Including many of the greatest stories ever told - the labours of Hercules, the voyage of the Argonauts, Theseus and the minotaur, Midas and his golden touch, the Trojan War and Odysseus's journey home - Robert Graves's superb and comprehensive retelling of the Greek myths for a modern audience has been regarded for over fifty years as the definitive version. With a novelist's skill and a poet's eye, Graves draws on the entire canon of ancient literature, bringing together all the elements of every myth into one epic and unforgettable story. Ideal for the first time reader, it can be read as a single, continuous narrative, while full commentaries, with cross-references, interpretations, variants and explanations, as well as a comprehensive index of names, make it equally valuable as a work of scholarly reference for anyone seeking an authoritative and detailed account of the gods, heroes and extraordinary events that provide the bedrock of Western literature. The result is a classic among classics, a treasure trove of extraordinary tales and a masterful work of literature in its own right.
The first book is pretty much the early creation myths, and stories about local heroes, all early stuff, along with Perseus and Theseus. The second covers Oedipus, Heracles, Jason and the Argonauts, and the mythic side of Homer, all later additions to the Greek saga.
As a concluding remark, these make a great reference and are important works of scholarship, but Edith Hamilton's 'Mythology' is a much more accessible, concise and frankly handier book on the subject, and is a easy to find Signet paperback. Her 'The Greek Way' is also a great primer on the literary history of Athens.
Review of Volume II: Boy am I glad that's over. Not a very interesting book as far as the mythic stories are concerned, but filled to overflowing with the data that makes up those stories. They just had all of the fun sucked out of them and replaced with information. Like trying to read Leviticus and all of the geneologies and laws that it contains. A great compendium, but a boring read. I have honestly never fallen asleep so many times reading any single book ever. Still, it is an impressive work that will be referred back to many times over.