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A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys (Everyman's Library Children's Classics) 1994 Printing Edition
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"Within the verge of the wood there were columbines, looking more pale than red, because they were so modest, and had thought proper to seclude themselves too anxiously from the sun. There were wild geraniums, too, and a thousand white blossoms of the strawberry. The trailing arbutus was not yet quite out of bloom; but it hid its precious flowers under the last year's withered forest-leaves, as carefully as a mother-bird hides its little young ones."
But Hawthorne is also equal to the task of less genteel, more vigorous images:
"At this sound the three heads reared themselves erect, and belched out great flashes of flame. Before Bellerophon had time to consider what to do next, the monster flung itself out of the cavern and sprung straight toward him, with its immense claws extended, and its snaky tail twisting itself venomously behind."
Adding to the pleasure of these retold tales is the gorgeous art of Arthur Rackham, both in black-and-white drawings and full-color plates, which captures the unearthly beauty and the unexpectedly surprising humor of Hawthorne's work. Highly recommended!
Alas, I forgot the name of the author of "The Chimaera", and even that my favourite versions of the myths were all written by the same person. Some talented guy writing for the series, no doubt, I would have said, if I'd thought about it. A couple of years ago, I started browsing through an impressive-looking illustrated volume of mythology in a bookstore (which you now see before you). Whoa. "Scarlet Letter" Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote *THESE*?
His retellings of Greek myths were originally spread over 2 volumes (the other being _Tanglewood Tales_), but they can be obtained in a single volume these days. I can personally do without the gang of Tanglewood kids providing the official audience for the stories-within-a-story, or the defense against critics put into the mouth of the storyteller Eustace Bright, but then I want more space for more myths. :) Each myth in _A Wonder Book_ has an Introductory and After the Story section where the storyteller leads up to the tale, then fends off any awkward questions from his young audience.
"The Gorgon's Head" - The story of Perseus, from his infancy through the quest for Medusa's head.Read more ›
I am usually not a fan of sanitized tales--even when written by someone the status of Nathaniel Hawthorne. But, in spite of their overt preachiness and their occasional preciousness, there's something charming and original about these adaptations. Even adults might enjoy these six tales: Perseus's slaughter of Medusa, Midas and his golden touch, Pandora's box (stripped of Prometheus's role), the apples of the Hesperides (or Hercules's Eleventh Labor), Baucis and Philemon and the magic pitcher (which, in my opinion, is the best of the lot), and Bellerophon and Pegasus's battle with the monster Chimaera.
Threading these stories together is Eustace Bright, Hawthorne's college-age narrator, who relates his versions to a gaggle of local children (a couple of whom taunt him for his bumptiousness). Hawthorne uses this framing device to insert himself as his own critic. Overhearing one of the stories, the father of one of the children is not amused, finding Eustace's taste "altogether Gothic" and advising him "never more to meddle with a classical myth." To this critique, Eustace petulantly responds that "an old Greek had no more right to them, than a modern Yankee has," and he accuses classical writers of forming these tales "into shapes of indestructible beauty, indeed, but cold and heartless.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hawthorne's writing is FABULOUS, however, be warned, the drawings in the book frequently show images of nude children... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Skeptical
This is another of the many classic tales that the famed author Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote for children. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Israel Drazin
Readers have enjoyed the books of one of America’s greatest writers of his time, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), for more than a century. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Israel Drazin
My kids (age11 and 8) love these imaginative tales as read aloud bedtime stories. The literary language is like music.Published 16 months ago by Kaysha
Six Greek Myths/Tales are told to a group of children by their cousin, Eustace Bright so before and after each story you are reading of the interactions and activities of the... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Richard and Liz