Blog for the international research project "Our Mythical Childhood… The Reception of Classical Antiquity in Children’s and Young Adults’ Culture in Response to Regional and Global Challenges", financed by the ERC Consolidator Grant led by Prof. Katarzyna Marciniak, Faculty of "Artes Liberales" of the University of Warsaw. Team members: Prof. Susan Deacy and Steve K. Simons, University of Roehampton; Prof. Elizabeth Hale and Dr Miriam Riverlea, University of New England; Prof. Lisa Maurice and Dr Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University; Prof. Daniel A. Nkemleke, Dr Divine Che Neba and Dr Eleanor A. Dasi, University of Yaoundé I; Dr Elżbieta Olechowska, Dr Hanna Paulouskaya, Dr Sonya Nevin, Dott. Edoardo Pecchini, Marta Pszczolińska, Angelina Gerus and the Project Officers: Magdalena Andersen, Maria Makarewicz, and Olga Strycharczyk from the Faculty of "Artes Liberales" UW.
Attention! Children’s book full of mythical monsters!
“Greece! Rome! Monsters!”, written by John Harris and illustrated by a Southern California illustrator – Calef Brown, was published in 2002 by The J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles). The official age range of the target audience is between 9-12 years old.
In the book we find twenty different monsters from mythology (described in an alphabetical order), such as Basilisk, Centaur, Cerberus, Medusa, Minotaur, Pegasus, Sirens, etc. The authors often refer to the famous myths and well known works of literature and art in which the creatures were presented.
Another publication by John Harris, titled “Strong Stuff: Herakles and His Labors” – link
“Greece! Rome! Monsters!” in Barbara Weinlich’s article “The Metanarrative of Picture Books: ‘Reading’ Greek Myth for (and to) Children” (in: “The Reception of Ancient Greece and Rome in Children’s Literature: Heroes and Eagles”, ed. by Lisa Maurice) – link
Dorota Rejter is a PhD student at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales” and a team member of the Our Mythical Childhood project.
On the 1st February 2020 I had the pleasure to give a speech about the “Image of the Goddess of Hunting – Artemis (Diana) in Contemporary Children’s and Young Adults’ Literature Inspired by Antiquity” at a scientific conference “Cynegetica Over the Centuries” that took place in Hunting Palace in Promnice (Poland).
The conference speakers were presenting numerous texts, thanks to which we could get to know the hunting practice in ancient times and later, through the centuries. We were also focusing on the changing nature of hunting expeditions, that today are mostly interpreted and described in works of literature through the prism of ethics and issues related to ecology and the protection of animal rights.
Based on the study of the transformation of the image of mythological female characters in contemporary children’s and young adults’ literature (conducted for the needs of my doctoral dissertation), I chose some interesting examples of the reception of Artemis (Diana) and presented them to the audience. I focused mainly on the new contexts in which the authors decide to place the character of Artemis, on the metamorphoses of her image (including her modern attributes), as well as all the new abilities linked to her character.
In my presentation I analyzed the character of Sidney “Sid” Madison (modern incarnation of Artemis) from the fantasy series “Girls of Olympus” (2008) written by Italian author Elena Kedros, and the character of Artemis from the comic book “Artemis. Wild Goddess of the Hunt” (2017) by George O’Connor. Presenting this two characters I was trying to prove that Artemis in contemporary children’s literature is often presented as a modern character, detached from the ancient sources, and that her creations concentrate mainly on her strong personality, independence, her respect to animals, and her will to protect the nature and innocent people.