Epic of Gilgamesh

I’m rereading Robert Silverberg’s historical novel Gilgamesh the King, which gives me a chance to promote some of my favorite literature about the Epic of Gilgamesh. For my money the best reconstruction and translation appears in the Penguin Classics edition, though other translations are available. Imaginative treatments include “Gilgamesh in the Outback,” also by Silverberg, and Orson Scott Card’s short story “Atlantis.”

Much of today’s interest in the Epic has to do with its flood story that resembles the biblical flood account in some ways. “Atlantis” tells the story as Card imagines it might have happened, and (as in the title) he connects the flood with the legend of Atlantis. Through his experience in the flood, the story’s protagonist–the Noah figure–discovers a form of morally-grounded monotheism.

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