Mythology

Ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Norse people, used mythology to define their cultures, enlighten themselves about the surrounding world, and teach important life lessons within their societies. This study guide collection showcases a variety of mythological texts, from epic poems (Homer’s The Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid) to modern interpretations of mythology (Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman and The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood), demonstrating our timeless connection to a rich mythological past. To learn more about this genre, please visit our Folklore and Mythology Resource Guide.

Publication year 1821Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Identity: Language, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Lyric Poem, Mythology, Romanticism / Romantic Period, Grief / Death

The death of the young has been a thematic concern in literature since Antiquity. That untimely demise not only exposes human vulnerability but makes for melancholic contemplation over the waste of beauty, confidence, and youth’s energy. And when that person is an artist, still young and learning, the implications seem more tragic. Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Adonais” (1821) is at one level a contemplation of the sudden death in 1821 of fellow poet John Keats. Keats... Read Adonais Summary


Publication year -1Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Values/Ideas: FateTags Mythology, Narrative / Epic Poem, Ancient Rome, Italian Literature

An epic poem composed by the Roman poet Virgil between the years of 29 and 19 BCE, the Aeneid represents one of the most important and influential works in Western literature. It centers on the story of Aeneas, a refugee from the Trojan War who was fated to found the Roman nation in Italy. This guide refers to the Oxford World Classic’s edition of the Aeneid, translated by Frederick Ahl. All study guide citations refer... Read Aeneid Summary


Publication year 2024Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Identity: Femininity, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Marriage, Self Discovery, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Fantasy, Romance, Mythology, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 458Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Classic Fiction, Mythology, Fantasy, Play: Tragedy

Agamemnon is an Attic tragedy—a work of the fifth century BCE in Athens—composed by Aeschylus (circa 525-circa 456 BCE). The play was first performed at the City Dionysia in 458 BCE. Agamemnon was the first part of the Oresteia, Aeschylus’s trilogy on the murder of Agamemnon and its grisly aftermath. It was followed by the tragedies Libation Bearers and Eumenides, which also survived, and by a satyr play titled Proteus, which was lost. The play... Read Agamemnon Summary


Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Classic Fiction, Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Greece

Ajax is an ancient Athenian tragedy by Sophocles. Its production date, the festival at which it was first presented, and the other tragedies performed alongside it remain unknown, but it is believed to be among Sophocles’s earlier plays, possibly from the 440s BC. The narrative retells a story from Trojan war mythology concerning the suicide of the hero Ajax and its aftermath, exploring the hero’s excesses, reversals of fortune, and social bonds.This study guide refers... Read Ajax Summary


Publication year 1816Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Lyric Poem, Philosophy, Mythology

Publication year 2001Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Immigration, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Fantasy, Mythology

American Gods is a 2001 fantasy novel by English author Neil Gaiman. Blending folklore, mythology, religion, and American culture, the novel brings together gods from disparate cultures and times as they reckon with an existential threat. The novel has been adapted for television, and Gaiman has expanded the American Gods universe with indirect sequels such as Anansi Boys. The book won critical acclaim and many awards, including the 2002 Nebula and Hugo awards, two of... Read American Gods Summary


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Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags Classic Fiction, Ancient Greece, Mythology, Play: Drama, Play: Tragedy

Sophocles, one of the three great ancient Greek tragedians, premiered Antigone in Athens circa 441 BCE. The Classical Greek theater tradition to which this play belongs began in Athens in the sixth century B.C.E. with the performance of plays in dramatic competitions at yearly religious festivals. The forms of comedy and tragedy, first developed in plays such as Antigone, have lasting influence on theater today. This study guide uses the 2003 Oxford University Press edition... Read Antigone Summary


Publication year 1919Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Fathers, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Emotions/Behavior: NostalgiaTags Lyric Poem, Parenting, Mythology

“A Prayer for my Daughter” by William Butler (W.B.) Yeats was originally published in his collection Michael Robartes and the Dancer in 1921. This book also includes one of Yeats’s most famous poems—“the Second Coming”—and was Yeats’s eighth collection of lyrical poems. “A Prayer for my daughter” was written in 1919, a year that marked the beginning of the Irish War of Independence. The war lasted until 1921 and heavily influenced Yeats. The poem’s location... Read A Prayer for My Daughter Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Relationships: Mothers, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Fantasy, Mythology, Historical Fiction, Romance

Publication year 2001Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Relationships: Teams, Natural World: Environment, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: FamilyTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Mythology

Artemis Fowl (2001) is the first of 11 fantasy novels in the Fowl Adventures series. It was written by Eoin Colfer, an Irish writer, and details the titular character’s attempt to restore his family’s fortune by kidnapping an elf named Holly Short. Taking place in Colfer’s home country of Ireland, the novel is also his first foray into the fantasy genre. The novel explores themes of community, environmentalism, and the line between magic and science.In... Read Artemis Fowl Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Equality, Self Discovery, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: courageTags Fantasy, Mythology, Magical Realism, Race / Racism

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Identity: Femininity, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Space & The Universe, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Teams, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Gender, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Sexuality, Society: ClassTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Mythology, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Historical Fiction, Gender / Feminism

Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Relationships: Mothers, Values/Ideas: FateTags Fantasy, Romance, Mythology

Publication year 1993Genre Novel, FictionTags Mythology

Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad is a children’s novel written by Rosemary Sutcliff and illustrated by Alan Lee. The novel was published posthumously in 1993 and retells Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, for elementary school readers. Sutcliff has received great acclaim for her ability to make dense material accessible to younger audiences; Black Ships Before Troy follows her widely praised retellings of Arthurian legends. Sutcliff received an OBE in 1975 for... Read Black Ships Before Troy Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: GenderTags Mythology, Gender / Feminism, History: European, Historical Fiction

Published in 2018, Circe retells the story of the eponymous Greek mythological figure. Although traditionally viewed as a heartless, savagely beautiful witch who lures sailors to their deaths, the Circe of Madeline Miller’s imagining is quite different. This Circe is a multidimensional, flawed, and empathetic character struggling to find meaning and worth in her immortal life. Through Miller’s detailed and honest first-person narrative, which takes place over thousands of years, the evil witch becomes relatable.The... Read Circe Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Identity: Femininity, Relationships: Family, Society: Politics & Government, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Mythology, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 170Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: FateTags Classic Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology, Romance, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome

Content Warning: The source text and study guide both contain references to suicide.“Cupid and Psyche” is a story from the ancient Roman novel The Metamorphoses (also known as The Golden Ass) by Apuleius, written around 160 CE. The story describes the love between Cupid, the god of love, and Psyche (pronounced SY-kee), a young woman, and the trials they undergo as the result of human and divine meddling.Although the legend of Cupid and Psyche was... Read Cupid and Psyche Summary


Publication year 422Genre Play, FictionThemes Identity: Masculinity, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: RevengeTags Mythology, Ancient Greece, Classical Period, Play: Comedy / Satire, Drama / Tragedy, Arts / Culture, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Fantasy, Mythology, Romance, Asian Literature

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Economics, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Fantasy, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Mythology, Action / Adventure, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 1968Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Identity: Femininity, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Lyric Poem, African American Literature, Black Arts Movement, Black Lives Matter, Gender / Feminism, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Race / Racism, Mythology

“Ego Tripping,” also known as “Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why),” is one of American poet Nikki Giovanni’s most well-known poems. Giovanni first published this poem in 1972, which is the year that also marks Giovanni’s first trip to Africa, three years after the birth of her son. As the title of the poem suggests, this poem is a fulsome celebration of the many facets of Giovanni’s identity as a Black woman. Written... Read Ego Tripping Summary


Publication year 450Genre Play, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Fate, Relationships: Siblings, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Grief / Death, Ancient Greece

Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Relationships: Siblings, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & AngerTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Greece, Classical Period, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 1818Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Beauty, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Natural World: Flora/plants, Natural World: Place, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Mythology, Romanticism / Romantic Period

Publication year 2014Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: SexualityTags Mythology, Lyric Poem, Grief / Death, Love / Sexuality

Publication year 2013Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Relationships: MarriageTags Mythology, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Gender / Feminism, Relationships, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2020Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Identity: Masculinity, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Lyric Poem, Gender / Feminism, African American Literature, Mythology

Publication year 1971Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & AngerTags Fantasy, Mythology, Post Modernism

John Gardner’s 1971 novel Grendel is a retelling of the story of Beowulf, an Anglo-Saxon epic poem from the 6th century, from the perspective of the villain, the monster Grendel. In Grendel, the monster Grendel is an anti-hero, challenging the conventions of traditionally heroic behavior as he tries to understand the world in which he lives. In 1982, an animated Australian film adaptation of the novel called Grendel Grendel Grendel was released in major cities... Read Grendel Summary


Publication year 1975Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Identity: Mental Health, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Relationships: FamilyTags Lyric Poem, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Mental Illness, Gender / Feminism, Arts / Culture, Mythology

Louise Glück is among the most lauded poets in the American canon. Glück’s writing is often surgically precise in terms of formal craft, and reveals a deep emotional complexity. She addresses sadness, mourning, trauma, and individual suffering metaphorically through the natural world, mythology, autobiographical events, or universal truths. She is known for alluding to cultural myths and personas in her work, some of which appear in “Gretel in Darkness” through the perspective of young Gretel... Read Gretel in Darkness Summary


Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & AngerTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Greece, Classical Period, Grief / Death, History: European, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Fate, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Classic Fiction, Mythology, Play: Tragedy

Publication year -416Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Greece, Classical Period

Publication year 1598Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: FateTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Mythology, Renaissance, Love / Sexuality

Hero and Leander is an epyllion (brief epic) by 16th-century English poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe. It can also be described as a mythological-erotic poem, one of a number of such poems that were published in England around this time, including Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis. The poem is based on the ancient Greek story of two tragic lovers. The exact date of composition is not known but the poem was published in 1598, five years... Read Hero and Leander Summary


Publication year 1966Genre Short Story Collection, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Mythology, Ancient Greece

Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths by Bernard Evslin was first published in hardcover in 1967. A collection of stories from ancient Greek and Roman mythology retold for a young adult audience, it is considered a modern classic in the genre of ancient myth retellings.Plot SummaryIn a short introduction, Evslin shares his personal experience hearing stories from Greek mythology as a child and explains how he understands them. He notes that ancient Greek... Read Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths Summary


Publication year 428Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Identity: Sexuality, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Greece, Classical Period

Hippolytus is a tragedy by Euripides, originally produced in Athens at the City Dionysia of 428 BCE. The tetralogy to which Hippolytus belonged earned Euripides the first prize that year. According to ancient authorities, this was Euripides’s second attempt at a play on the myth of Hippolytus, his earlier play having apparently horrified contemporary Athenians with its allegedly sensational depiction of Phaedra. Euripides’s original Hippolytus no longer survives, but the revised play quickly came to... Read Hippolytus Summary


Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Relationships: Marriage, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Ancient Greece, Narrative / Epic Poem, Mythology

Publication year 1986Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Lyric Poem, Immigration / Refugee, Mythology

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Society: Immigration, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Realistic Fiction, Mythology, Immigration / Refugee, Social Justice, Politics / Government, Relationships, American Literature, Latin American Literature

Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Identity: Gender, Society: NationTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Classic Fiction

Publication year 1871Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Natural World: AnimalsTags Mythology

Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionTags Mythology, Narrative / Epic Poem, Classic Fiction, Fantasy, Ancient Greece

Jason and the Golden Fleece is a Greek epic poem written by Apollonius of Rhodes during the third century BCE. A scholar of the Library of Alexandria, Apollonius draws on and adapts Homeric themes, motifs, and techniques and incorporates a vast knowledge of geography, religion, and ancient and modern cultures. The epic has also been published under the titles Jason and the Argonauts, The Voyage of the Argo, and the Argonautica. It is the only... Read Jason and the Golden Fleece Summary


Publication year 1953Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: FateTags Classic Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Fantasy, Mythology, Action / Adventure, Asian Literature

Publication year 1960Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & PrideTags Mythology, Ekphrastic, Free verse, Modernism, Grief / Death, Science / Nature

Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Marriage, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Siblings, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology, Military / War

Publication year 1924Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: WarTags Lyric Poem, Mythology, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Love / Sexuality

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Gender, Relationships: TeamsTags Fantasy, Mythology, Action / Adventure, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Gender / Feminism, Grief / Death, Love / Sexuality, American Literature

Publication year 2021Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Gender, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Fantasy, Romance, Mythology, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Race, Identity: Mental Health, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: MusicTags Historical Fiction, Romance, Mythology, Civil Rights / Jim Crow, Grief / Death, History: World, Love / Sexuality, Military / War, Music, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, WWI / World War I, WWII / World War II

Publication year 1964Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Mental HealthTags Psychology, Mythology, Relationships

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Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: MarriageTags Mythology, Play: Tragedy, Classic Fiction, Ancient Greece

Medea is a tragic play written by the ancient Greek playwright Euripides. It was composed in 431 BCE as Euripides’s entry for the Dionysia, an important religious festival and theatrical competition in the city of Athens. Though Medea placed third in the competition that year, it has since become one of Euripides’s most popular works, enjoying special attention for its nuanced treatment of revenge and domestic strife and for the complexity of its lead character... Read Medea Summary


Publication year 49Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Identity: Femininity, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Rome

Publication year 1938Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: AnimalsTags Lyric Poem, Animals, Modernism, Mythology

Publication year 1942Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Mythology, Classical Period

Originally published in 1942, Mythology is primarily a compendium of Greek and Roman myths, with a brief final section on Norse mythology, written by American educator and classicist Edith Hamilton. Hamilton engages with the myths as both a storyteller and a literary critic. She organizes and retells the myths narrated in ancient sources, and she assesses those ancient sources as works of literature. Her approach is grounded in the assumptions that Greek and Roman civilizations... Read Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Identity: Gender, Identity: Sexuality, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Romance, Fantasy, Mythology

Publication year 1200Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Relationships: FamilyTags Classic Fiction, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, Narrative / Epic Poem, Mythology

Sometimes referred to as the “German Iliad,” Nibelungenlied is a 13th-century German epic poem that combines historical events with German heroic legend. The epic’s poet is unknown—though some clues within the text suggest that he was from Passau, Germany. The epic, which literally translates to “The Song of the Nibelungs” in English, portrays the Burgundians’ historic defeat by the Huns in the 5th century—the tragic result of the mythical queen Kriemhild’s desire to avenge her... Read Nibelungenlied Summary


Publication year 1280Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Identity: Masculinity, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Mythology, Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction

Njal’s Saga is a late medieval Icelandic family saga authored around 1280 but set around the year 1000. It combines legend and history—many of its protagonists were historical figures, and other historical sources corroborate some of the major events the saga mentions. However, the author also embellishes characters and events as he describes them in the saga.The saga recounts intermarriage, friendships, and tragic blood feuds between multiple Icelandic families who trace their ancestry back to... Read Njals Saga Summary


Publication year 1999Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Mythology

No Great Mischief is a 1999 bildungsroman by Canadian novelist Alistair MacLeod. The story begins with Alexander MacDonald, a successful Canadian orthodontist, driving to Toronto to visit his brother, Calum. He searches for his brother’s apartment through the city’s seedier districts and eventually finds the right place. Calum is an alcoholic, one of many people left behind by the modern world. They speak together in English and Gaelic, reminiscing about their family. As Calum becomes... Read No Great Mischief Summary


Publication year 1916Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Society: War, Values/Ideas: BeautyTags Mythology

Publication year 60Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: FateTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology

Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: FateTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality, Ancient Greece, Classic Fiction

Sophocles’s play Oedipus Rex, first performed in the early-to-mid 400s BCE, is one of the most famous and influential tragedies left to us from the ancient Greek tradition. Based on the myth of Oedipus, whose cursed fate was to marry his mother and kill his father, the play explores themes of destiny, free will, and literal and metaphoric vision and blindness. This guide uses the 1984 Penguin edition of The Three Theban Plays, translated by... Read Oedipus Rex Summary


Publication year 1939Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Life/Time: Childhood & YouthTags Philosophy, Fantasy, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Mythology

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Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Classic Fiction, Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Greece

Written in 458 BC by Greek playwright Aeschylus, The Oresteia is a trilogy of plays that includes Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides, as well as the lost satyr play, Proteus. The plays of The Oresteia are classic tragedies, a dramatic genre focused on the piteous and cathartic downfall of great heroes. The plays were written to be performed at the City Dionysia festival which celebrated Dionysus, god of wine and theater. The festival was... Read Oresteia Summary


Publication year 409Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: RevengeTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Greece, Drama / Tragedy, Play: Drama

Publication year 1994Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Mythology, Religion / Spirituality, Fairy Tale / Folklore

Publication year 1215Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Self Discovery, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Classic Fiction, Narrative / Epic Poem, Mythology, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, German literature

Parzival is a medieval romance poem written by Wolfram von Eschenbach, likely written during the early 1200s. In the poem, a knight named Parzival searches for the Holy Grail. Commonly associated with the stories of King Arthur, Parzival is regarded as one of the most important verse poems of the medieval German period. The story has been adapted many times, notably as an opera named Parsifal by the composer Richard Wagner. This guide uses the... Read Parzival Summary


Publication year 54Genre Play, FictionTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Classical Period, Ancient Rome, Drama / Tragedy, Play: Drama

Phaedra is one of the 10 surviving Roman tragedies attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca. It was probably composed in the first half of the first century CE, during the time when the Julio-Claudian Dynasty was in power in Rome. Considered one of Seneca’s most influential plays, Phaedra tells the story of Phaedra’s disastrous and unrequited passion for her stepson Hippolytus, loosely drawing on Euripides’s much earlier Greek tragedy, Hippolytus. The play explores themes such as... Read Phaedra Summary


Publication year 1677Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Relationships: Daughters & SonsTags Play: Tragedy, Play: Drama, Mythology, French Literature, Neoclassical

Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: FriendshipTags Mythology, Play: Tragedy, Ancient Greece

Philoctetes is a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles, which was first performed in ancient Greece during the Peloponnesian War in 409 BC. It was performed at the ancient Greek festival of City Dionysia, where it was awarded first prize. Philoctetes takes place during the final year of the Trojan War and explores themes of friendship, trauma, deception versus morality, fate, and the individual versus the collective. This study guide uses the translation of Sophocles’ play... Read Philoctetes Summary


Publication year 1816Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Lyric Poem, Mythology, Romanticism / Romantic Period

Publication year 8Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Classic Fiction, Mythology, Narrative / Epic Poem, Love / Sexuality, Classical Period

“Pyramus and Thisbe” is an episode from Book 4 of the Metamorphoses, an epic poem published by the Roman poet Ovid in 8 AD. In contrast to the epics of Ovid’s contemporaries (like Virgil’s Aeneid), the Metamorphoses does not focus on a single, cohesive narrative. Rather, Ovid takes as his theme “bodies changed to other forms” (Book 1, Line 1) and fittingly, his Metamorphoses is a work in constant state of change. Its 15 books... Read Pyramus and Thisbe Summary


Publication year 1813Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Natural World: Place, Natural World: Environment, Life/Time: The Future, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: WarTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Christian literature, Poetry: Dramatic Poem, Mythology, Fantasy, Philosophy, Politics / Government, Military / War, History: World, Science / Nature, Religion / Spirituality, Grief / Death, Romanticism / Romantic Period, British Literature

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Identity: Indigenous, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Siblings, Self Discovery, Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Fantasy, Mythology, Action / Adventure

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Fantasy, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Mythology, Humor, Action / Adventure

Publication year 1974Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Mythology, Love / Sexuality

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Teams, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Mythology, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 1981Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Identity: Femininity, Values/Ideas: BeautyTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Gender / Feminism, Mythology

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Relationships: Family, Identity: Masculinity, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Relationships: Mothers, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Equality, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & PrideTags Mythology, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Gender / Feminism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 1200Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Mythology, Narrative / Epic Poem, History: African , African Literature

Sundiata (also known as Sunjata) is an epic poem of the West African Mandinka (or Malinke) people. There is no single definitive source or version of this story, which originated in oral traditions of the 13th century and was passed down by griots, Mandinka poet-historians and regal advisors. Sundiata is a quasi-mythological biography of King Sundiata Keita, who founded the Mali Empire, which lasted from 1235 to 1400. The poem is also a central cultural... Read Sundiata (Sunjata) Summary


Publication year 1791Genre Poem, FictionTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Mythology, Romanticism / Romantic Period

Publication year 1969Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Identity: Masculinity, Society: WarTags Mythology, Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, History: European, Military / War, History: World

Publication year 2007Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Relationships: Siblings, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mythology, Action / Adventure, Fairy Tale / Folklore

Irish author Michael Scott’s The Alchemyst, published in 2007, is the first installment in his six-part series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. This guide refers to the 2007 Kindle edition. The following books are The Magician (2008), The Sorceress (2009), The Necromancer (2010), The Warlock (2011), and The Enchantress (2012). The Alchemyst was included in Time Magazine’s 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time in 2015 and earned multiple awards internationally, including... Read The Alchemyst Summary


Publication year 405Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Classic Fiction

The Bacchae is an ancient Athenian tragedy by Euripides. The play is generally believed to have been staged (with Iphigenia at Aulis and another play) in 405 BCE by the poet’s son after his father’s death in 407-6 and to have won first prize. The production took place in Athens at the City Dionysia, a festival in honor of Dionysus. Set in Thebes, the play depicts Dionysus (also known as Bacchus) returning to his mother’s... Read The Bacchae Summary


Publication year 92Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & AngerTags Classic Fiction, Mythology, Narrative / Epic Poem, Military / War, Ancient Rome

Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Natural World: Environment, Relationships: TeamsTags Mythology, Fantasy, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Animals, Arts / Culture, Climate Change, History: European, American Literature

The Battle of the Labyrinth is a fantasy-adventure novel inspired Greek mythology and written in 2008 by Rick Riordan. It is the fourth in the Percy Jackson series.The novel begins with Percy Jackson is at his freshman orientation at Good High School. Rachel Elizabeth Dare helps him fight two empousai, spectres who were disguised as cheerleaders. Percy flees to Camp Half-Blood, but Rachel remains. Percy is reunited with Annabeth, and they learn Grover is in... Read The Battle of the Labyrinth Summary


Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: HopeTags Fantasy, Mythology, Action / Adventure, Leadership/Organization/Management, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Animals, History: European, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome

Originally published in 2014, The Blood of Olympus is the fifth and final book in Rick Riordan’s young adult fantasy series The Heroes of Olympus, inspired by Greek and Roman mythologies. The series follows seven demigods—children of one divine and one mortal parent—as they try to stop the earth goddess, Gaea, from rising to power. The novel won several awards, including the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Middle Grade and Children’s Book of 2014. The... Read The Blood of Olympus Summary


Publication year 1789Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Love / Sexuality, Mythology

The Book of Thel was written and etched by William Blake in 1789. It is one of his prophetic illuminated books, crafted after Songs of Innocence but before The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Blake’s recognition as an influential figure in the British Romantic literary movement only came after his death. The Book of Thel is a narrative, allegorical, and symbolic poem written in 14-syllable lines. Its themes include the expansiveness of God’s love, interconnectedness... Read The Book of Thel Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Relationships: FriendshipTags Fantasy, Mythology, Action / Adventure, Children's Literature

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Relationships: Teams, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Fantasy, Mythology, Action / Adventure, LGBTQ

Publication year 1485Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Classic Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology, Action / Adventure, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages

First published in 1485, Thomas Malory's Le Morte d’Arthur collected the mythological-historical legends about King Arthur from numerous source texts into a comprehensive prose narrative divided into plot sections and written in late Middle English. Although multiple men named Thomas Malory lived around that time, the most likely author was an English knight, later a prisoner in Newgate, who would have been educated in all the practices of “courtesy” (knightly conduct). The title of his... Read The Death of King Arthur Summary


Publication year 2019Genre Novella, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Self Discovery, Society: CommunityTags Fantasy, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, LGBTQ, Mythology, Afrofuturism

Publication year -1Genre Poem, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Identity: Masculinity, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Mythology

"The Epic of Gilgamesh" is the oldest existing myth in the world. It tells of the historical king Gilgamesh who reigned over Mesopotamia (in what is now Iraq) around 2750 BCE. The author of the poem is unknown, for "The Epic of Gilgamesh" is sourced from multiple fragments that have been excavated since the 19th century. The earliest versions of the epic are written in Sumerian and date to about 2100 BCE. The current translation... Read The Epic of Gilgamesh Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: FateTags Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, Mythology, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Asian Literature

Publication year 159Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Fantasy, Mythology, Humor, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Relationships, Animals, History: European, Ancient Rome

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Relationships: Family, Relationships: FriendshipTags Fantasy, Mythology, Action / Adventure, LGBTQ

Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: Fathers, Emotions/Behavior: ForgivenessTags Mythology, Fantasy

The Hidden Oracle (2016) is the first installment in Rick Riordan’s The Trials of Apollo, a five-book fantasy series for young readers. Inspired by Greek and Roman mythology and history, the books follow the fallen god Apollo on a quest to rescue the five Oracles from a group of foes. The Trials of Apollo series takes place in the same universe as Riordan’s popular Percy Jackson oeuvre. Praised for its humor, The Hidden Oracle earned... Read The Hidden Oracle Summary


Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Fate, Relationships: FriendshipTags Mythology, Fantasy, Action / Adventure, LGBTQ, Love / Sexuality, Relationships

The House of Hades is the fourth of five books in the Heroes of Olympus series, which follows seven Greek and Roman demigods on a quest to prevent the rise of the earth goddess Gaea, who is bent on destroying the world. The House of Hades was written by Rick Riordan, a New York Times bestselling author who explores Roman and Greek Mythology in these two series. Riordan is the publisher of an imprint with... Read The House of Hades Summary


Publication year -1Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Mythology, Narrative / Epic Poem, Classic Fiction, Ancient Greece

The Iliad is an ancient Greek epic poem attributed to Homer, a name believed to refer to a tradition of epic hexameter verse rather than an individual composer. When, how, and by whom the poem was composed continues to be debated. Scholars generally believe the poem was composed and passed on orally, possibly over hundreds of years, before it was written down at some point during the mid-8th century BC (approximately when the Greek alphabet... Read The Iliad Summary


Publication year 1592Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Mythology, Asian Literature, Classic Fiction, Chinese Literature

The Journey to the West: Volume I (1983), translated and edited by Anthony C. Yu, contains the first 25 chapters of a 100-chapter hero’s epic, an allegory designed to impart knowledge on how to behave and what values to extol. Originally published in the late 16th century during the late Ming Dynasty, this epic is “loosely based on the famous pilgrimage of Xuanzang…the monk who went from China to India in quest of Buddhist scriptures”... Read Journey to the West: Volume I Summary


Publication year 1842Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Identity: Sexuality, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Lyric Poem, Gender / Feminism, Victorian Period, Mythology

“The Lady of Shalott,” one of Lord Alfred Tennyson’s best-known poems, is a four-part lyrical ballad loosely inspired by the 13th-century Italian novella Donna di Scalotta. It makes use of vivid romantic language and heavy symbolism. Based on Arthurian legend and medieval sources, the poem tells the story of Elaine of Astolat, a fictional woman confined to a tower overlooking the fields surrounding Camelot. The Lady of Shalott falls in unrequited love with Sir Lancelot... Read The Lady Of Shalott Summary


Publication year 2008Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Mythology, Immigration / Refugee, History: Asian, Poverty

Kao Kalia Yang was born in Thailand’s Ban Vinai Refugee Camp in 1980 and immigrated to St. Paul, Minnesota when she was six years old. She is agraduate of Carleton College and Columbia University and co-founder of Words Wanted, an organization committed to helping immigrants with writing, translating, and business services.In her memoir, The Latehomecomer (2008), Yang explores what it means to be Hmong. By remembering her time in Thailand’s Ban Vinai Refugee camp, and... Read The Latehomecomer Summary


Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Mothers, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Greece, Classical Period

Libation Bearers is an ancient Greek tragedy by the Athenian playwright Aeschylus, first produced in 458 BCE at the City Dionysia in Athens. Libation Bearers is the second part of the Oresteia, a trilogy exploring the themes of justice, retribution, and the cyclical pattern of bloodshed within the family of the mythical king Agamemnon. Following the events of Agamemnon, the first tragedy of Aeschylus’s Oresteia, the play depicts the murder of Clytaemestra, the queen of... Read The Libation Bearers Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Society: NationTags Mythology, Fantasy, Action / Adventure

Published in 2012, The Mark of Athena is the third novel in Rick Riordan’s young adult fantasy series The Heroes of Olympus, his second series in the Percy Jackson universe inspired by Greek and Roman mythologies. The Mark of Athena picks up the narrative where The Son of Neptune left off, with a Greek warship from Camp Half-Blood approaching Roman Camp Jupiter in hopes of collaborating to stop Gaea from waking up and destroying the... Read The Mark Of Athena Summary


Publication year -1Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: FateTags Classic Fiction, Narrative / Epic Poem, Mythology, Ancient Greece

The Odyssey is an ancient Greek epic poem attributed to Homer, though “Homer” is now generally believed to refer more to an epic tradition than to a specific or single person. Scholars debate when and how the poem was composed. It seems to have come into existence contemporaneously or shortly after the adaptation of the ancient Greek alphabet, which places it in the late 8th century BC. It was most likely composed orally, and even... Read The Odyssey Summary


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Publication year -1Genre Poem, FictionTags Mythology, Narrative / Epic Poem, Philosophy, Science / Nature

The Theogony is an epic poem by the archaic Greek poet Hesiod. It is both a theogony—or account of the origins of the gods—and a cosmogony, an explanation of the origins of the universe. At just over a thousand lines in length, the Theogony is among the earliest surviving works of Greek literature, dating to the late eighth or early seventh century BCE. It is an epic poem, a genre defined by its meter (dactylic... Read Theogony Summary


Publication year 2005Genre Novel, FictionTags Mythology

The Penelopiad is a 2005 novella by Margaret Atwood. It is told from the point of view of Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, and her twelve hanged maids. It offers an alternate perspective on the events famously portrayed by Homer in The Odyssey, giving depth to a previously shallow portrait of a faithful wife and her “deceitful” maids. Borrowing from Greek tragedy, Atwood switches narrators between Penelope, now dead and in the underworld, and the hanged maids, who speak... Read The Penelopiad Summary


Publication year 1991Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: CommunityTags Mythology, Philosophy

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers, published in 1988, is a nonfiction companion to a six-episode PBS documentary series by the same name. The main text of the book is a transcript of an extensive conversation between comparative mythology expert Joseph Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers. Using mythological stories, psychoanalytic theories, and personal anecdotes, Campbell and Moyers examine how world mythologies illuminate the mysteries of human life through shared symbols as... Read The Power of Myth Summary


Publication year 1972Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Siblings, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Religion / Spirituality, Mythology, Indian Literature

R. K. Narayan’s The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic (Suggested by the Tamil Version of Kamban) was first published in 1972 by Viking Press. The epic story of Rama’s journey contains the teachings of ancient Hindu sages, and these teachings continue to have a major influence on Indian culture.The story of Rama stems from the tradition of bardic literature that was passed down orally through the generations across different regions... Read The Ramayana Summary


Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Siblings, Relationships: Family, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Fantasy, Mythology, Action / Adventure

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (Hyperion Books for Children, 2010) is the first installment in the middle-grade fantasy adventure Kane Chronicles series and is followed by The Throne of Fire (2011) and The Serpent’s Shadow (2012). The book follows siblings Carter and Sadie Kane on a journey across North America to stop the Egyptian god of chaos from destroying the world. The Red Pyramid won a School Library Journal Best Book Award and was... Read The Red Pyramid Summary


Publication year 2006Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology, Relationships, Arts / Culture, Parenting, American Literature

The Sea of Monsters (Miramax Books, 2006) is the second installment of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians fantasy adventure series for young readers. The book picks up the summer after the prequel, The Lightning Thief, ends and follows returning heroes Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase on a quest to save Camp Half Blood. The Sea of Monsters was a New York Times and Book Sense National Childrens bestseller, and it won such awards... Read The Sea of Monsters Summary


Publication year -1Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: RevengeTags Mythology, Ancient Greece

The oral tradition of myths makes collecting a complete version of “Theseus and the Minotaur,” an ancient Greek myth from the sixth century BC, a difficult task. No version contains every recorded detail about Theseus’s adventures in the Labyrinth of Crete. Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Stephen Fry’s Heroes, and many other sources contain varying levels of detail about Theseus’s heroics. This challenge increases when different translations of the text are considered, since part of the text is... Read Theseus Summary


Publication year -1Genre Scripture, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Life/Time: The PastTags Mythology, Religion / Spirituality, History: Middle Eastern

Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Relationships: Teams, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Natural World: Objects, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Relationships: Fathers, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Mythology, Fantasy, Children's Literature

The Son of Neptune is the second novel in Rick Riordan’s The Heroes of Olympus series. Released in 2011, this novel continues the story begun in The Lost Hero, following Percy Jackson as he stumbles into the Roman demigod camp, Camp Jupiter, after losing his memory and eight months of his life. At the camp, Percy meets Hazel, daughter of Pluto, and Frank, son of Mars. Together, Percy, Hazel, and Frank are charged with a... Read The Son of Neptune Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Identity: Disability, Identity: Indigenous, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Fathers, Values/Ideas: FateTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Mythology

Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Flora/plants, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Fantasy, Mythology, Romance, Action / Adventure, Children's Literature, LGBTQ, Depression / Suicide, Mental Illness, Grief / Death, Love / Sexuality, Psychology, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Identity: Disability, Relationships: FriendshipTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Mythology

The Sword of Summer (2015) is the first book in Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard modern fantasy series for young readers. The book takes place in the same universe as Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (2005-2009) and is followed by The Hammer of Thor. The Sword of Summer won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Middle Grade and Children’s (2015) and has appeared on both the New York Times... Read The Sword of Summer Summary


Publication year 2002Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: GenderTags Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, Mythology, Classic Fiction, Gender / Feminism

The Táin, or the Táin Bó Cuailnge, is an Irish epic that is part of the larger Ulster epic cycle set in a pre-Christian heroic age. Thomas Kinsella’s 1968 translation, which is referred to in this guide, is based on two main sources: a 12th-century partial manuscript and a late 14th-century partial manuscript, both compiled by Christian monks in Irish monasteries. The Celtic source material for The Táin is far more ancient and would have... Read The Tain Summary


Publication year 1996Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Historical Fiction, Mythology

Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Mythology

Publication year 2007Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Mythology, Ancient Greece, Relationships, Arts / Culture, Military / War, American Literature

The Titan’s Curse (2007) is the third installment in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, which centers around the adventures of Percy Jackson, a boy who is the son of the Greek god of the sea Poseidon and a mortal woman named Sally Jackson. Percy learns that he is a demigod—meaning that he is half-human and half-god—and joins with other children of the Greek gods at Camp Half-Blood. There, they complete quests and... Read The Titan's Curse Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Relationships: Fathers, Values/Ideas: FateTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Mythology, LGBTQ

Publication year 1985Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Lyric Poem, Mythology, Confessional, Love / Sexuality

Publication year 1794Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Lyric Poem, Science / Nature, Romanticism / Romantic Period, Mythology, Animals

Publication year 1995Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Values/Ideas: FateTags Fantasy, Mythology, Ancient Greece, Historical Fiction

Publication year 1969Genre Anthology/Varied Collection, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Indigenous, Identity: Language, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Fairy Tale / Folklore, Narrative / Epic Poem, History: U.S., American Literature, Mythology

The Way to Rainy Mountain by Navarre Scott Momaday was first published in 1969. Momaday is a member of the Kiowa nation, a PhD-holding literary scholar, and a prominent American writer largely credited with initiating the Native American Literary Renaissance. On his father’s side, Momaday traces his family to Guipahgo (Lone Wolf), the last Principal Chief of the Kiowas, and this lineage features prominently in the book’s storytelling. The book is a work of creative... Read The Way to Rainy Mountain Summary


Publication year 1987Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Natural World: Animals, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Values/Ideas: FateTags Mythology

The Whale Rider is a 1987 novel by New Zealand author Witi Ihimaera. A film adaptation was made in 2002 that would go on to win several awards. Throughout the novel, Ihimaera juxtaposes the migration of a herd of whales with the Maori tribe’s search for a male heir. The Whale Rider comprises four major sections, as well as a prologue, epilogue, and glossary. Each section of text is named after one of the seasons... Read The Whale Rider Summary


Publication year 1948Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Lyric Poem, Mythology, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 1995Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mythology, Action / Adventure, Military / War

The Winter King is a 1995 novel by Bernard Cornwell. It is the first volume of the Warlord Chronicles series, a reimagining of the legend of King Arthur stripped of magic and romance and instead steeped in the grim realities of Britain after the fall of the Roman Empire. It was followed up by Enemy of God (1996) and Excalibur (1997). By the time Cornwell published The Winter King, he had established his reputation as... Read The Winter King Summary


Publication year 1816Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Identity: IndigenousTags Fairy Tale / Folklore, Mythology, American Literature

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Flora/plants, Natural World: Nurture v. Nature, Relationships: Family, Relationships: MothersTags Fantasy, Mythology, LGBTQ

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Fantasy, Romance, Mythology

Publication year 1956Genre Novel, FictionTags Mythology, Classic Fiction

C.S. Lewis’s final novel, Till We Have Faces, is a retelling of the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche. The novel is narrated by Orual, the Queen of Glome, and is framed as a complaint against the gods. Orual is the eldest of three sisters; her siblings are Redival and Istra—whom Orual calls Psyche. Orual is an ugly child who resents Redival’s beauty and whose only friend is her tutor, a Greek slave called the... Read Till We Have Faces Summary


Publication year 1831Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Art, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Mythology, Lyric Poem, Love / Sexuality, Romanticism / Romantic Period

Publication year 1209Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Classic Fiction, Romance, Mythology, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, German literature

Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags Classic Fiction, Ancient Greece, Mythology

Trojan Women is a tragic play written by the ancient Athenian playwright Euripides. It was first performed in Athens in 415 BC, as part of a trilogy of plays depicting the legendary kingdom of Troy: the other two, now lost, were called Alexandros (about the Trojan prince Paris) and Palamedes (about the Greek hero Palamedes during the Trojan War). Trojan Women takes place in the immediate aftermath of Troy’s defeat, which ended the ten-year Trojan... Read Trojan Women Summary


Publication year 1957Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: FemininityTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Mythology

Publication year 1842Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: AgingTags Poetry: Dramatic Poem, Mythology

Publication year 1593Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Classic Fiction, Romance, Mythology, Love / Sexuality

Publication year 2018Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Nation, Society: Politics & Government, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Lyric Poem, Race / Racism, African American Literature, Mythology

Publication year -1Genre Poem, FictionThemes Relationships: SiblingsTags Religion / Spirituality, Classic Fiction, Ancient Greece, Mythology

“Works and Days” is a didactic poem by Hesiod dating to approximately the eighth century BCE. Hesiod begins the poem with the traditional invocation to the muses, but he deviates slightly from this tradition by including personal information; the poem is an explanation of a dispute between Hesiod and his brother Perses over a family inheritance. The poem’s thematic concerns, which Hesiod explores by arguing how harmful his brother’s actions are not only to himself... Read Works and Days Summary


Publication year 1974Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Identity: Indigenous, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Identity: Femininity, Identity: SexualityTags Mythology, Love / Sexuality, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 1176Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Classic Fiction, Romance, Mythology, Narrative / Epic Poem, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, French Literature

Completed in the year 1181, Yvain, Or the Knight of the Lion is an epic poem by Chrétian De Troyes that tells the story of Yvain, one of King Arthur’s knights, and the many great deeds he performs as he attempts to earn the love of the Lady Laudine. One of the founding stories of the Arthurian legend, Yvain paints a vivid picture of the knightly code of chivalry during the Middle Ages. Its high... Read Yvain, or the Knight With the Lion Summary