what Ms. Heydt
was talking about previously - Inanna-Dumuzi stuff. I'm not sure
about Akkadian. (There are definitely some good love poems in
Egyptian, but that's neither here nor there.) Dumuzi is the Dying
God, and his killers are imagined in more or less military terms,
but not he towards her.

<http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=c.4.08*#>
(Inanna-Dumuzi "hymns", i.e. love poetry)
<http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=c.1.4*#>
(Inanna-Dumuzi narratives)

This article discusses Akkadian love poems, with full references, and
says most have only recently been published, so I feel less guilty at
not knowing of them:

<https://helda.helsinki.fi//bitstream/handle/10138/231968/Druckfahne_Nissinen_fertig_.pdf?sequence=1>

(It's in English despite the URL.)

The article says most of the poems are available at "Sources of Early
Akkadian Literature", which turns out to be a sort of equivalent of
the ETCSL, only somewhat more annoying to navigate. If you go to
this page (for the love poems) and click on a "file name", you get a
page with text, in romanised Akkadian, *followed by* English
translation.

<https://seal.huji.ac.il/taxonomy/term/73>

Wow, this is good to know about. A few posts back I had to send you
to an illicit site to reach a thirty-year-old translation of
<Atrahasis>. Here they have bunches:

<https://seal.huji.ac.il/taxonomy/term/70>

Cool! Just they don't cover anything after 1000 BC, and it seems
clear that that means they don't have the Standard Babylonian
<Gilgamesh> in a nice neat series of eleven or twelve tablets,
because no such series of tablets is older than 1000. Sorry!

This brings home to me as strongly as ever the sense of undeserved
luck I have at living at a time when my native language is the one
language, translation *into* which is taken for granted. All these
scholars just assuming that they have to do what I want them to do.
Makes me feel a little guilty toward those here whose native
languages aren't English.

Joe Bernstein
--
Joe Bernstein <***@gmail.com>
Joe Bernstein
2020-01-31 04:43:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
The article says most of the poems are available at "Sources of Early
Akkadian Literature", which turns out to be a sort of equivalent of
the ETCSL, only somewhat more annoying to navigate. If you go to
this page (for the love poems) and click on a "file name", you get a
page with text, in romanised Akkadian, *followed by* English
translation.
<https://seal.huji.ac.il/taxonomy/term/73>
Wow, this is good to know about. A few posts back I had to send you
to an illicit site to reach a thirty-year-old translation of
<https://seal.huji.ac.il/taxonomy/term/70>
Cool! Just they don't cover anything after 1000 BC, and it seems
clear that that means they don't have the Standard Babylonian
<Gilgamesh> in a nice neat series of eleven or twelve tablets,
because no such series of tablets is older than 1000. Sorry!
Um. Well. For the following more or less hard-to-reach epics they
do *not* have English translations.

Zimri-Lim Epic
Atrahasis (not a single version)
Enmerkar and Ensukhkesdanna or whatever she's called

For the latter two they don't even have the romanised Akkadian.
(That's right, none of their *ten* versions of <Atrahasis> has
anything.)

I don't know whether this is because they aren't done yet or because
they weren't able to get permission to include the missing stuff,
perhaps for some number of years.

I forgot to mention, after you click on a "file name", you actually
see a bunch of meta-data. You have to click on "textual fields" to
get to the text and translation - if it's there.

Turns out they've published an edition of the love poems, so they're
probably a special case.
Post by Joe Bernstein
This brings home to me as strongly as ever the sense of undeserved
luck I have at living at a time when my native language is the one
language, translation *into* which is taken for granted. All these
scholars just assuming that they have to do what I want them to do.
Makes me feel a little guilty toward those here whose native
languages aren't English.
Well, I guess I can feel a bit less guilty.

Joe Bernstein
--
Joe Bernstein <***@gmail.com>
Peter Trei
2020-01-29 00:25:32 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
Post by Peter Trei
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Bernstein
There is no one Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh 1500 years before Homer;
there are six mini-epics, *if* scholarly assumptions about their
dates are correct.
A 6-part miniseries!
It has power politics, buddy plots, seduction, sex, road trips, ocean
adventure, and a quest for immortality. I think it's doable.
A TV show based on the Standard Babylonian <Gilgamesh> ? Sure.
<http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=c.1.8.1*#>
There's power politics in story 1, "Gilgamesh and Akka". I don't see
a buddy plot - that seems to begin with the Old Babylonian version -
but Gilgamesh does mourn his "slave" Enkidu in story 4, "Gilgamesh,
Enkidu and the Netherworld". Gilgamesh interacts with Inanna in
story 2, "Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven", and in story 4, but none
of this gets anywhere near sex or seduction; again, see the Old
Babylonian version. Road trip, definitely - story 5, either version,
"Gilgamesh and Humbaba". Ocean adventure? Well, I cheated, saying
there's a sixth story and there are twelve tablets of the Standard
Babylonian version. SB XII is a translation of story 4 that doesn't
really fit with the rest of the SB version. And the only way I can
<http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=t.1.7.4#>
which doesn't refer to Gilgamesh at all, but is the ultimate source
<https://geha.paginas.ufsc.br/files/2017/04/Atrahasis.pdf>
(the Akkadian myth of <Atrahasis>; probably a copyright violation)
Gilgamesh's quest for immortality also seems to be new in the Old
Babylonian version; his desire for immortal fame, as a substitute for
true immortality, motivates story 5, while story 3, not used in the
later epics, depicts his death.
Aside from all that, Sumerian stories are ... just weird. I find it
very helpful to imagine many of them as narration to accompany ritual
activities with literal idols. I'd thought the Gilgamesh stories
exceptions, but looking at them in the ETCSL versions, which tend to
accentuate the weirdness, they fit right in with my memory of other
Sumerian works. Don't be at all surprised if those stories just
completely throw you.
The ETCSL translations are reasonably up to date - made in the 1990s
and 2000s. This matters because a) understanding of these languages
improves year by year - Akkadian was first translated in 1851,
Sumerian apparently in 1871; and b) we keep finding additional copies
of the works in question, filling in gaps. The <Atrahasis> I pointed
to is from 1989. As for the Akkadian <Gilgamesh> ? I found three
serious and relatively recent translations online without visiting
dangerous sites, and pleasingly, the most recent is also probably
legal. This is Benjamin Foster's 2001 version, borrowable from the
<https://archive.org/details/isbn_9780393975161>
Maureen Gallery Kovacs's 1989 translation is all over the place,
<https://web.archive.org/web/20140515171700/http://king-of-heroes.co.uk/the-epic-of-gilgamesh/maureen-gallery-kovacs-translation/>
N, K. Sandars's 1960 version (possibly in a revised edition) is also
<https://archive.org/details/epicofgilgamesh00anon>
as well as unlawfully many places online (including an Archive URL
similar to the one I gave for Kovacs).
In print, I think Andrew George's <Gilgamesh> is your best bet. He
did a magisterial two-volume edition, including the Sumerian stories,
separate translations of the Babylonian versions, and even the
Hittite fragments, in 2003. He'd already published a 1999
translation-only version; I've seen a Penguin edition of that, dated
2004, which had a couple of sentences newly discovered since his big
edition. For <Atrahasis>, I know of nothing more recent than the
collections of Akkadian works in translation: Benjamin Foster's
<Before the Muses> (first edition 1993; third 2005; enormous but
doesn't include <Gilgamesh>) and Stephanie Dalley's <Myths from
Mesopotamia> (first 1989 - source of above URL; second 2000; much
shorter but does include <Gilgamesh>). Both are still living and
could produce further editions; a new edition of Foster's <Gilgamesh>
is from 2018, and may perhaps have more of the text than George's.
I wasn't aware that only the old Sumerian version was up for adaptation. I read it in college,
In 1975. Clearly it was a later version, with Utnapishtim's (sp) story, etc.

But wasn't Enkidu seduced?

Pt
Kevrob
2020-01-29 17:10:44 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Trei
But wasn't Enkidu seduced?
I always wanted to write a song about Enkidu,
then perform it while imitating Jimmy Durante.

"Good night, Ms Shamhat, where ever you are!"

:)

Kevin R
Paul S Person
2020-01-29 17:59:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Tue, 28 Jan 2020 16:25:32 -0800 (PST), Peter Trei
Post by Peter Trei
Post by Joe Bernstein
Post by Peter Trei
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Bernstein
There is no one Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh 1500 years before Homer;
there are six mini-epics, *if* scholarly assumptions about their
dates are correct.
A 6-part miniseries!
It has power politics, buddy plots, seduction, sex, road trips, ocean
adventure, and a quest for immortality. I think it's doable.
A TV show based on the Standard Babylonian <Gilgamesh> ? Sure.
<http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=c.1.8.1*#>
There's power politics in story 1, "Gilgamesh and Akka". I don't see
a buddy plot - that seems to begin with the Old Babylonian version -
but Gilgamesh does mourn his "slave" Enkidu in story 4, "Gilgamesh,
Enkidu and the Netherworld". Gilgamesh interacts with Inanna in
story 2, "Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven", and in story 4, but none
of this gets anywhere near sex or seduction; again, see the Old
Babylonian version. Road trip, definitely - story 5, either version,
"Gilgamesh and Humbaba". Ocean adventure? Well, I cheated, saying
there's a sixth story and there are twelve tablets of the Standard
Babylonian version. SB XII is a translation of story 4 that doesn't
really fit with the rest of the SB version. And the only way I can
<http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=t.1.7.4#>
which doesn't refer to Gilgamesh at all, but is the ultimate source
<https://geha.paginas.ufsc.br/files/2017/04/Atrahasis.pdf>
(the Akkadian myth of <Atrahasis>; probably a copyright violation)
Gilgamesh's quest for immortality also seems to be new in the Old
Babylonian version; his desire for immortal fame, as a substitute for
true immortality, motivates story 5, while story 3, not used in the
later epics, depicts his death.
Aside from all that, Sumerian stories are ... just weird. I find it
very helpful to imagine many of them as narration to accompany ritual
activities with literal idols. I'd thought the Gilgamesh stories
exceptions, but looking at them in the ETCSL versions, which tend to
accentuate the weirdness, they fit right in with my memory of other
Sumerian works. Don't be at all surprised if those stories just
completely throw you.
The ETCSL translations are reasonably up to date - made in the 1990s
and 2000s. This matters because a) understanding of these languages
improves year by year - Akkadian was first translated in 1851,
Sumerian apparently in 1871; and b) we keep finding additional copies
of the works in question, filling in gaps. The <Atrahasis> I pointed
to is from 1989. As for the Akkadian <Gilgamesh> ? I found three
serious and relatively recent translations online without visiting
dangerous sites, and pleasingly, the most recent is also probably
legal. This is Benjamin Foster's 2001 version, borrowable from the
<https://archive.org/details/isbn_9780393975161>
Maureen Gallery Kovacs's 1989 translation is all over the place,
<https://web.archive.org/web/20140515171700/http://king-of-heroes.co.uk/the-epic-of-gilgamesh/maureen-gallery-kovacs-translation/>
N, K. Sandars's 1960 version (possibly in a revised edition) is also
<https://archive.org/details/epicofgilgamesh00anon>
as well as unlawfully many places online (including an Archive URL
similar to the one I gave for Kovacs).
In print, I think Andrew George's <Gilgamesh> is your best bet. He
did a magisterial two-volume edition, including the Sumerian stories,
separate translations of the Babylonian versions, and even the
Hittite fragments, in 2003. He'd already published a 1999
translation-only version; I've seen a Penguin edition of that, dated
2004, which had a couple of sentences newly discovered since his big
edition. For <Atrahasis>, I know of nothing more recent than the
collections of Akkadian works in translation: Benjamin Foster's
<Before the Muses> (first edition 1993; third 2005; enormous but
doesn't include <Gilgamesh>) and Stephanie Dalley's <Myths from
Mesopotamia> (first 1989 - source of above URL; second 2000; much
shorter but does include <Gilgamesh>). Both are still living and
could produce further editions; a new edition of Foster's <Gilgamesh>
is from 2018, and may perhaps have more of the text than George's.
I wasn't aware that only the old Sumerian version was up for adaptation. I read it in college,
In 1975. Clearly it was a later version, with Utnapishtim's (sp) story, etc.
But wasn't Enkidu seduced?
He is, at least in whichever version /The Treasures of Darkness: A
History of Mesopotamian Religion/ by Thorkild Jacobsen (Yale
University Press) (ISBN 0-300-01844-4) contains.

This is the source of what I call the Enkidu Test: when a kid "dies"
and comes back, you pay no attention to his/her account of Heaven
unless he/she was dead long enough for a worm to drop from his/her
nose. Otherwise, he/she was never /actually/ dead, just clinically
dead.
--
"I begin to envy Petronius."
"I have envied him long since."
Joe Bernstein
2020-01-29 18:50:42 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Trei
Post by Joe Bernstein
Post by Peter Trei
Post by Kevrob
Post by Joe Bernstein
There is no one Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh 1500 years before
Homer; there are six mini-epics, *if* scholarly assumptions
about their dates are correct.
A 6-part miniseries!
It has power politics, buddy plots, seduction, sex, road trips,
ocean adventure, and a quest for immortality. I think it's doable.
A TV show based on the Standard Babylonian <Gilgamesh> ? Sure.
[mega-snip]
Post by Peter Trei
I wasn't aware that only the old Sumerian version was up for
adaptation. I read it in college, In 1975. Clearly it was a later
version, with Utnapishtim's (sp) story, etc.
Surprise! You got that one right!

(To the extent that there are "right" spellings for any of these
names romanised from cuneiform, anyhow. I've seen other spellings,
but nobody with any sense would call that one wrong, it's the
sorta-traditional one.)

The Sumerian name is Ziusudra, so yes, you're also right that it was
a later version. Also, I don't know who changed the Akkadian name
from Atrahasis to Utnapishtim, or why.
Post by Peter Trei
But wasn't Enkidu seduced?
We have an Old Babylonian version of the seduction, and of course
it's in the Standard Babylonian version. In the Sumerian stories
we have, Enkidu doesn't interact with anyone identifiable as female.
Of course, there could've been other Sumerian stories - though we
have several copies of several of these, which suggests they were
sort of canonical.

See, that's kinda my point. I was riffing off of the previous
poster's "6-part miniseries", which I took as an obvious reference
to the Sumerian stories I claimed there were six of. There are
twelve tablets of the Standard Babylonian version, so you could do a
six-part miniseries of that, but tablet XII, besides being very
probably a later addition, is pretty strongly uncinematic, so I don't
think it makes much sense to go beyond XI, which makes for no such
neat division. But the Standard Babylonian version, and the presumed
Old Babylonian one [1], are very obviously stories, with considerable
entertainment value, lots for critics to gnaw on, yadda yadda. The
Sumerian stories are weird, and the priority clearly *wasn't* on
entertainment or art, or even narrative; I think it was probably on
ritual, but don't know that. You could make one or more interesting
experimental movie(s) out of them, but they'd need a *lot* of
reworking to get good TV. And what would be the point? At least one
great writer [2] has already *done* most of the necessary work; why
not use his version instead?

Joe Bernstein

[1] I'm kinda exaggerating the extent to which we don't know whether
the Old Babylonian was one or several. We have various lists of
literary works, which include one title for an epic of Gilgamesh, and
one of the Old Babylonian tablets begins with those words. So at
least most of the OB tablets are probably from that epic, but one or
more could still be from some other version that just wasn't in the
title list. In contrast, we have substantial evidence that the
Standard Babylonian version is a single work - tools later scribes
used to link tablets work just fine for this. Other Standard
Babylonian works related to Gilgamesh in fact do exist, but they
aren't stories.

[2] The writer of the Old Babylonian story whose title we know was
very probably a great writer. I doubt Sin-leqe-unnini was, but can't
be sure; anyway, for his time, he was an awfully good one.
--
Joe Bernstein <***@gmail.com>
Peter Trei
2020-01-27 14:51:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Actually, it's from Meghan Cox Gurdon's recent book: "The Enchanted
Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud In the Age of
Distraction."
[stuff about oral tradition]
Post by l***@yahoo.com
So far as we can tell, starting in
Paleolithic times, in every place where there are or have been people,
there has been narrative.
On first reading, I convinced myself this was still talking
specifically about oral tradition, and went on a rant. Then while
re-reading before posting discovered my mistake and abandoned the
post. Problem is, that left the thing that set me off in the first
place untouched: Gurdon, or Cox Gurdon, often includes unnecessary
details, *and gets them wrong* - often chronological ones.
Homo sapiens sapiens started in Palaeolithic times, and the most
restrictive definition of "people" she's likely to mean w
ould be
Post by Joe Bernstein
satisfied by that. But I don't know of any convincing argument that
what remains of Palaeolithic human culture proves they had narratives.
It's probable, of course, but the conjunction of "So far as we can
tell" with "starting in Paleolithic times" implies that we *know*
Palaeolithic humans had narrative. We only know that if we beg the
question, if we assume what she's ostensibly trying to prove.
Every pre-literate culture we've encountered, from ancient Britons to
Australian aborigines (not sure what the PC term is this week), have
rich story-telling traditions. Its reasonable to infer that this is a
universal, and goes back as far as people had abstractly expressive
language and thinking.

Of course, we can't prove that directly; oral narratives can't be excavated
from a dig site.

However, I suggest that the presence of art and religious activity can be
used as a proxy to infer the existence of story telling. This goes back
at *least* to the Upper Paleolithic.

Art and religion can't really without the ability to communicate what
they are. If you put a perfectly functional hand axe in a grave with a
dead body, you're going to have to justify it to those around you. That
requires telling a story.

pt
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