Medea betrayed her father and left her homeland for the love of Jason. Then when he abandoned her, she murdered her children. But did she? And what of Clytemnestra, the conniving adulteress? For ten years she plotted the murder of her husband Agamemnon, King of Mycenae and Conqueror of Troy. How would she have told her story?
The Greek myths as we know them were told for men by men. Yet they were the culmination of a long oral tradition in which both men and women shared. Using extant ancient literary sources as her guide, including the works of Homer, Aeschylus, Euripides and Apollodorus, Jane Cahill reconstructs the stories as they might have been told to women by women. These are stories of wronged women, inspired women, determined women, tender women. Medusa tells how it is to know that one look at her face will turn a man to stone, to be hated and feared all the time. Jocasta, Queen of Thebes, confesses her love for the young man who came to save her city from the Sphinx—her son, Oedipus.
Each story is accompanied by extensive notes which discuss the ancient sources, explain relevant Greek concepts and customs, and serve as a guide to further reading.
“For people who know the stories, Cahill has sly surprising insights in store. For those who don’t, this book could show how it is possible to reconnect with tradition by retelling it, for ourselves.” — Margaret Visser, Toronto
“In this engaging book Jane Cahill draws on her knowlege of the ancient sources to let women in Greek myth speak for themselves about their experiences. Her narratives are provocative, informative, and eerily persuasive.” — Professor Mary R. Lefkowitz, Wellesley College
“In order for the western tradition to survive, it must continually be reinvented. Professor Cahill’s reinvention of the myths is brilliant and salutory: if women did not really tell the tales she tells, they should have—and now they can, and so can we all.” — Professor David Ball, Smith College