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The Universe, The Gods And Mortals: Ancient Greek Myths [Paperback]

Jean-Pierre Vernant
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 7.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Oct 2002
In this engrossing retelling of Greek myth, Jean-Pierre Vernant combines his profound knowledge of the subject with brilliant and original story-telling. Beginning with the creation of Earth out of Chaos, Vernant continues with the castration of Uranus, the war between the Titans and the gods of Olympus, the wily ruses of Prometheus and Zeus, and the creation of Pandora, the first woman. His narrative takes us from the Trojan War to the voyage of Odysseus, from the story of Dionysus to the terrible destiny of Oedipus and to Perseus's confrontation with the Gorgons. Jean-Pierre Vernant has devoted himself to the study of Greek mythology. In recounting these tales, he unravels for us their multiple meanings and brings to life cherished figures of legend whose stories lie at the origin of our civilization.

Frequently Bought Together

The Universe, The Gods And Mortals: Ancient Greek Myths + The Library of Greek Mythology (Oxford World's Classics) + Greek Gods and Heroes
Price For All Three: 16.47

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; New Ed edition (1 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861973993
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861973993
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


In a cohesive narrative he relates the battles between the gods and men, giving memorable faces to famous names. A cosy read for winter afternoons. -- TNT magazine, December 2001. Book of the Week

Just the ticket if you're seeking a brilliantly discursive and stimulating re-telling of the key legends that form a foundation stone of Western civilisation. -- Birmingham Post, February 2002

Presented in a comprehensible yet informal storytelling style.. -- Hull Daily Mail, January 2002

Vernant is one of the most influential scholars of ancient Greece: the general reader will find this an engrossing, stimulating and lively book. -- Times Literary Supplement, July, 2002

Vernant retells ancient Greek myths in a pellucid, intimate style such as he was wont to use with his grandson at bedtime.(This is)wonderful. -- The Guardian G2, October, 2002

About the Author

Jean-Pierre Vernant is one of the most remarkable classicists of our time. Professor at Paris's Collège de France and author of numerous academic publications on the subject of Greek mythology, Vernant's 'fairy tale' narrative is infused with a wealth of insight as well as a lifetime's knowledge.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read 21 Feb 2007
I first read this book back in 2003 but due to having nothing new to read I am half way through it again. It is an excellent little book and can be completed in a few nights avid reading, although due to the strange Greek names others may want to take longer to digest the Gods/Family history a little more. The book starts out setting the scene telling of how the Gods and the Humans came to be, then moves on to the more fun stories and myths.

Because of it's shortness it is only really a grounding for books of this eara but as a positive the myth's in this form can easily be adapted to be read to children. The best thing about the book is that it is told in a story style rather than a Historical Fact style like so many are which makes it a much more pleasant read.

This is the first Greek setting book I read which got me hooked, has since led me down the Historical fiction route of Pressfield and his much more realistic and gruesome novels.

If you want to quickly get upto speed on who's who in the Gods and some of the characters spoken about in other more detailed novels then this book is the perfect starting point.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting & Enjoyable Overview 29 Nov 2007
This book acts as an interesting and thoroughly engaging introduction to Greek Mythology.
Starting out with 'How the world was created' according to Greek Legend, with God & Goddess names spread throughout, allowing for a previously versed reader to be refreshed, or for a first time reader to easily learn.
The Legends are then told in a short story-like manner, which is an utter delight to read, time and time again.
This book is 'light' in it's writing, but gives much information and a great overview of Greek Mythology.
I highly recommend this book for both young and old alike. You don't even have to have an interest in Ancient Greek Legends to enjoy this book and the stories within.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good entry into Greek mythology 11 Nov 2007
I asked for a book on Greek mythology as although I knew many of the names, I was distinctly hazy on the finer points of who they were and what they did. The book is really an edited down version of the myths and the author makes no bones about pointing out where stories have multiple versions. It is well-written with slightly whimsical comments from the author woven in from time to time. It does get to the heart of the stories without wasting its words and the tales are clearly put across. Greek mythology can be a trifle confusing at times as there are so much entangled lineage and enmities which run through it all but as a gateway into the subject, this book is a winner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some chapters brilliant some slightly boring 11 Oct 2012
By C. Ross
I'd never really know much about the Greek gods and this book really did teach me a great deal. However I would have preferred much more about the legendary myths and less about the historical context as I found this a little tedious and repetitive at times. I did find fascinating how some of the historical context was linked to our everyday life now, but I found it much more enthrauling learning about the exciting adventures. Overall I would say this book is great for a foundation of knowledge but if your only really interested in the myths and heros then I wouldn't advise this book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars top stuff 21 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book looks pretty heavy..but as they say 'never judge a book by its cover'.
It is an absolute delight to read and despite the myriad of names,is very easy to get into.
Did you now Cyclops was Poseidons son?I didnt.
Anyhoo,the only down side for me is the occasional lapse into 'modern' talk..
Oddysseus 'took a powder' etc. which becomes a little more prevailant towards the end of the book,but that may be due in part to the fact that the book was translated from French.
Who knows?Who cares?
I won't,however, look at 'Jason and the Argonauts' (one of my favourite films as a child)in quite the same way ever again.
It is a loose telling of Oddyseus' travels following the sacking of Troy..and frankly the film could have been (still could be) a trilogy that would kick Peter Jacksons LOTR into touch.
But I digress.
This is a fantastic book and well worth reading and then going back to read again.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for a beginning. 14 April 2011
I read this book to get a little bit more of an understanding before I delved into the deeper information in another book I had bought on the same subject. Definately glad I bought it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The myths made simple 1 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
if like me you want get started on the Greek myths this is a great way into a better understanding
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5.0 out of 5 stars Greek Myths 22 Sep 2013
By Anon
Excellent ! An easy read for all ages, and a must if Shakespeare , Milton and many other writers are to be enjoyed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read for a newbie.
Went for this book after reading the other reviews and it wasn't a disappointing decision. A good choice for a first time reader of greek mythology. Would recommend it!
Published on 28 July 2012 by Patty- Ann
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
At last at the tender age of 55 I am finally getting to grips with Greek mythology as a complete novice. Read more
Published on 7 Oct 2011 by Mrs. E. M. Nevin
1.0 out of 5 stars Hard to understand
I find this book very dry and hard to understand... I have not made it past how the universe was formed. Read more
Published on 2 Sep 2011 by Danica
2.0 out of 5 stars Call me shallow but...
I want from an "entree" into the colossal maze of Greek Mythology but 3 things:
(a) idiot proof attempt at a "time-line" or "genealogy tree"
(b) pictures - both from... Read more
Published on 9 Mar 2011 by Ginola14
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning insight to Ancient Greek myths
This book is amazing. I received it as a Christmas present from a friend and found myself unable to put it down. Read more
Published on 18 Dec 2010 by bookfairy
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good text
The book is perfect to understand and get started in the world of greek myths. It is very "reader-friendly" in the sense that uses simple words but the ideas are clear. Read more
Published on 5 Nov 2010 by Suizonas
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read like a novel!
I would HIGHLY recommend this for beginners in greek mythology with little or no prior knowledge. Usually a lot of books/encyclopaeds narrate mythological details and history in a... Read more
Published on 5 Oct 2010 by L. Siddiqui
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I bought this for my son who had been studying myths at school. He found it fascinating
Published on 3 Oct 2010 by M. E. L. Stonestreet
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