Enheduana

The Complete Poems of the World’s First Author

My translation of Enheduana’s poems will come out with Yale University Press on March 28, 2023. Preorder it here.

The book is accompanied by a website, which includes a literal translation and line-by-line breakdown of Enheduana’s best-known poem, as well as links to further reading and resources for learning more about her world.

You can also find my previous publications about Enheduana here, and my interview about her here.

Advance praise

“A wonderful new translation and commentary which returns Enheduana to her rightful place at the beginning of literary history.”—Zainab Bahrani, Columbia University

“Helle’s Enheduana is a vibrant work that illuminates the complexity and wonder of the original texts. It crafts new insights into Enheduana and her world, invoking both elegance and—as could be expected of poems dedicated to the goddess Inana—a sense of awe.”—Gina Konstantopoulos, University of California–Los Angeles

“Enheduana’s hymns are among the earliest comprehensible poems to have come down to us. For Sophus Helle they are not ancient fossils to be revered, but vibrant works of literature, and he has found a personal diction that makes them ring across the millennia without distortion. A masterful achievement.”—Piotr Michalowski, University of Michigan

“I am thrilled to see my ancestor role model Enheduana coming back to life through this updated, wonderful translation of her poems and also fascinating research of her life and rituals.”—Dunya Mikhail, author of The Bird Tattoo

“Sophus Helle’s translation of the world’s first known author—daughter of the world’s first known emperor—comes hot on the heels of his splendid edition of the Epic of Gilgamesh. In these pages the voice of Enheduana reaches across the millennia with more vibrancy, passion, and immediacy than the Homeric Hymns. The publication of this book is a major literary event.”—Robert Pogue Harrison, Stanford University