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We are publishing a letterpress and hand-bound edition of the Enūma Eliš, the Babylonian epic of creation. This new poetic translation has been rendered not for academic study, as others have, but for the pure enjoyment of the reader. The edition includes excerpts printed in the original cuneiform script, and each copy is signed and numbered in the limited edition. Pledge to support fine press bookmaking in the twenty-first century!
The Enūma Eliš, the Babylonian epic of creation, is a literary masterpiece. The fact that it is among the oldest surviving creation myths, a foundational text from a foundational civilization, should not obscure its other qualities. Its drama is timeless and yet still shocking. It has patricide, monsters and battles, moments of extreme cruelty and kindness. Add to this the fact that, to its audience, it explained in a very real way the creation of earth and mankind (everything really), and it certainly lives up to the promise of an “epic.”
No Reply Press is a publisher of handmade limited editions. We make our books using centuries-old techniques and technologies. They are printed letterpress and then bound entirely by hand – at our workshop, nothing plugs into the wall (except two lightbulbs and a coffee maker). Our process is wildly slower than digital printing, but we believe in the results.
Pairing this millennia old text with centuries old craft has long been a dream for us. As the first edition we pondered, whose realization we have been working toward for years, it is in a way our raison d’être. We are proud to introduce our Enūma Eliš.
What makes No Reply’s Enūma Eliš unique?
- Portions of the text are printed in the original Akkadian using the cuneiform script. So far as we can tell, this is the first fine press edition to significantly use cuneiform.
- The text is printed on Zerkall-bütten mouldmade paper by master printer Phil Abel, who signs the colophon. Nearly every page is printed in both black and blue.
- The text is rendered into a new poetic translation by No Reply’s own Griffin Gonzales, an author whose academic background is in religious texts of the Ancient Near East. Such texts can be dense to the point of incomprehensibility for the casual reader; this translation keeps the reader in mind, preserving as best it can the entertainment and lyricism which its original audience would have treasured.
- The edition is designed to showcase the printed word, both in English and Akkadian. The simplicity of type and binding is our homage to Alberto Tallone Editore, which we esteem to be the world’s finest private press. We are offering the edition in three states — in a simple but elegant stiff wrapper (with an optional slipcase and chemise), in quarter gold-tooled vellum with letterpress boards, and in quarter gold-tooled vellum with hand-marbled boards.
As of September 13th, this project has raised $112,000 of their $10,000 goal. This project has 14 days left to raise as much as it can. For a pledge of $25, you will get one Enūma Eliš Broadside. For a pledge of $85, you will get one No Reply Octavo. To learn more and to pledge money, go to: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/noreplypress/enuma-elis-the-babylonian-epic-of-creation?