GILGAMESH

Too fussy and detailed for the casual reader, too amateurish for the scholar, this curious collaboration between novelist Gardner (completed just before his fatal motorcycle crash in 1982) and English professor Maier (SUNY, Brockport), with help from Assyriologist Richard A. Henshaw (Colgate Rochester Div. School), is nonetheless a thoroughly engaging work. What to do with Gilgamesh? The late Akkadian version (written ca. 1600-1000 B.C.) is clearly the best, but it's riddled with lacunae, some of which can be filled or partially elucidated by the Sumerian, Old Babylonian, Hittite, or Assyrian versions. Gardner-Maier translate everything from the twelve tablets of the epic, even when that means printing long stretches of unintelligible fragments like, ". . . land of Shamash, exposed to the sun/ . . . world-wide (?)/ . . . alabaster/ official exposed. . . ." Gardner was responsible for the final form of the text. His language is bold, vigorous, unashamedly colloquial, with none of the usual biblical-Homeric echoes: "I will show you Gilgamesh the joy-woe man./ Gaze at him—observe his face—/ beautiful in manhood, well-hung,/ his whole body filled with sexual glow." Maier provides a lot of generally useful notes, including such indispensable items as Siduri's advice to Gilgamesh ("let your belly be full,/ Make merry day and night," etc.) from the Old Babylonian. The end result is at once richer and more distracting than the highly readable "homogenized" prose retelling by Nancy Sandars, more vivid and cumbersome than Herbert Mason's verse translation. Given the vast linguistic and historical gulf separating us from its sources, any hope for a "definitive" Gilgamesh is doomed from the outset. But any intelligent effort to popularize that enigmatic primeval masterpiece is more than welcome.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 1984

ISBN: 0394740890

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1984

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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