- Paperback: 784 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Combined, Reprint edition (April 6, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140171991
- ISBN-13: 978-0140171990
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 89 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Greek Myths: Complete Edition Paperback – April 6, 1993
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About the Author
Robert Graves was born in 1895 in Wimbledon, the son of Irish writer Perceval Graves and Amalia Von Ranke. He went from school to the First World War, where he became a captain in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. After this, apart from a year as Professor of English Literature at Cairo University in 1926, he earned his living by writing, mostly historical novels, including: I, Claudius; Claudius the God; Count Belisarius; Wife of Mr Milton; Sergeant Lamb of the Ninth; Proceed, Sergeant Lamb; The Golden Fleece; They Hanged My Saintly Billy; and The Isles of Unwisdom. He wrote his autobiography, Goodbye to All That, in 1929, and it was soon established as a modern classic. The Times Literary Supplement acclaimed it as 'one of the most candid self portraits of a poet, warts and all, ever painted', as well as being of exceptional value as a war document. Two of his most discussed non-fiction works are The White Goddess, which presents a new view of the poetic impulse, and The Nazarine Gospel Restored (with Joshua Podro), a re-examination of primitive Christianity. He also translated Apuleius, Lucan and Suetonius for the Penguin Classics, and compiled the first modern dictionary of Greek Mythology, The Greek Myths. His translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (with Omar Ali-Shah) is also published in Penguin. He was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford in 1961 and made an Honorary Fellow of St John's College, Oxford, in 1971. Robert Graves died on 7 December 1985 in Majorca, his home since 1929. On his death The Times wrote of him, 'He will be remembered for his achievements as a prose stylist, historical novelist and memorist, but above all as the great paradigm of the dedicated poet, "the greatest love poet in English since Donne".'
Top customer reviews
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As usual the Folio Society has presented a beautiful edition of gilt embossed spine and cloth boards along with striking woodblock prints encased in a plain but sturdy slip case. The "Editor's Introduction" by Kenneth McLeish is worth the price just for the information on middle age religious meddling that, for a time, sullied the traditional purity of the mythology before being rescued during the Enlightenment. Academics may dismiss it, but for those interested in the ancient world but lacking a classical education this is a must read.
The intriguing and fascinating retelling of these myths, by the author of "I, Claudius", is categorized into Chapters, e.g. "Beginnings", ...""Revolts Against the Gods", ..."The Trojan War", etc. Within each chapter myths are discussed in turn. Each myth and its variations is succinctly described. This is followed by Graves' analysis of the genesis and evolution of the myth. His presentations of these myths have been justly praised, while his exegetical interpretations have, with some justification, been subject to negative criticism. Graves tends to interpret different myths as variations of the same theme, where its difficult, even for experts, to see the same connections the author does.
This work was originally published in 1955, amended in 1957, and then further revised by the author in 1960. This two volume edition, to quote the publisher, "follows that 1960 edition, except for deletion of Grave's source notes"
Reading can, and one hopes usually will, be a quite pleasurable experience, not only because of content, but also because format, binding, paper quality, and illustrations contribute to make it so. For all these reasons, this Folio Society edition is a pleasure to read. Printing the material in two volumes was the correct decision. It makes the books just the right size to handle easily. Additionally, the black and white illustrations, font, and text layout are nicely matched to the material. The myth stories are informative and interesting, and Graves delivers them with a unique style, zeal, and charm. Thus, even with the frequent idiosyncratic analysis of these myths, this work is highly recommended.