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The King of the Ants Hardcover – 28 Jan 1999

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A collection of prose rewritings of myths and tales. In the title story, "The King of the Ants", Herbert considers the tension between humankind's "solemn idleness" and "progress - that treacherous force". Other pieces include a Chinese tale about the dangers of vanity and authority.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8bd55bac) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
HASH(0x8bcae63c) out of 5 stars Interesting; 3.5 Stars 25 Dec. 2010
By R. Albin - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A short collection of ironic essays by the great poet Zbigniew Herbert. Each essay is an ironic re-telling of a Classical myth or story. Some include allegorical commentary on contemporary events. Generally quite clever and with some intermittently striking language. Not major works but enjoyable.
HASH(0x8be98420) out of 5 stars These essays rather than stories give a political spin to ... 20 April 2015
By Avinesh - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
These essays rather than stories give a political spin to Greek characters usually Gods. They are a amusing read as a political satire but rather disappointing as a read in Greek Mythology.
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8be995cc) out of 5 stars Go read Mr. Cogito instead 8 Jun. 2002
By Mock Duck - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is the first of Herbert's books I've read. I should probably have started with one of his more-acclaimed works. The essays in this book are urbane, literate, and ironic, but they're also extremely inconsistent. Though each is centered on a mythological figure, each jumps around a myriad of topics, only very casually touching on any of them.
Often I felt his mythological inversions were facile or far-fetched to the point of being irritating - maybe they had been leavened with a humor that was lost in translation. What remains is a tone that seems academic, ponderous, and occasionally repetitive to me, like a lecturer who likes too well to listen to himself speak, and makes sweeping statements that seem, on scrutiny, to be a load of hooey - "Two gifts that rarely come in pairs and are therefore considered contradictory: beauty and strength. Beauty . . . is content with itself, sure of its own rights, and can ultimately dispense with confirmation, a contest or wreath. The beautiful lead a quiet life and are rarely entangled in dramatic adventures." Prettily put, but you could negate every sentiment and declare the result with just as much authority.
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