Monday, January 18, 2016

A Vintage Reads Classic Review: Jason and the Argonauts

Jason and the Argonauts by Apollonius of Rhodes and translated by Aaron Poochigian, October 28, 2014. 272 pages. Published by Penguin Classics. Source: publisher.
Now in a riveting new verse translation Jason and the Argonauts (also known as the Argonautica), is the only surviving full account of Jason’s voyage on the Argo in quest of the Golden Fleece aided by the sorceress princess Medea. Written in third century B.C., this epic story of one of the most beloved heroes of Greek mythology, with its combination of the fantastical and the real, its engagement with traditions of science, astronomy and medicine, winged heroes, and a magical vessel that speaks, is truly without exact parallel in classical or contemporary Greek literature and is now available in an accessible and engaging translation.
First Sentence:
Taking my lead from, Phoebus Apollo, I shall commemorate the deeds of men born long ago.

A couple years ago, I used to read a ton of classics each year. Yet over the last two years I failed to pick a single one up, and, you know what, that made me disappointed in myself. So, this year I plan on reading so many classics and even talking about them here.

First up, Jason and the Argonauts with a new translation by Aaron Poochigian.

The quest for the Golden Fleece and the plight of Jason and the crew of the Argo is one story that I was semi-familiar with. Not that I had ever actually read the entire story though, it was just one that I knew from reading other tales from Greek mythology.

There were many things that I liked about Jason and the Argonauts, but, what really made this book such an enjoyable read was the translation. The translation was so so readable which made it highly enjoyable. While it was definitely an easier read, I was a little surprised with how different a couple of the "big" players came across.

Top 3 Reasons I Enjoyed- Jason and the Argonauts
  1. I liked the camaraderie shown between the heroes of the Argo. They may not have always gotten along well, you know being that they all thought highly of themselves, but I enjoyed seeing the lengths they would go for each other.
  2. I enjoyed reading about their trials as they set out to help Jason acquire the Golden Fleece.Ah, boy did they go through a lot, and that was just in the process of sailing to where it the Golden Fleece was. 
  3. The writing, I just enjoyed it. Sure, there were a couple things I did not like about the overall story (I'm sure you can guess what) but it was an interesting read nonetheless.
So, if you're looking to dive into a classic story and don't want to feel intimidated, than this is the book for you. Don't be scared because it reads really, really well and is quite interesting. I, personally, had trouble setting this one down because it just pulled me in.

Final Verdict: Jason and the Argonauts- A good translation if you want to try out Greek literature for the first time. 

Jason and the Argonauts earns
An ARC of this book was received in consideration for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

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