It’s been a while since I’ve been able to introduce a conversation on this show as fun. But this one was. I needed it. Maybe you do, too.
Madeline Miller has written some of my favorite novels of the past few years. Her books — the Orange Prize-winning The Song of Achilles and the New York Times No. 1 bestseller Circe, soon to be an HBO series — are brilliant reimaginings of some of the most revered texts in the Western canon. Miller’s also a trained classicist, a Shakespeare director, a Latin teacher, and a Greek mythology obsessive.
This is a conversation about story and myth, about how our conceptions of godliness and human nature have changed, about the difficulty of translation and the resonance of superheroes. We debate whether Achilles is the worst and agree that anyone who loves language should read Sandra Boynton. Miller reveals how to train yourself to write a beautiful sentence and how to steel yourself to tell the stories you burn to see but that the canon has wiped out. And we discuss what character from the Greek canon most resembles President Donald Trump.
This one was a tonic for me. Hopefully, it will be for you, too.
The Odyssey by Homer (translated by Emily Wilson)
Mythos by Stephen Fry
Heroes by Stephen Fry
If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho by Anne Carson
Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
Mythology by Edith Hamilton
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