Inanna, queen of heaven and earth : her stories and hymns from Sumer

by Diane Wolkstein

Other authorsSamuel Noah Kramer (Author)
Paperback, 1983




New York : Harper & Row, c1983.


Translation and retelling of the Inanna stories from the Sumerian. With the publication of this book, we have for the first time in any modern literary form one of the most vital of ancient myths- that of Inanna (known to the Semites as Ishtar), the world's first goddess of recorded history and the beloved deity of the ancient Sumerians. In this groundbreaking work, Samuel Noah Kramer, the preeminent living expert on Sumer, and Diane Wolkstein have retranslated, ordered, and combined the fragmented cuneiform tablets comprising the Cycle of Inanna to created an authentic portrait of the goddess from her adolescence to her completed womanhood and "godship."--Back cover.

User reviews

LibraryThing member keylawk
This is the first modern and poetic rendering of the Queen of Heaven materials recovered from 400 cuneiform lines on the clay tablets excavated from Nippur, Sumer's center. [127] Many have contributed to the deciphering. [201] Half of the book is Commentary by Samuel Noah Kramer.
Remarkably, the work is illustrated with photographic reproductions of contemporary artifacts and decoration.
"She called to her bridegroom: 'The bed is waiting!' He put his hand in her hand. He put his hand to her heart. Sweet is the sleep of hand-to-hand. Sweeter still the sleep of heart-to-heart." [42] Inanna, known as Lillith, the first wife of Adam in Hebrew mythology, was quite a love. When she wasn't coming back from the Dead! [67]
Make a mental note -- this is a Great poem to read aloud and terrify small children!
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LibraryThing member thewalkinggirl
Profound, funny and horrifying in turn - and sometimes simultaneously. What more can one want from a myth cycle?

(I will admit that I kind of want to tag this "wondrous vulva" though; that's a phrase I'll never forget!)
LibraryThing member MarysGirl
Just about half this book is dedicated to the stories and hymns of Inanna, the second half has commentaries by the sumerologist who collected the original materials and the folklorist who "translated" the stories into rich poetry. I particularly loved the illustrations drawn from images in museums across the world. The stories and hymns are lyrical and the commentaries informative.… (more)
LibraryThing member regularguy5mb
Here we have the collected translations of the Inanna cycle of tales from Ancient Sumer. Along with the tales there are commentary from both Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Kramer on the way in which the original tablets were found and how the translations were made.

Kramer's part focuses on how the pieces of the tablets were found by different excavation teams and how he and a few others eventually connected the various pieces and figured out that they were part of the same story cycle.

After the tales, there are a series of hymns also dedicated to Inanna. Many of these seem to be either for marriage rites or temple/altar worship based on the text.

If, like me, you're interested in learning more about some of the earlier myths from the "cradle of civilization," this is definitely a book worth reading.
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