Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiv

Why is a scholar of modern European literature writing about Gilgamesh? This book began as chapter 2 of a work tentatively entitled “The Road to Hell,” in which I planned to explore modern literary variations of such mortuary journeys as those depicted in the myths and literatures of the ancient Near East, Greece, and Rome and in the Christian tradition. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvi

For their assistance in obtaining copies of the illustrations for this volume, and the authorization to use them, I would like to thank the following individuals and institutions: Melissa Acosta and Steven Ferguson of Special Collections, Princeton University Library; ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-19

Can there still, in the early twenty-first century, be any educated person who has not been exposed, at least casually, to the tale of Gilgamesh? In the mid-twentieth century a Swiss scholar could lament that Gilgamesh was but a “remote topic” that had not become, like The Iliad and The Odyssey, part of the Western cultural tradition.1 ...

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1. The Initial Reception (1884–1935)

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pp. 20-46

In what follows we shall leave aside, for the most part, the steadily increasing and often fascinating scholarly studies of the Assyriologists and concentrate instead on the popular reception of the epic of Gilgamesh.1 Sometimes, of course, the scholarly conclusions of the Assyriologists have influenced popular conceptions. ...

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2. Representative Beginnings (1941–1958)

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pp. 47-78

Since the mid-twentieth century, the Gilgamesh story has been treated in a variety of aesthetic forms: fiction, poetry, drama, opera, film, painting, and beyond. These treatments, however varied they may be, use one of four basic modes of modernization. ...

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3. The Popularization of Gilgamesh (1959–1978)

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pp. 79-108

Whereas the immediate postwar reception of Gilgamesh from 1945 to the late 1950s was largely a consciously cultural affair involving cult poets, controversial novelists, experimental artists, and the opera-going public, the next fifteen years witnessed a significant popularization of the epic and a broadening of its thematic uses. ...

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4. The Contemporization of Gilgamesh (1979–1999)

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pp. 109-153

The Near East thrust itself upon world attention in 1979 when the Iranian Revolution overthrew the Shah. Other violent events that kept the region in the international headlines included the Iran-Iraq War, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Israeli incursion against the PLO in Lebanon, ...

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5. Gilgamesh in the Twenty-First Century (2000–2009)

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pp. 154-188

Gilgamesh, who was born and flourished in the mid-third millennium B.C.E., is alive and well almost five thousand years later at the beginning of the third millennium of the Common Era. The continuing vitality of the epic is suggested by its worldwide popularity reaching from England and France to Australia in books for children, ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 189-198

Our representative survey of the reception of the Gilgamesh epic during the past century and a half has revealed an astonishing number and variety of works from many Western countries and in manifold media and genres. (See the chronological list of works in the appendix.) ...

Chronology [of works discussed]

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pp. 199-206

Notes

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pp. 207-220

Index

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pp. 221-226