Reading Sumerian Poetry

Reading Sumerian Poetry

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An authority on ancient Mesopotamian culture, Jeremy Black here provides an introduction to the world's oldest poetry. Sumer, in southern Iraq, was the first literate civilization, with writing dating back as far as 3100 B.C. Its extensive poetic literature was lost for nearly two millennia; rediscovery and decipherment of the ancient writings began in the nineteenth century. Black is fully aware of the difficulties of applying modern literary methods to the study of ancient literature, emphasizing theoretical problems that arise from contemporary expectations of a unitary text. Looking closely at the imagery in the Lugalbanda poems, Black perceives in them a rich and sophisticated poetic imagination and technique, which, far from being in any sense "primitive, " are so complex as to resist modern literary analysis.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 154.9 x 231.1 x 25.4mm | 498.96g
  • Cornell University Press
  • Ithaca, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0801435986
  • 9780801435980

Review quote

"This excellent book does just what the author had hoped for and intended to do: it provides a sound and indispensible introduction to a difficult subject that conveys a fair idea of the extent, complexities and subtleties of Sumerian poetry thereby demonstrating his acute sensitivity to the nuances of critical theory and practice. For this solid accomplishment, and for being courageous enough to take the first step, he has our profound thanks. Almost every page provokes thoughtful comment." A.J. Ferrara, University of Pennsylvania. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 61:4, October 2002"

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