最近開始了HarvardX的Ancient Masterpieces of World Literature，當中精選了的經典世界文學著作包括：The Epic of Gilgamesh 《吉爾伽美什史詩》，One Thousand and One Nights 《一千零一夜》，Tale of Genji 《源氏物語》，Odyssey 《奧狄賽》。
經過一星期後，我終於把The Epic of Gilgamesh部分完成了yeah（鼓掌👏）腦袋充滿了養分 （鼓掌👏👏）。
Epic of Gilgamesh是目前世上已知的最古老的文學作品，形式是英雄史詩 (epic)。雖然寫於1500BC （史詩內容是關於2500BC的故事），但到了1853年才被考古學家發現重見天日。但由於內容是寫於泥板上，現在僅存了只有3,000行左右的內容（現存12塊泥板）。但也幸好它是泥板，如果是一般的羊皮草紙，在大火中已經灰飛煙滅了。clay經過火烤後，會變得更堅固！
- Before words, stories are passed on by oral storytelling, e.g. through hymns, songs and poems. Easily to remember.
(So even when written down, it is intended to be heard rather than read)
- Words in the beginning are used for transactional (e.g. 1 gold for 10 sheeps), administrative, religious and imperial purpose only
- Literature is written on parchments 羊皮紙, papyrus 紙莎草 and clay tablets. It is for high class people because one stories may take lots of animal skins –> expensive!!
- Before paper, literature in the past is often economically constructed due to $$ and its limitation (e.g. clay stones are heavy). i.e. Paper is a very important invention to make literature/knowledge more accessible to more people.
Epic vs Novel
- Epic is carefully constructed to sound poetic (need to remember that we are reading translated version. The original sound of the language is important)
- Economical in language
- Unlike novels, it lacks psychological development or explicit motivations / development in stories
- Epic is likely recited aloud with feasts at the court
The Epic of Gilgamesh Theme
- Epic qualities: quest, the foundation of a city, relationship between human and god
- City vs countryside (provide timber and water)
- Getting lumber as expedition of life (necessity) to show imperial ambition to build good palace
- The flood story of humanity acknowledge human morrtality god is incredibly powerful
- Human beings and gods dwell in different worlds. There is connection but limited.