From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up–This title's summaries, details on major mythological figures, and engaging commentary on important works will allow students to appreciate the topic “in light of ancient literature and fine art.” In this effort, they have succeeded brilliantly. After a brief introduction surveying the scope of the subject, the core of the work is comprised of alphabetically arranged entries from Achelous to Zeus. Entries vary in length from a short paragraph on lesser-known subjects to several pages on classic texts and monumental gods and heroes. What distinguishes this volume is its shift in focus away from the exploits of the Olympians to ancient authors and literature. While only a handful of black-and-white images dot the landscape, this work will be a worthy addition to collections.Brian Odom, Pelham Public Library, AL
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Luke Roman (classics, Memorial University, Canada) and Monica Roman (MA, art history) have approached mythology “in the light of ancient literature and fine art, rather than presenting myth as a fossilized set of stories abstracted from the multiple contexts of their telling.” The result is a useful resource with A–Z entries of a few lines to several pages and liberal cross-references as well as an index. The selected bibliography is broken down topically and includes a section of online resources that students at all levels should find helpful. The entries cover the standard mythological characters as well as major poets and playwrights. Longer articles cover epics like The Iliad and The Aeneid, dramas like The Orestia, and longer poems like Metamorphoses. These entries contain a synopsis of the work (section by section in the case of longer works) and a commentary. Entries for mythological figures discuss various versions of the myths and refer to the major sources. They also sometimes discuss the figure’s representation in works of art. The book is illustrated both with black-and-white photographs of Greek and Roman artwork, statuary, and pottery and later artwork inspired by classical mythology. The text may be a little dense for some students doing their mythology assignments, but AP world literature students and college students studying world literature should be able to use it with no trouble. The volume is recommended for public libraries, especially those with mythology collections or that serve college students, and for college libraries with introductory courses in classical literature in translation. It will be very useful for students who need something less extensive than Gale’s Classical and Medieval Criticism and something more extensive than a general encyclopedia entry. Also available as an e-book. --Kathleen Stipek