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Inanna, Lady of Largest Heart: Poems of the Sumerian High Priestess Enheduanna
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Inanna, Lady of Largest Heart: Poems of the Sumerian High Priestess Enheduanna

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  144 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
"That these poems deal immediately with the very popular 'goddess literature' and with an individual woman in a most important historical situation should give this work widespread appeal." -John Maier, SUNY College at Brockport, cotranslator of the Epic of Gilgamesh The earliest known author of written literature was a woman named Enheduanna, who lived in ancient Mesopota ...more
Hardcover, 225 pages
Published February 15th 2001 by University of Texas Press (first published -2270)
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May 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: archaeology
Enheduanna's poetry remains fantastic, however this book is let down greatly by De Shong Meador's shoddy interpretation of archaeological evidence. She is not an archaeologist and it shows. Some of her interpretations and assertions are directly contradicted by archaeological sources and textual evidence. For example she infers that Enheduanna's poetry was perhaps a rebellion against a male dominated society, and whilst I certainly agree Sumerian/Akkadian society was male dominated, her poetry w ...more
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: archaeology
Possibly the definitive translation of Enheduanna's epic work.

The scholarship is good and adds a lot to the understanding of the poem. However this is an academic book so it is not the easiest read, especially for those not of an archaeological/assyriological background as it assumes a fair deal of background knowledge.

Though for anyone with an interest in Enheduanna and Inanna it is probably the most important book to read.
Meador illuminates the heart and purpose of Inanna and the High Priestess Enheduanna like no other writer. Meador may not be an Assyriologist but she has the mind of a mystic and she captures the potency of Inanna, who was once greatest of all the gods. She explains the divine/human relationship in clear, readable prose. Meador is the go to writer for anyone who wants to know how Inanna manifested herself here on Earth.
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible. Both the poems and the interpretation are rich and rewarding. Enheduanna's verse oustrips the most post-modern of poets in its rawness and immediacy. Betty De Shong Meador is a Jungian analyst, not an archaeologist, and this needs to be taken into account as the purpose of this book is interpretation not a historical study.

Top marks for bypassing all the tired and worn out ideas Graves perpetuated and actually embracing what is there, rather than trying to bend it to an agenda. Extra
Brilliant, beautiful, and illuminating. One of my favorite books on Mesopotamian religion. Meador has the ear and heart of a poet. As she delves into each hymn she explores this ancient culture and all that entails. Particularly fascinating to me are the story of King Sargon and his brilliant daughter Enheduanna. I wish we knew more about them but Meador shares with us what is known.
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
On the surface Princess, Priestess, Poet is a scholarly analysis of the Temple Hymns, a collection of 42 short poems dedicated to various temples and pagan gods in Mesopotamia. Within the pages though, Mesopotamia comes to life through the combined efforts of its most ancient poetess, and a modern scholar.

Composed by En-ḫedu-ana, a High Priestess of the moon-god Nanna at the ancient city of Ur (modern day Iraq) during the Akkadian empire, c. 2300 BCE, what makes the Temple Hymns unique is that E
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An interesting attempt at personal interpretation, but ultimately passable as an academic and spiritual source.

The major contention I found with the book is that Betty De Shong Meador's personal theories are given more weight than academic and archaeological material, such that, even though she freely quotes from more learned scholars, their interpretations are often twisted out of true to support her claims.

An underlying problem for me was her use of "translations," of the three poems by Enhedu
Feb 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A particularly poetic work that not only praises a favored diety, but also serves as a lamentation of the author for being expelled from her temple and a desire to return to service. A concise yet elegant statement of an individual's place in the world, and the difficulties they face in it.
RD Chiriboga Moncayo
Excellent. Enheduanna was the world's first great poet.
Fascinating discussion of these original texts! I was especially interested in the connections between Inanna and Lilith/eve. I'm not sure I agree with the author's interpretations, but I understand them. To me, the Inanna of the first poem seems childish and petulant; in the second poem I wonder if the priestess is being punished not by Inanna but by Nanna (for raising Inanna above him); and in the third I also wonder if the voice isn't more whiny than not (although indeed terrible things seem ...more
Aaron Meyer
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book centers on the three poems to and about Inanna which the High Priestess Enheduanna had written around 2300 BC. This doesn't contain any of her Temple Hymns which are found in another book I believe. You get an interesting story about the author's attraction to Inanna and then to Enheduanna. The early history she presents is very interesting and gives one ideas to jump off in other areas of research. You also get a nice history of Enheduanna, her father was Sargon, so it isn't like she ...more
Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book on 42 poems by the first person in the history of the world (that we know of) to call herself a "writer" -- a poet with a celestial muse, in fact. Betty De Shong Meador has done the world a great service by reminding us of this crucially important figure in the history of world culture. This book focuses on Enheduanna's "temple hymns," poems written to celebrate the temples of ancient Sumer, from Akkad to the Gulf. Meador's earlier book, Inanna: Lady of Largest Heart, covered Enhe ...more
Kimberly Nagy
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book features some extraordinary scholarship and I am not only enjoying it, but studying it for a six-year path of research I've been weaving together for my own forthcoming book, The Triple Goddess Trials. I am deeply impressed by Meador's top-notch writing, thorough research and far-reaching arguments. I also loved the forward by poet and activist, Judy Grahn. An inspiring, edifying and deeply important book!
This was a fascinating eye-opener. It astounds me still, since reading Gilgamesh how much depth and emotion such ancient writing portrays. I loved Enheduanna's passion for her goddess. This book provided so much insight into the nature of religons impact on female roles in society, how it dictates the appropriate and sacred, and how it can often change and create societies stigmas.
Dec 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The first poem ever written [okay, that has survived to the present day to be discovered] was composed by a woman, Enheduanna, daughter of Sargon the Akkadian ruler of Mesopotamia. These poems are powerful appeals to Inanna, the goddess of love and war, and they still retain their emotional weight to the present day. A terrific read.
Stephen Cranney
First author-identified written work in history (and by a woman, no less, an interesting fact that feminists should know). Accessible to the layperson, which is more than I can say for most compilations of ancient Mesopotamian documents.
Gabriel Clarke
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Marvellous, inspiring, deep-exploration-provoking...One of my favourite books so far this year. Conjures up a world at once alien and oddly familiar.
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish most of Enheduanna's writing hadnt been lost her work is beautiful and
surprisingly modern for its time. Its rather difficult but worth it.
Steve Mihaylo
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of the oldest known writings. Written by a priestess of Inanna, Enheduanna, in praise. Inanna is the the planet we call Venus.
Michelle (In Libris Veritas)
A read for a personal challenge based off of the book Rad Women Worldwide.
Romeo Saunders
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