The Greek myths, refined by the great poets and playwrights of Ancient Greece, distil the essence of human life: its brief span, its pride, courage and insecurity, its anxious relationship with the natural world – earth, sea and sky, represented by powerful gods and monsters.
Taking inspiration from the incomparably beautiful and intense poetry of Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, Spurling – a lifelong classicist and an award-winning playwright and historical novelist – spins five more myths for contemporary readers. These captivating tales centre on male-female pairs – Prometheus and Pandora, Jason and the sorceress Medea, Oedipus and his daughter Antigone, Achilles and his mother Thetis, Odysseus and Penelope – that destroyed dynasties, raised and felled heroes, and sealed the fates of men.
Ancient as they are, the Greek myths still resonate at the core of our literature and culture, and may well reveal more about human nature and the world we have created than we like to believe.
From the garden of his house in the Peloponnese overlooking the gulf of Argos, award-winning playwright and novelist John Spurling draws on a lifetime’s engagement with the classics and with Greek culture to reanimate the characters of Apollo, Herakles, Theseus, Perseus and Agamemnon, along with the gods, demi-gods, monsters and mortals who shaped their destinies. Gripping, spirited and sometimes grisly, Spurling’s fresh interpretations of these timeless tales bring both their heroes and their context vividly to life.
***PRAISE FOR ARCADIAN NIGHTS***
‘A brilliant, riveting book that leaves its competitors behind, blinking into the distance, as surely as Theseus left Ariadne’ TLS
‘Classicists and non-classicists alike will love Arcadian Nights… a great book‘ Oxford Today
‘This book shines… seamlessly interweaving personal and historical perspectives’ Historical Novels Review
‘An excellent read that examines the intricacies of storytelling and the complexities of human nature’ The Lady