The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh

By David Damrosch
Read by William Hughes

7.37 Hours 12/01/2007 unabridged
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Etched in the wedge-shaped letters known as cuneiform on clay tablets, the Epic of Gilgamesh stands as the earliest classic of world literature. Its earliest surviving fragments date back to the eighteenth century BC, more than 3,700 years ago. In The Buried Book, David Damrosch tells the story of George Smith, a self-taught linguist, who one momentous afternoon in 1872 was working at the British Museum, going through a pile of Layard’s clay tablets, when he suddenly realized that he was reading about “a flood, storm, a ship caught on a mountain, and a bird sent out in search of dry land.” Daring adventurers, fearless explorers, ancient kings, gods, and goddesses come to life in this riveting story of the first great epic and its rediscovery in the nineteenth century.

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Summary

Summary

Etched in the wedge-shaped letters known as cuneiform on clay tablets, the Epic of Gilgamesh stands as the earliest classic of world literature. Its earliest surviving fragments date back to the eighteenth century BC, more than 3,700 years ago. In The Buried Book, David Damrosch tells the story of George Smith, a self-taught linguist, who one momentous afternoon in 1872 was working at the British Museum, going through a pile of Layard’s clay tablets, when he suddenly realized that he was reading about “a flood, storm, a ship caught on a mountain, and a bird sent out in search of dry land.”

Daring adventurers, fearless explorers, ancient kings, gods, and goddesses come to life in this riveting story of the first great epic and its rediscovery in the nineteenth century.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Damrosch’s fascinating literary sleuthing will appeal to scholars and lay readers alike as they ponder the intricacies of cuneiform, the abuses heaped on the Iraqi Rassam and the working-class Smith by the Victorian class system, and recent Gilgamesh-inspired novels by Philip Roth and Saddam Hussein.” Publishers Weekly (starred review) 
“As astounding as the content of the Epic of Gilgamesh, in which the questing hero travels to the underworld and back, is the manner of its discovery and recovery…Damrosch’s summary narrative of the epic excels both in dramatization and thematic explanation…A superb and engrossing popular presentation.” Booklist (starred review)
“William Hughes reads with a lively tone that makes the story of the epic’s rediscovery as exciting as the epic itself, drawing readers into the lives and ambitions of Smith, who gradually grew into the role of archaeological explorer, and Hormuzd Rassam, who continued Smith’s work after his death.” AudioFile

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: David Damrosch

David Damrosch is a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. He is the author of books on the Bible and on world literature and is the general editor of The Longman Anthology of World Literature. He lives in New York City.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction
Runtime: 7.37
Audience: Adult
Language: English