Monday, February 23, 2009

Padraic Colum

A lifelong friend of James Joyce, Padraic Colum lived from 1881-1972. He was a poet and leader of the Irish Renaissance and retold several of the Greek myths, including "The Golden Fleece," which I read last week.

Publisher's Weekly once wrote that Mr. Colum's "stirring telling of the Greek epics is still unequaled as an introduction to the classic myths for young readers." Their endorsement still graces his book's paperback cover.

I noticed it after I finished "The Golden Fleece." While I am targeting an adult audience with PHAIAKIA, my own Greek epic, I couldn't help but be impressed by Publisher Weekly's statement. I'm pinning it on my bulletin board as inspiration for my ongoing work.

One can dream, right? D.A. Riser's "stirring telling of the Greek epics is unequaled as an introduction to the classic myths."


  1. The retellings shound great. Do they stick true-to-story (as we know it) or are there liberties the author takes?
    Love mythology (if you haven't figured that out by now).

  2. Sounds like a lofty goal--I have to admit that I'm similarly affected by reviews of this sort. While I haven't posted one yet (on my BB), I do feel compelled to buy/read a book with this sort of impressive review. I simply must know what it takes to garner one.

  3. PJ -- Mr. Colum is very 'by the book.' I only noticed a couple of sanitizations. In reading the old myths, most of the time there are already so many numerous ancient versions of every story available that one author has to pick and choose which to rely upon. Mr. Colum does that fairly well, but he also showcases his knowledge a little too frequently for my taste (i.e., plenty of tangents).

  4. Hi Alyssa, I should probably caveat that I personally wouldn't give "The Golden Fleece" as high a review. My suspicion is that Publisher's Weekly gave Mr. Colum their praise back in the 1920's when attention spans didn't wander quite as much. In other words, it's a nice retelling that fans of mythology will enjoy, but I can't see it being very popular with today's general public.

    Still, that said, I do want to garner the same praise for my own work.