Leick, Gwendolyn 1951–

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LEICK, Gwendolyn 1951–

PERSONAL: Surname is pronounced "Like"; born February 25, 1951, in Öberaichwald, Austria; daughter of Reginald (a physician) and Herta (a social worker; maiden name, Schescherul) Leick; married Charlemagne Kanon, July 31, 2001; children: George Sebastian, Joseph Ibrahim. Ethnicity: "Austrian." Education: Karl Franzens University, Dr.Phil., 1977; London School of Oriental and African Studies, London, postdoctoral study, 1977–79. Religion: Roman Catholic.

ADDRESSES: Home—97-99 Sclater St., London E1 6HR, England. Office—Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts, John Islip St., London SW1 P4RG, England. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Property owner and manager in southern Austria, 1972–77; Theater of Mistakes, public relations manager, 1979–84; University of Reading, Reading, England, part-time lecturer in ancient Near Eastern archaeology and literature, 1982–89; University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, Glamorgan, Wales, senior lecturer in anthropology, 1991–96; Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts, London, England, senior lecturer in history and theory of design, 1995–. Part-time lecturer at City University, London, 1980–83, National University of Wales, Cardiff, 1991–94, and American International University, London, 1995–.

MEMBER: Royal Anthropological Institute (fellow), Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.


Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Architecture, Routledge (New York, NY), 1988.

Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology, Routledge (New York, NY), 1991, 2nd edition, 1999.

Sex and Eroticism in Mesopotamian Literature, Routledge (New York, NY), 1994.

Who's Who in the Ancient Near East, Routledge (New York, NY), 1999.

Mesopotamia: The Invention of the City, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2003.

The Babylonians: An Introduction, Routledge (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor to books, including Encyclopedia of World Mythology, edited by A. Cotterell, Dempsey Parr, 1999. Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including Folklore.

Some of Leick's writings have been published in Spanish and Italian.

WORK IN PROGRESS: General editor of The Babylonian World, publication by Routledge (New York, NY) expected in 2006; research on urbanization processes in antiquity and present-day Africa.

SIDELIGHTS: Gwendolyn Leick told CA: "I studied Assyriology because I thought it was a difficult, arcane, and somewhat esoteric subject which would not lead to a normal career. I discovered that, while I was not particularly gifted to do epigraphic work—transcribing and translating cuneiform tablets—I could communicate and transmit the results of Assyriological scholarship to a wider audience, to make the field more accessible. That's why I began to write encyclopedic dictionaries as the most user-friendly, concise, and straightforward way to access information on matters concerning the ancient Near East.

"I am generally interested in processes of intellectual transmission across languages, cultures, periods, and customs. I have taught all sorts of subjects without being a specialist, but as a curious explorer. This mentality of being able to sit on the fence was probably fostered by the fact that I am an immigrant to the United Kingdom, having left my native Austria at the age of twenty-five, lured by the British Museum and the cosmopolitan life in London. I wanted to become a writer in English because it is for me the most accommodating, rich, and ecumenical of modern languages which allows so many people, regardless of their original language, to find a worldwide audience."



Antiquity, September, 1995, Timothy Taylor, review of Sex and Eroticism in Mesopotamian Literature, p. 632.

Booklist, December 15, 2003, Mary Ellen Quinn, review of Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia, p. 765.

Journal of Near Eastern Studies, October, 2003, Robert D. Biggs, review of Who's Who in the Ancient Near East, p. 290.