The Buried Book by David Damrosch
The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh

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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 century
Composed 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.

About David Damrosch

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David Damrosch is a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. He is the general editor of The Longman Anthology of World Literature and the founding general editor of The Longman Anthology of British Literature. He lives in New York City.
Published December 26, 2007 by Henry Holt and Co.. 340 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Things pick up with the author’s engaging retelling of the story of Gilgamesh, enfolded within the history of Assyrian King Ashurbanipal’s assembly of the world’s greatest library and the destruction of Nineveh after a three-month siege by Babylonian invaders.

Mar 06 2007 | Read Full Review of The Buried Book: The Loss and...

The New York Times

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How we came to uncover that world, and how that world reached out toward our own, is part of the story David Damrosch tells in “The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh.” Skip to next paragraph Colin Johnson But the kingdom of ancient Assyria held ...

Mar 25 2007 | Read Full Review of The Buried Book: The Loss and...

Book Reporter

Gilgamesh himself predates anything written about him, and Damrosch explores the history and legend of this very ancient hero and leader.

Jan 06 2011 | Read Full Review of The Buried Book: The Loss and...

Entertainment Weekly

These days, the phrase ''near Mosul, Iraq'' conjures many images — but few from The Epic of Gilgamesh, the 3,000-year-old Babylonian tale that probably influenced everything from the Bible to Homer's Odyssey.

Mar 02 2007 | Read Full Review of The Buried Book: The Loss and...

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