Greatest epic of world literature: 'Epic of Gilgamesh' or 'Journey to the West'? | The Tylt

Greatest epic of world literature: 'Epic of Gilgamesh' or 'Journey to the West'?

The word epic refers to both a story of adventure and danger and also a story full of grandeur and meaning. In this series, we looked at some of the greatest epics of world literature. Some you may have known and some you might not, but they’re all crucial works. In the finals, we’re facing off the the world's oldest work of fiction—"Epic of Gilgamesh," and the crazy monkey mayhem of "Journey to the West." Which is the greatest epic?

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Greatest epic of world literature: 'Epic of Gilgamesh' or 'Journey to the West'?
#ReadGilgamesh
A festive crown for the winner
#ReadJourneyToWest
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Greatest epic of world literature: 'Epic of Gilgamesh' or 'Journey to the West'?
#ReadGilgamesh
#ReadJourneyToWest

In the finals, we’re facing off the world's oldest work of fiction—"Epic of Gilgamesh" and the crazy monkey adventure of "Journey to the West." Which is the greatest epic?

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#ReadGilgamesh

Dating back to around 4,000 years ago, the Sumerian “Epic of Gilgamesh” is the oldest known work of fiction. The modern version derives from one found in the library of King Ashurbanipal, and tells the story of the heroism and battle prowess of King Gilgamesh of Uruk—two-thirds god and one-third human—and his rival turned best friend, the beast-man Enkidu. Elements of the story may have later influenced scenes in the "Odyssey" and, depending on who you ask, the Old Testament. And the influence of those books is pretty massive, safe to say. Hear a Sumerian recital below. 

#ReadJourneyToWest

Though not as well known outside of Asia, “Journey to the West” is one of the most popular epics in Chinese history, and is beloved in many adaptations in other Asian countries. Author Wu Cheng’en adapted the real-life account of Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang’s perilous trip to India and mixed in heavily metaphoric fantastical tales and characters. The most famous of these is the chaotic and comedic monkey king, Sun Wukong. Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian elements fuse in what is both a reverent and satirical way that has delighted readers for centuries. It’s also the basis for what became "Dragon Ball Z."

Check out an animation from a couple of the people behind the Gorillaz.

#ReadGilgamesh
#ReadJourneyToWest
FINAL RESULTS
Entertainment
Greatest epic of world literature: 'Epic of Gilgamesh' or 'Journey to the West'?
#ReadGilgamesh
A festive crown for the winner
#ReadJourneyToWest