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

by Diane Wolkstein

Other authorsSamuel Noah Kramer
Book, 1983



Call number


Call number



New York : Harper & Row, c1983.

Original publication date


Physical description

xix, 227 p.; 24 cm

Local notes

A fresh retelling of the ancient texts about Ishtar, the world's first goddess. Illustrated with visual artifacts of the period. "A great masterpiece of universal literature."--Mircea Eliade

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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