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Gilgamesh among UsModern Encounters with the Ancient Epic$
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Theodore Ziolkowski

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450358

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450358.001.0001

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The Initial Reception (1884–1935)

The Initial Reception (1884–1935)

Chapter:
(p.20) 1 The Initial Reception (1884–1935)
Source:
Gilgamesh among Us
Author(s):

Theodore Ziolkowski

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801450358.003.0002

This chapter considers the popular reception of the epic of Gilgamesh. The first serious cultural impact of the Gilgamesh epic in the early twentieth century took place in German-speaking countries, where public awareness was kindled by the controversy over Babel and Bible. It was in Germany, moreover, that the general public gained access to the earliest complete and reasonably accessible translations. The first complete translation into English was presented in 1928 by R. Campbell Thompson (1876–1941) in The Epic of Gilgamish, which was based on a new collation of the tablets in the British Museum. Six years after Thompson's translation, the American poet and translator William Ellery Leonard (1876–1944) offered in his Gilgamesh: Epic of Old Babylonia (1934) a wholly different version for the general reader: a rendition into free verse of Hermann Ranke's earlier German translation.

Keywords:   Bable, Bible, Germany, Epic of Gilgamesh, epic poem, epic poetry, The Epic of Gilgamish, R. Campbell Thompson, William Ellery Leonard, translation

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