How Mythology Defined my Literary Career

My Dearest Readers,

After my last post on Madeline Miller’s “Circe” I thought it only appropriate that we talk about my love for mythology and how it defined my literary career. As a literature student, the study of Greek and Roman mythology informed a major part of my studies. However, my first encounter with mythology was not with Greek or Roman mythologies at all, but rather, with Egyptian mythology.

I was five, and the only knowledge i had about Egyptian mummies was from Scooby Doo. Mummies were scary and this belief was reinforced by the kids at school who told me that these terrifying creatures were actually real. And as a child I was terrified. To help me get over my fears, my father bought me encyclopaedias on Egyptian, Greek and Roman mythologies. I read the Egyptian one first, and for the longest time it was my favourite though I found other mythologies fascinating as well.

This love of mythology ensured that when my mamoo (uncle) bought me my first Harry Potter book a year later, I fell absolutely in love with fantasy literature. This love of fantasy and myth still defines my tastes in books. I love fantasy books and specially loves books that reference mythology and folklore.

While throughout my youth, my fascination with mythology and folklore manifested as a preference for reading fantasy literature, I developed an even deeper fascination with mythology when I started studying Classical Drama for my literature degrees. The history of Drama dates back to the Rites of Dionysus in ancient Greece, and as such, Drama has a deep and lasting connection with mythology. Ancient Dramatists often presented their tragedies, comedies and satyrs during the festival of Great Dionysia. Furthermore, Classical Greek dramas, such as those of Sophocles and Euripides, draw heavily from Greek mythology and often revolve around stories of gods and heroes. Moreover, later dramas such as those of Shakespeare and Marlowe also refer back to Greek mythological references.


Since then my interest in mythology and folklore has only grown. Texts that are drawn directly from mythology, such as Madeline Miller’s “Circe“, Margaret Atwood’s “The Penelopiad” and Rick Riordans novels, and texts that refer to mythology, such as Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History” still have a greater hold over me than other types of literature. I hope explore the mythology and folklore of my own country in the following years as well.

I’d love to know what kinds of texts are my readers drawn to!



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