March 12th, 2010


Superman & Batman. (16)

Gilgamesh translated by David Ferry.

Irkalla is both
Ereshkigal, her breast bare,
& her grey kingdom.

After The Ship of Ishtar I had a hankering for a little Fertile Crescent, you know? So I read this translation of "The Epic of Gilgamesh." This is a poetic translation, but not as freely as War Music, which I adored. The translator also doesn't read cuneiform or know Sumerian, so he relied on other translations to put this "rendering" together. That doesn't break my heart, or anything, but it is worth noting. I wrote a little at Kit Marlowe & Co. about translations, & the fact of the matter is, okay. Especially when your goal is a poetic retelling. Noam Chomsky might be controversial in his stance that you don't have to know a language to know about a language, but it is at least true that you can know something about it. Me, this time? This reading of Gilgamesh I was struck by how much my brain had compressed the story; I had the facts straight but compacted the locations on a lot of things. I was into the literal translations-- Monster Dragon Scorpian Sibling Spouses! & I liked the "Stone Things" of the boatman (58). What most got me was how it was the kerubim who came & got Enkidu sick to death (41). So yeah; Gilgamesh. I've read it before, but every so often you take the prism down & peer through a different facet. Anyhow; I really think this is the "Death of Batman!" story that I'd most like to read. Superman is Gilgamesh, right? & Batman is Enkidu. That is...pretty clear.