79* Madeline Miller on Circe (GT, JP)


In this rebroadcast, John and Brandeis neuroscientist Gina Turrigiano (an occasional host and perennial friend of Recall this Book) speak with Madeline Miller, author of the critically acclaimed bestseller Circe. 

They discuss Circe’s place in Greek mythology and in a retelling of the Odyssey “from below” or “from the side,” the concept of “mythological realism,” and the influence of The Once and Future King on Madeline’s writing. They touch too on the sweet family aspects that show up in Homer, and on Odysseus’s changing reputation throughout time. Madeline has two totally unexpected recommendations in our Recallable Books section.

On June 6, 2019, an article based on this podcast appeared in our partner publication, Public Books. 

Ulysse et Mercure devant Circé

[Annibale Caracci, “Ulysses and Circe” c. 1605]

Discussed in this episode:

Circe, Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller

The Odyssey, Homer (trans. Emily Wilson)

Argonautica, Apollonius Rhodius (trans. R.C. Seaton)

Telegony, unknown (trans. H.G. Evelyn-White)

MetamorphosesOvid (trans. Sir Samuel Garth, John Dryden, et al.)

The Once and Future King, T.H. White

I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem, Maryse Conde

The Two Noble Kinsmen, William Shakespeare

A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Flannery O’Connor

Listen to the podcast

Read:  Madeline Miller RTB Transcript Episode 4

Upcoming episodes: Stayed tuned shortly for a delightful essay about Circe by Abigael Good (a Brandeis undergraduate, like Cassie Schifman, the author of last week’s wonderful essay on fantasy and “Twilight baseball”). In May, we feature a conversation with the talented polyglot poet Rajiv Muhabir; it’s about translation, Caribbean and Indian migration, and the difficult attainment of joy.

Author: plotznik

I teach English (mainly the novel and Victorian literature) at Brandeis University, and live in Brookline.

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