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I have a different German books on either Penelope or Kalypso for some reason both figures also Circe are very influentila. I think it's a whole branch of German feminism interpreting and these mythological figures.
I don't know if you like Suzanne Vega but she made a song called Calypso which tells the story from her point of view.
I found this video with the lyrics - bit tacky but you can hear the song well.

Christine Harding

I love Atwood's Penelopiad because, like you, I wonder about all those other characters, like Penelope, and Helen (was she really kidnapped, or was she in love in Paris, or was she a flirt?). And what about Menelaus - having fought a war to rescue his wife (assuming she wanted to be rescued) how did he treat her when they got back?
I've read a couple of translations (and children's editions) and I'm always impressed by the language - I'm sure it was something intended to be recited aloud.


I really like your point about how knowing the old stories makes a difference to what we get from more modern literature. This is so true of the Odyssey which has been so influential on narrative in general. I


Of all the mythical stories Penelope's, I think, is one of the best for me, along with that of Ariadne.


You know when I read The Odyssey I ended up not liking Odysseus at all. He moaned and wailed about Calypso but he slept with her numerous times and at least for the first month or two wasn't exactly pressing his case for going home. But woe to Penelope if she had slept with anyone else all those 20 years! You can where my loyalties lie ;)


Quite a few years ago, there was a TV movie (maybe a mini series?) with Armand Assante as Odysseus--my husband and I really liked it, and it sparked my interest in reading the Odyssey. I bought a copy, but I have never cracked it open--maybe that should be MY long-term reading project...)

You made a good point about the long reach of the myths into literature. Having some familiarity with them would add depth and nuance to future reading. One reason to read Greek mythology in the first place!


It's interesting to see how different cultures are influenced or interpret mythology/folk and fairy tales. I suppose these are the stories that everything else has been built on really. I have heard of Suzanne Vega and am curious about the song (will watch it when I am at my own computer--thanks for the link). I should move on to reading fairy tales next really.


I think I will appreciate Atwood's The Penelopiad much more now, though I did like it the first time around, too. I bet there must be a retelling somewhere from Helen's point of view--will have to search it out. I'd like to reread both the Iliad and the Odyssey, but I thought it would be better to listen to them on audio first (or read first and then listen after--not sure which would be better) for just that reason--these must have started out as oral stories. Somehow I think they would be more exciting to listen to.


Now that I have been reading myths I keep coming across references in everything else I've been reading that I am sure I never quite picked up on. I was thinking I need to start a page with quotes...and I may just do that!


I wonder how much time The Odyssey spends on Penelope--I really do need to read it. I've liked her story almost the best, too. I'm glad I have been posting on the myths (though I expect it must be boring to everyone out there reading...), but it will be a good reference for me to go back to.


I was wondering how much of a hardship it was to be hanging on Calypsos island! :) I'm sure it would have been quite frowned upon had Penelope picked a suitor--she no doubt would have suffered an ignominious death! I really do need to read the original now and get the whole story with details!


I have had the boxed set of the Iliad and the Odyssey for years!! I read them in high school, but that was so long ago now that I have no recollection anymore of any of the details. I need to add that movie to my netflix queue, too. I see references to myths pop up all over now in my reading--I have been exposed to so many names, though, I still have to look back at their stories, but I am still much more in tune with them.


I actually knew something about this one, having listened to Rosemary Sutcliff's version on audio tape. And you remind me that I must read Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad, which I have had on the TBR for ages (probably the five years you mention....)


I am behind reading this (but I'm behind reading for another read-along by 3 weeks now, so I guess I'm not TOO bad on this one.) I am also watching the Odyssey movie that Kathy spoke of. It's on YouTube (not Netflix or Amazon prime). It is very good. I absolutely love the story of the Odyssey, I love quest stories and this is probably the best!


Thanks for the reminder--as I wanted to see if I could get that version of the audio book myself! It's nice when the story ends up being familiar. I want to read The Penelopiad again now--I'm curious what my take on it would be a second time around.


Do you still have just this chapter to read? I am trying to keep up with my weekly reading plan so that I can finish the book well in advance of the end of the year and maybe squeeze in some other short book on myths. It is easy, though, to fall behind. I'd like to watch some of the movies mentioned here when I finish the book, too. I should have been making a list, but I am sure I can go back and run through the comments again.


Yes, I read it right before I watched the movie. It was very good, very close to the story, left out very little. Well worth watching-maybe to refresh your memory at some point.


I think I need to watch some adaptations--it will all feel a bit more 'real' to me--help me visualize anyway. I know there are loads of movie versions out there. Maybe that will be a good follow up to my reading. I thought I would jump right in to more mythology reading when I finish the Hamilton book, but now I think maybe I need a break.

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