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Topic: Gods, Goddesses and Fairytales

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Subject: Gods, Goddesses and Fairytales
Date Posted: 8/18/2009 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 4/19/2009
Posts: 55
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Can anyone recommend a book or books on the myths and stories of the Greek Gods and Goddesses?  I would also like to learn more about the demigods such as Hercules.  A recent show on the hItory channel has renew my interest.  I knew Disney had a way of "altering" classic fairytales vand myths to make them more "family friendly" such as Cinderella and The Little Mermaid.  Does anyone know of books with original fairytales?

Date Posted: 8/18/2009 12:42 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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There's one by Edith Hamilton, called Mythology, that's available in most used-book stores because it keeps getting required as a text; it's a small paperback, but a good overview. For something weightier, there's The Greek Myths, by Robert Graves, or Bullfinch's Mythology; I think the one that covers the Greeks and Romans is The Age of Fable when te book is separated into two volumes - lots of different versions of this one, some with terrific illustrations.
Date Posted: 8/18/2009 12:53 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 387
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You could read a translation of the Illiad or the Odyssey.  Both of those epics are where a lot of the Greek myths come from.

There are a lot of different translations and books about the original Grimms' fairy tales and hans christian anderson.  if you google "orginal grimms" or something to that effect you will find a lot of books.  Be warned, they are very different from the disney versions.  Much much much more violent and gorey.  For example Cinderella's step sisters mutilate their feet with knives to try to fit into the shoe and they get their eyes pecked out by crows.  Most fairy tales were told as warnings to children rather than inspiration.

Date Posted: 8/18/2009 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Jack Zipes translated and edited an excellent Complete Grimm.  One thing to remember with Grimm, is that they did a considerable amount of censoring themselves.  For Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, getting a translation of Chales Perrault is probably your best bet.  He predates the Grimms, and a constant frustration for the brothers was that in their search for the authentic peasant tales, they found that lots of the tales people were telling came from French literary sources. Giambiattista Basile's Pentamerone has wonderful, early versions of fairy tales.  Andrew Lang's "color" collections from early in the 20th centurty are all delightful (Blue Fairy Book, Pink Fairy Book, etc.)

This is my subject and my passion and could go on forever.  Please feel free to PM me.

Last Edited on: 8/18/09 1:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/30/2009 1:47 AM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2009
Posts: 49
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Sherrilyn Kenyon's Devil May Cry. It's book 11 of her Dark-Hunter series but it's the only one I've read, made perfect sence out of context of the other books. One of the main characters is the daughter of Artimis(who shows up a lot) . Aris & Hades make small aperances and Zues and a few others are mentioned.

Date Posted: 8/30/2009 6:53 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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They aren't the original stories, but Diana Wynne Jones has a book where she plays around with different characters in Greek/Roman myth - The Game.  Her book The Eight Days of Luke does something similar with Norse mythology.

Date Posted: 9/13/2009 11:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2009
Posts: 298
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Sometimes going back to the "source" is interesting.  I agree with one person's suggestion of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.  And you might want to pick up a good translation of Ovid's METAMORPHOSES "the most comprehensive, creative mythological work that has come down to us from antiquity" (Galinsky).  Ovid wanted it to be considered more of an epic than an anthology of myths (but you can read it like an anthology if you choose). 

The Charles Martin verse translation garnered praise, but if you prefer prose you have many to choose from.  BN and Amazon often give sneak previews to help you decide.

Here's a link about Ovid if you are interested in finding out more:  http://larryavisbrown.homestead.com/files/xeno.ovid1.htm

And there are plenty of paperbacks on the METAMORPHOSES available here at PBS, too.  Have fun exploring.  The myths are some of the greatest stories ever told from which many writers still draw from today.

Last Edited on: 9/15/09 12:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/15/2009 8:44 AM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2009
Posts: 67
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If you want the truly true meanings of some fairytales check out this book called Stories of lost Israel In Folklore. You can get it here, or at artisanpublishers.com. It talks about Snow White, Jack and The Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood and more. It's really interesting if you're into that sort of thing.

Date Posted: 9/19/2009 8:25 AM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2006
Posts: 236
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For an excellent fiction based on Gk myth you can't beat Mary Renault's duo, The King Must Die and The Bull From the Sea.  The Theseus story complete with the Minotaur, Amazon's, jealous Gods etc.  Classics.


Date Posted: 9/19/2009 12:52 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,564
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you can't beat Mary Renault's duo, The King Must Die and The Bull From the Sea

I second this suggestion.  I read these books during a Mary Renault orgy of books some years ago and these were two of my favorites.  I hadn't thought about them in a while.  Thanks for the reminder.

Date Posted: 9/20/2009 3:24 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2009
Posts: 9
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fairy tale retellings - http://www.listsofbests.com/list/2511

myth retellings (mostly greek) -  http://www.listsofbests.com/list/2515