Here's a fun series to collect: In the same vein as the Hogarth Shakespeare
series, Canongate's Myth series
asked authors to reimagine mythological stories placing them in a new context. The series covers the standard Western culture myths (Atlas, Oedipus, Penelope, Prometheus, the Minotaur, Samson, Jesus) as well as myths from other cultures (Baba Yaga, Izanagi, Ragnarok, Meng Jiang Nu, King Gesar and Norse mythology in general).
Each book is a novella - a short read in a smallish package. The books measure, on average, 5x8 inches and are in the range of 200 pages long. They were first published as hardbacks.
The series was published between 2005 and 2013, with the first three novellas published on October 21, 2005.
A signed limited edition box set of the first three titles was published in tandem with the trade edition. The print run for the boxed set was 1,500 copies. At the time of this post, they were listing at Abebooks
for between $100 and $300.
The trade edition was published in hardback with dust jackets. No print run numbers were listed for these titles. Unsigned first printings of most of the titles can be found in fine condition for less than $10.
This is a fun series to collect because it's limited to 18 titles (fewer if you only choose to collect the titles translated into English). The cost, if you're not acquiring signed copies, is rather inexpensive and some of the stories are quite good. In fact, some of the signed copies are fairly inexpensive as well.
You can look for titles at Abebooks
, or your local indie bookstore. (note: I'm an affiliate with Powell's but not the other folks).
When the series initially came out it met with mixed reviews. The publishing world, however, touted it as "one of the most ambitious acts of mass storytelling in recent years."
A list of titles as they correlate to mythological characters can be found over on Wikipedia
(all publication dates are for the first English edition, other languages may have been published prior and are indicated with an *
- A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong (Oct. 21, 2005 - US/UK)
- The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (Oct. 21, 2005 - US/UK)
- Weight by Jeanette Winterson (Oct. 21, 2005 - US/UK)
- The Helmet of Horror by Victor Pelevin, trans. Andrew Bromfield (March 2, 2006 - US)*
- Lion's Honey by David Grossman, trans. Stuart Schoffman (March 23, 2006 - US/UK)*
- Dream Angus by Alexander McCall Smith (Sept. 12, 2006 - US)
- Anna In w grobowcach świata (Anna In and the Tombs of the World) by Olga Tokarczuk, not translated (2006 - Poland)*
- Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith (Nov. 1, 2007 - UK)
- Binu and the Great Wall by Su Tong, trans. Howard Goldblatt (Nov. 1, 2007 - UK)*
- Where Three Roads Meet by Salley Vickers (Nov. 1, 2007 - UK)
- The Fire Gospel by Michel Faber (Nov. 2008 - UK)
- Orphans of Eldorado by Milton Hatoum (Jan. 2008 - Brazil)*
- Baba Yaga Laid an Egg by Dubravka Ugresic (May 2009 - UK)*
- The Hurricane Party by Klas Ostergren (2009)
- The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman (April 2010)
- Ragnarok: The End of Gods by A.S. Byatt (Sept. 2011 - UK)
- The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino, trans. Rebecca Copeland (March 3, 2013)
- The Song of King Gesar by Alai, trans. Howard Goldblatt (Nov. 2013 - UK)