October 2020 Book of the Month
"Reading Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes: Funny, sharp explications of what these sometimes not-very-nice women were up to, and how they sometimes made idiots of... but read on!" - Margaret Atwood.
In traditional retellings of the Greek myths, the focus is invariably on gods and men, but in Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths, Natalie Haynes refocuses our gaze on the remarkable women at the centre of these ancient stories.
Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, from Jason and the Argonauts to the wars of Troy. Today, a wealth of novels, plays and films draw their inspiration from stories first told almost three thousand years ago. But modern tellers of Greek myth have usually been men and have rarely shown interest in telling women’s stories. And when they do, those women are often painted as monstrous, vengeful or just plain evil.
Taking Pandora and her jar (the box was a mistranslation by Erasmus) as the starting point, Haynes puts the women of the Greek myths on equal footing with the menfolk. After millennia of stories telling of gods and men, be they Zeus, Odysseus or Oedipus, the voices that sing from these pages are those of Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Eurydice and Penelope.
"The forgotten women are vividly brought to life in this moving, intelligent and witty book" - Martha Kearney, BBC Radio 4.