A superb scholarly edition was recently published by Andrew R. George: The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic: Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts, 2 vols. (Oxford University Press, 2003). David Ferry’s Gilgamesh (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1992) is a very good popular translation.


Mitchell chooses to omit Tablet 12, in which Gilgamesh is deified as a god of the underworld, and end the tale with Tablet 11, in which Gilgamesh returns to Uruk. Although this is a somewhat arbitrary decision, it does leave the question of mortality ambiguous—making Mitchell’s version of Gilgamesh a “this worldly” rather than an “other-worldly” quest narrative.