William Francis Dawson. Inside Pepys' London. Jonathan Bastable. Humphry Clinker. Tobias Smollett. Past and Present. Thomas Carlyle. Alfred Tennyson. Andrew Lang. Tales of Glass Town, Angria, and Gondal. Christine Alexander. The Great British Christmas. Maria Hubert. Grace Darling. Eva Hope. The Exploits of Dr. Sam Johnson, Detector. Lillian de la Torre.
Woodstock; or, the Cavalier. Walter Scott. The Blanket of the Dark. John Buchan.
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A Book of Quaker Saints. Lucy Violet Hodgkin. Tedious Brief Tales of Granta and Gramarye. The Detections of Dr. Sam Johnson. The Fifth Queen Crowned. The Return of Dr. Fanfare for Elizabeth. Edith Sitwell. The Vicar of Wakefield. Oliver Goldsmith. Robert Hunt. Gossip in a Library. Edmund Gosse. London: A Traveller's Reader. Thomas Wright. The Master of Ballantrae. Adrian Poole. Diaries of Ireland. Melosina Lenox-Conyngham. Robert B.
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The Voyage of the Destiny. Captain Alexander Smith. Jem and Sam. Ferdinand Mount. The Adventures of Roderick Random. George Augustus Sala. Charles S. The Complete Short Fiction. Oscar Wilde. Shakespeare's England. Ron Pritchard. Netta Murray Goldsmith. Dawson W. The Book of Christmas. Thomas K. Washington Irving. Complete Verse. Hilaire Belloc. Dorothy Forster. Walter Besant. For Faith And Freedom. Grisly Grisell. Charlotte M. The Green and the Gold.
Christopher Peachment. Samuel Pepys. Amelia E. Boscobel: or, the royal oak. The Spirit of Irish Wit. Ian Cantwell. Traditions of Lancashire Volume I. John Roby. Leigh Hunt. And Orpheus sings about the Creation of the Skies, the Earth and the Underworld, of the children of Cronus and Rhea, of the inventions of Daedalus, and many other wonderful things. All in all, this book is a thorough introduction to Greek mythology and ancient Greece, and a wonderful achievement at that.
Jul 03, Eleanor rated it did not like it Shelves: literary-fiction , books. I never thought I would give up on a book by Robert Graves, but this one I did. It is very long because it is quite unbelievably detailed. I assume Graves did this as a way of reproducing how the story might have been told orally, but also I think in order to cram in his interpretations of just about every Greek myth you can think of.
To give one example, in a banqueting hall where the Argonauts are feasting, there is a painting on the wall showing Daedalus and Icarus flying, so Orpheus tells in I never thought I would give up on a book by Robert Graves, but this one I did. To give one example, in a banqueting hall where the Argonauts are feasting, there is a painting on the wall showing Daedalus and Icarus flying, so Orpheus tells in great detail the story involved, explaining how some things were misinterpreted and misunderstood, what might really have happened, and so on.
I got about halfway through, and maybe I shall return to it one day, but somehow I doubt it. View all 5 comments. Oct 23, Doubledf Another great classic by Graves, on the mythology of the Argos and the Argonauts, also reads very well like a travelogue. Nov 29, Golan Schzukin rated it really liked it Shelves: read-hebrew. Interesting twist of on the Argunauts mithology. The gods play a big role in everything that happens in the book, however they are not as active players as in normal mithology, and they are more rooted into the beleifs all people.
Apr 07, Collins Offiong rated it it was amazing. Read this book for the first time when I was sixteen, revisited it some time ago. An Epic read I think has never been well crafted as this. The story is sublime, the setting quite eery. Jason is tough, his Argonauts are dauntless, the language is clean. Really enjoyed it. This one's a tough read. Better have your cliff's notes handy if you want to keep up.
I was really looking for something with more entertainment value. This book did not deliver on that front, unfortunately. Aug 02, Jefferson rated it really liked it Shelves: fantasy , historical. The dead may speak the truth only, even when it discredits themselves.
The account begins years after the famous voyage with the death of Ancaeus, when he tried to live among the Maiden, Nymph, and Mother worshiping peopl "But remember, no lies! The account begins years after the famous voyage with the death of Ancaeus, when he tried to live among the Maiden, Nymph, and Mother worshiping people of Majorca, because on his home island of Samos the Triple Goddess had been replaced by the Olympian pantheon.
Ironically, the priestess who interviews Ancaeus decides that his knowledge of "indecent" and "topsy-turvy" Greek culture in which, unbelievably, people worship fathers and women are forced to marry men and remain faithful to them and let them ride on top when making love is too dangerous to let loose on her island and so has her Goat men servants stone him to death. The conflict between the original Triple Goddess and matriarchal culture of the Mediterranean on the one hand and the Olympians and patriarchal culture of the invading Greeks on the other moves the entire story of the Golden Fleece.
Readers who can remain patient through a few chapters of such "historical" context setting are in for a treat, for The Golden Fleece is a bawdy, beautiful, comical, exciting, and violent adventure set in the ancient age of myth, a "real" account of events before they were transformed into legends, an exotic travelogue, and a satiric clash of cultures and genders. And it's just so full of life in all its brutality, brevity, humor, and pathos.
The Golden Fleece is an encyclopedic novel of all things Greek and pre-Greek. Graves incorporates or refers to many myths and legends, from the cosmogony through the trade war between Troy and Greece and the Twelve Labors of Hercules. And from various cultures, including Pelasgian, Cretan, Thracian, Colchian, Taurean, Albanian, Amazonian, Troglodyte, and of course Greek, he works into his novel many interesting customs, about fertility orgies, weddings, births, funerals, and ghosts; prayers, sacrifices, omens, dreams, and mystery cults; boar hunting, barley growing, trading, and ship building, sailing, and rowing; feasting, singing, dancing, story telling, and clothes wearing; boxing, murdering, warring, and treaty negotiating; and more.
It all feels vivid, authentic, and strange. Because Graves writes the novel from the point of view of someone living in the time and place of the Golden Fleece, many fantastic things are recounted matter of factly. For example, people who eat sacred oranges in the sacred manner live as long as they want, gods and goddesses speak to people through oracles and dreams, an augur can understand the speech of birds, Hercules has superhuman strength, and so on. Graves also realistically treats some traditionally fantastic things.
For instance, hybrid creatures like centaurs, minotaurs, and satyrs are men belonging to horse, bull, and goat fraternities; cyclops are smiths who squint while doing their work; any woman can cow men by making "gorgon grimaces" distorting her face and hissing ; the sons of gods were born to prostitutes of the temples of those gods; and so on. And the heroes are so human! Butes the bee keeper loves honey too much. Idas provokes everyone even Zeus with his obnoxious jests. Sharp-eyed Lynceus doesn't warn anyone about the malevolent ghosts only he can see. Atalanta the virgin huntress sends mixed signals to Meleager.
Echion the herald speaks so smoothly that he believes his own lies. Hercules doesn't know his own strength, is prone to berserk rages, harms more friends than foes, and suffocatingly loves his boy-ward Hylas. Jason is an indecisive, sullen, "wild and witless young man," envied or despised by other men. No great warrior, seaman, painter, orator, or wizard, he leads the Argonauts only because women fall in love with him at first sight, a gift he abuses by using the same "my heart began a golden dance" pick up lines on different women and then loving and leaving them.
The jealousies of the heroes are potent: "'How generous you are, prince Hercules,' cried Jason, wishing him dead and securely buried under a towering barrow of earth and stone. The Golden Fleece is rich with epic similes: "After so long a period of abstinence, [the women of Lemnos] are wallowing in the pleasures of love as Egyptian crocodiles wallow in the fertile ooze of the Nile.
Fans of Robert Graves' other novels, like I Claudius , or of Greek myths and culture, or of exotic historical adventures, would probably enjoy this book. Want to feel like you are Jason or one of the Argonauts and not just reading a summary? Sea voyages aren't always comfortable--and neither is this novel--but if you want to sail around the Greek world without skipping events, this is top shelf.
Complete and very human, in ways both good and the bad. Get to know the individual Argonauts, and how they were chosen, plus the royal history and family lines. I enjoy how everyone is superstitious and mindful of the Gods, but the Gods aren't on stage Want to feel like you are Jason or one of the Argonauts and not just reading a summary? I enjoy how everyone is superstitious and mindful of the Gods, but the Gods aren't on stage like party extra's and wallpaper, some are even skeptical of the Gods. In the opening, we have a beautiful tale of Ancaeus at the Orange-grove.
A self-contained chapter that carried me back to Antediluvian times. It changed my mental image of what society was like before the Greeks for the better. This book plays an interesting part in the history of the Triple-goddess, but its importance exceeds the scope of this review. Shelves: literature. I read this in a U. As I recall now, four decades later, the novel begins with a woman raping a man and continues lustily throughout.
As a fourteen-year-old this was quite a new, and captivating, take on the "Voyage of the Argonauts" previously known to me through Edith Hamilton's The Greek Myths. Now, of course, all the sex, none of it explicit, would probably seem quaintly amusing. As in so many of his books, particularly the non-fic I read this in a U. As in so many of his books, particularly the non-fictional White Goddess, Graves was a twentieth century proponent of what might be called "original matriarchy" theory. Unlike Bachofen, however, he did not fear so much as respect and desire the women.
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Indeed, in his view, without them, without desire, no poetry, no culture. Mar 22, Steve Shilstone rated it really liked it. I like this particular Graves' effort a mere one Pegasus wing feather width more than his extremely worthy others. If you want to learn about greek mithology and amuse yourself, this is your book Aug 19, Brenna rated it really liked it Shelves: mythologyfolklore , fiction. Great retelling of the Argonautika. Retains the spirit of the original and adds a slightly bawdy and exuberant spirit highly appropriate to the tale.
Dec 16, Sarah Sammis rated it it was amazing Shelves: borrowed , read-in A weird by enjoyable retelling of the Hercules Myth by the man who wrote I Claudius. Overall I did like this book, but I have very mixed feelings about it. The writing reads very nicely and gives the narrative an epic tone, which I liked. But as we have no focalizer and an omniscient narrator, I couldn't really connect to the characters and felt very detached from the story, it just didn't draw me in.
It is a very interesting book, though. There's a lot to learn about Jason and the Argonauts in here, and I think it's amazing how much additional information the reader is offered. Graves begins his tale way before Jason, with a religious change in Greece and how the Golden Fleece actually came to be. The struggle between the Triple Goddess and the Olympic system was extremely interesting and I really enjoyed those parts!
I also liked that none of the characters are plain and perfect heroes. I'm still not sure if there are truly any heroes in here. Hercules, for example, came across as more of a comic relief character, his stupidity and accidental brutality often had me laughing. Then there's Medea, who isn't just this evil princess but who's feelings and motives are very much analysed. So while I wasn't drawn into the story and sometimes felt bored by the plot, I liked how much the book had me thinking all the time, and the many details it offers.
I would definitely recommend this if you want to know more about this particular myth!
The Greek Myths
Hercules, My Shipmate is an amazing accomplishment. It's a feasible "true" story of Jason and the Argonauts, which really immerses you in the culture of the ancient Greeks and their neighbors. But there are portions that drag and portions that really contort the tale to fit either existing myth or Graves's scholarly theories. Best of all is his vision of Hercules as a violent brute suffering from some sort of psychological disorder that is viewed through the lens of Greek culture as being hounde Hercules, My Shipmate is an amazing accomplishment.
Best of all is his vision of Hercules as a violent brute suffering from some sort of psychological disorder that is viewed through the lens of Greek culture as being hounded by vengeful ghosts. Everyone fetes and fears Hercules, and he gives rise to a lot of moments of subtle humor. All in all, it is a rich vision of a heroic quest, but not one I'd actually recommend to anyone but the most determined fan of Hellenistic antiquity. Nov 27, Pinko Palest rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites.
A wonderful novel. Graves retells the story of the Golden Fleece, Jason, Medea and the Argonauts, superimposing upon it a struggle between the old, matrineal gods and their followers, and the new, patriarchal gods of Olympus and their followers many of the protagonists are inbetween though. All magic has been taken out of the original story, and there is always a rational explanation for what was magical initially, with one exception: this is the ghosts and they do play a major role. Character A wonderful novel.
Characterisation is quite good too, as one would expect from Graves, but the plot is truly stunning I'm reading this starting today at the recommendation of a fellow G'reader who was responding to my review of a Mary Renault book. I tracked it down in the stacks of my employer's library Bowdoin College. Nice to see the extensive collection of literature you won't find in a modest local public library. I picked this one up as well as MR's three Alexander books so I'll be busy with THAT for a while plus knocking off some more of the "currently read I'm reading this starting today at the recommendation of a fellow G'reader who was responding to my review of a Mary Renault book.
I picked this one up as well as MR's three Alexander books so I'll be busy with THAT for a while plus knocking off some more of the "currently reading" list. I gather that RG was a pretty famous poet as well. Now in just a little ways but there's plenty there already as Graves is a "meaty" writer.
One curious note:according to Mary Renault the adventures of Theseus came after the Argonauts but in this book published earlier it's vice versa. I think After 50 pages I have to say that Mr. For someone whose background in Greek Mythology is pretty much "The Greek Way" by Edith Hamilton read way back in prep school , Mary Renault's Theseus books plus various movies like "Jason and the Argonauts" the author's detail is kind of intimidating.
But also fascinating as it portrays the hazy interface that occurs at about 1, BCE between the Gods and god-like humans like Herakles and Jason. By the time of Classical Greece BCE[or so] and later the line between human and god is well-defined. I'm ready for the Argo to get going So far he's by far the most compelling character, in fact maybe the ONLY compelling character so far.
What we do get is a dense portrayal of a pagan culture replete with gods, goddesses, ghosts, curses, demons, superstitions, myths, legends etc. Sounds kind of "pagan" to me. This computer just seized up so I must begin again. The boys plus one girl have sailed and rowed into the Black Sea but not without some serious trouble and one ghost stowaway. The ceremonies on Samothrace were impressively described by our narrator, the late Little Ancaeus, though he was forbidden to include some mysterious detail.
Speaking of details, the cultural descriptions put me in mind of Herodotus, though I haven't actually read any of that yet. The stories are legends and myths full of heroic feuding, feeding, fucking and fighting but in a way they all seem like a bunch of savages with a massive religious "thing" as backdrop.
Fun though Halfway through now and Hercules has been left behind to go shovel horse manure. Too bad since he's the most interesting character. Jason is kind of a waffling weasel actually. They're all good fighters killers though. The question still comes up as to the historical order of things as Orpheus tells the story of Daedalus and Theseus. Definitely different than Mary Renault's version and of course out of temporal order according to her.
Did some archaeological evidence come out that made her later books more valid in that regard? The action has really intensified as the Argo reaches Colchis and "things" happen. No spoilers from me though I did check Wiki and according to the Medea page the Theseus stuff comes after the Jason stuff. So far the Gods have actively intervened in only one instance described by Graves though it's the most important event in the book. The protagonists of course assume that the Gods are intervening in many ways, particulaly the weather.
In Mary Renault's books the Gods are certainly kept at more of a distance so I guess you could say it's more realistic. Not much farther further? By virtue of constant lying and manipulating with a little killing here and there the Argos are getting closer to home. Jason the weasel has one more big betrayal to come of course. And now done with this book crammed full of adventure and culture.
At the end RG offers some explanations and references for his decisions in the book, including the hero chronology issues. Never be solved without a time machine I suppose. His treatment of Medea is a bit different than Mary Renault's. For him she's a victim of circumstance as well and divinely inspired infatuation with Jason.
MR portrays her in older age as the witchy, murderous, manipulative wife of Aegeus who tries to get him to murder his own son. Then again Notes: - Achilles mentioned at the end as the son of Argonaut Peleus. Final verdict: 4. Graves' retelling of Jason and the Argonauts that's long-steeped in his White Goddess interpretations of mythology. Entertaining at times, but occasionally awful and awkward. Jan 11, Euclides Carrillo rated it really liked it.
I read this book in spanish. This one is awkward then, because it displays some of the same flaws whilst also answering my other criticisms in some style. Graves's telling of The Golden Fleece is as dependent upon Margaret Alice Murray 's ideas as his later collection of tales - ideas which he would later expound upon himself in The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth , a book which Lawrence Norfolk , in my introduction, suggests may be simply a more academic version of this novel. Yes, I said novel.
This is where the book differs from those others and overcomes some of my misgivings. Graves explicitly set out to set this myth in proto- historical context and to make it real in a way that the supernatural never can be. Thus gods are very real for some, even as some characters deride them and plainly perceive them to be fictitious even if they never articulate that fact. Centaurs and satyrs are horse-men and goat-men only in the metaphorical sense - they are clans with totemic animals. All of which seems eminently plausible. The Argonauts chafe and squabble as they plainly would - something possibly based on the author's own experience in the WW1 trenches.
The characters are real and recognisable - which doesn't mean to say sympathetic - Idos is crass, iconoclastic, sarcastic and atheistic, Butes is the arch food-snob, Hercules is a generous but loud and boorish pederast and Jason himself is a sulky, selfish, petulant pretty-boy. The book has much to recommend it then but, even if it is a story and not the dry account that was a feature of The Greek Myths I found that Grave's poetic prose is not exactly to my taste.
Apr 10, Alex Politis rated it it was amazing.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. As is the case with every Graves book that I have read, this is an excellent read from start to finish. It's the story of the Argonauts, what more do you need? However, readers must be prepared for Graves's own adaptation of the myth. He is trying to discover what was really behind the myth and put it into more "human" terms while still keeping most of the supernatural elements intact.
As a Greek, I am well versed with every version of the story, through the Apollonius version, the Pindar versio As is the case with every Graves book that I have read, this is an excellent read from start to finish. As a Greek, I am well versed with every version of the story, through the Apollonius version, the Pindar version and the Apollodorus version which are somehow different to one another.
Those were my bedtime stories after all. With this, Graves follows a more personal adaptation and a more loose description of the places, characters and idiosyncrasies involved in the play. For example, Hercules is depicted as a rowdy, almost barbaric brute with a passionate relationship with his protege Hylas with whom Graves replaces Iphicles, Hercules's brother from another father and usual partner in his Labours.
While people might be confused and take this as almost pederastic, this would be a common mistake that became common after the misinterpretation of the Greek word "Erastes " as sexual partner in the first translations of the Ancient Greek texts during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance era. Graves does not make that mistake though but puts the concept in the story and makes fun with it. Jason appears as a indecisive leader, a young hero who lets himself be influenced by his crew, some of the real Argonauts are not even present. The Minoan historical and mythological figures are changed or omitted, Theseus of Athens is placed in a different timeframe and position than what he should be at the time of the story and while he should be a member of the crew by all the ancient versions of the text, he is not.
In short, he is not accurate to the point since that would mean that he would only be rewriting the whole thing. Where would the fun be with that? His is a different angle on a story lost in the ages and it is a very enjoyable one!