Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Some books that caught my eye in the latest Abbeys Catalogue:

The Penguin Book of Classical Myths
The figures and events of classical myths underpin our culture; the constellations named after them fill the night sky. Whether it's the raging Minotaur trapped in the Cretan labyrinth or the 12 labours of Hercules, Aphrodite's birth from the waves or Zeus visiting Danae as a shower of gold, the mythology of Greece and Rome is full of unforgettable stories. The Greek tragedies - Oedipus, Medea, Antigone - are also included, as well as the Trojan wars, Odysseus' and Aeneas' epic journeys and the founding of Athens and Rome. These are the strangest tales of love, war, betrayal and heroism ever told and, while brilliantly retelling them, this book shows how they echo through the works of much later writers, from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Camus and Ted Hughes.

The Cambridge Companion to the Greek and Roman Novel
The Greek and Roman novels of Petronius, Apuleius, Longus, Heliodorus and others have been cherished for millennia, but never more so than now. This Companion contains 19 original essays by an international cast of experts in the field. The emphasis is upon the critical interpretation of the texts within historical settings, both in antiquity and in the later generations that have been, and continue to be, inspired by them. All the central issues of current scholarship are addressed: sexuality, cultural identity, class, religion, politics, narrative, style, readership and much more. Four sections cover the cultural context of the novels, their contents, literary form and their reception in classical antiquity and beyond.

1 comment:

Mike Salter said...

I read a Loeb edition of Longus (Daphnis and Chloe) a while ago, just to see what these ancient novels were like. Basically it was just a cute, fairly callow story of young love set in a pastoral setting, but interspersed with some, erm, rather graphic erotic passages.

And, hilariously, during said passages, the English on the facing page (the translation of the Greek) suddenly turned into....Latin!

Clearly the proper language for particularly racy material. ;-)