Mythos by Stephen Fry

It seems that an educated man is expected be well versed in Greek mythology, at least in the western world. For me, however, the impression has been that it is just a long list of names of gods, half gods, creatures and people doing strange things for no obvious reasons. Stephen Fry’s book Mythos then seems to be a convenient way for me to reach the status of educated.

In Mythos Fry has collected a set of his favourite stories from the Greek traditions and retells them in a very good mood, keeping in line with the book’s subtitle The Greek Myths Retold. There are however no new interpretations; the stories are simply told once more. This was good news to me, because it turned out that I actually knew almost all stories from before, and therefore can consider myself pre-educated.

The book is rather useless as a reference book, because it jumps quite generously in time and tend to organise the stories in a loosely thematic manner. It makes the book feel like a session of the author telling anecdotes in the order they occur to him. And since the author is Stephen Fry, it is a very entertaining session. The selection of stories is certainly not complete, many constellations in the night sky are absent from the book, and it is also a bit unbalanced where some are significantly more fleshed out than others. Mythos is thus a bit messy to read, but it is an entertaining mess.

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