Pandora's Jar: Women in the Greek Myths

Category: Book
By (author): Haynes, Natalie
Subject:  HISTORY / Ancient / Greece
  LITERARY CRITICISM / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
  RELIGION / General
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: March 2022
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 320
Size: 8.00in x 5.31in x 0.72in
Our Price:
$ 21.99
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

"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, author of The Handmaid's Tale

The national bestselling author of A Thousand Ships returns with a fascinating, eye-opening take on the remarkable women at the heart of classical stories Greek mythology from Helen of Troy to Pandora and the Amazons to Medea.

The tellers of Greek myths-historically men-have routinely sidelined the female characters. When they do take a larger role, women are often portrayed as monstrous, vengeful or just plain evil-like Pandora, the woman of eternal scorn and damnation whose curiosity is tasked with causing all the world's suffering and wickedness when she opened that forbidden box. But, as Natalie Hayes reveals, in early Greek myths there was no box. It was a jar . . . which is far more likely to tip over. 

In Pandora's Jar, the broadcaster, writer, stand-up comedian, and passionate classicist turns the tables, putting the women of the Greek myths on an equal footing with the men. With wit, humor, and savvy, Haynes revolutionizes our understanding of epic poems, stories, and plays, resurrecting them from a woman's perspective and tracing the origins of their mythic female characters. She looks at women such as Jocasta, Oedipus' mother-turned-lover (turned Freudian sticking point), who gouged out her eyes upon discovering the truth about her new relationship, and was less helpless than we have been led to believe. She considers Helen of Troy-whose face famously "launch'd a thousand ships," but was decidedly more child than woman when she was accused of "causing" the Trojan war. She demonstrates how the vilified Medea was like an ancient Beyonce-getting her revenge on the men who hurt and betrayed her, perhaps justifiably so. And she turns her eye to Medusa-the serpent-like seductress whose stare turned men to stone-who wasn't always a monster, and was far more victim than perpetrator.

Pandora's Jar brings nuance and care to the centuries-old myths and legends and asks  the question: Why we were so quick to villainize these women in the first place-and so eager to accept the stories we've been told?

Review Quote*"Funny, sharp explications of what these sometimes not-very-nice women were up to, and how they sometimes made idiots of . . . but read on!" 
Review Quote*"A hugely enjoyable and witty book, which will appeal to admirers of novels such as Madeline Miller's Circe, Kamila Shamsie's Home Fire, and Haynes's own fiction." 
Review Quote*"Natalie Haynes is both a witty and an erudite guide. She wears her extensive learning lightly and deftly drags the Classics into the modern world. I loved it." 
Review Quote*"Impassioned and informed . . . When Haynes gets down to retelling the stories . . . and teasing out their distortions and elisions, the book flies."
Review Quote*"Natalie Haynes is beyond brilliant. Pandora's Jar is a treasure box of classical delights. Never has ancient misogyny been presented with so much wit and style."
Review Quote*"Beyoncé, Star Trek, Ray Harryhausen . . . the most enjoyable book about Greek myths you will ever read, absolutely brimming with subversive enthusiasm."
Review Quote*"Witty, erudite and subversive, this takes the women of Greek myth―the women who are sidelined, vilified, misunderstood or ignored―and puts them centre stage." 
Review Quote*"Natalie Haynes is [Britain's] muse." 
Review Quote*"An erudite, funny and sometimes angry attempt to fill in the blank spaces."