The two-act structure

The majority of Babylonian epics are organized according to the same narrative structure: the story is divided into two acts, where the second act mirrors and expands the first. The essay shows that this structure applies to Atra-hasis, Enuma Elish, Gilgamesh, Etana, and more, for a total of nine texts.

“The two-act structure: A narrative device in Akkadian epics,” Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions, vol. 20, no. 2 (2020 [April 2021]), p. 190–224. Link.

Thresholds in Gilgamesh

The essay explores the representation of time and space in Gilgamesh. The figure of the threshold is a key aspect of the epic, separating highly different, but internally homogeneous kinds of time and space—a structure that also affects its depiction of characters and textuality.

“The chronotope of the threshold in the Epic of Gilgamesh,” Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 141, no. 1 (April 2021), p. 185–200. Link.

Ironic self-citation

As a preliminary study for my subsequent article on the “two-act structure” in Akkadian epics, this note shows that certain phrases from the first half of Atra-ḫasis are repeated in the second half, but with the opposite meaning.

“Contrast through ironic self-citation in Atra-ḫasīs,” in Nouvelles assyriologiques brèves et utilitaires, vol. 2015, no. 4 (December 2015), pp. 158–60, entry no. 95. Link.