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Author Topic: Circe  (Read 430 times)

SunflowerP

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Circe
« on: September 19, 2020, 09:34:59 pm »
Title: Circe
(Fiction: Adult)
Author(s): Madeline Miller
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
ISBN: 0316556343
ISBN-13: 978-0316556347
Current Price and More Info from Amazon

Description:
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child -- not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power -- the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world.

Special Notes:
none

Legal Notes: Some description text and item pictures in this post may come from Amazon.com and/or the book itself.



Discussion and reviews of this book are welcome in this thread. If you've read the book, please tell us what you think of it and why.
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Re: Circe
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2020, 06:50:56 am »
I am still reading Circe and really enjoying it! I got curious about the author, Madeline Miller, so I looked up information about her.

From Madeline Miller’s webpage (retrieved 9/21/2020 from http://madelinemiller.com/the-author/)

"Madeline Miller grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. She has taught and tutored Latin, Greek, and Shakespeare to high school students for over fifteen years.

She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms.

The Song of Achilles, her first novel, was awarded the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction and was a New York Times Bestseller. Miller was also shortlisted for the 2012 Stonewall Writer of the Year. Her second novel, Circe, was an instant number 1 New York Times bestseller, and won the Indies Choice Best Adult Fiction of the Year Award and the Indies Choice Best Audiobook of the Year Award, as well as being shortlisted for the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction. Circe also won The Red Tentacle Award, an American Library Association Alex Award (adult books of special interest to teen readers), and the 2018 Elle Big Book Award.  It is currently being adapted for a series with HBO Max. Miller's novels have been translated into over twenty-five languages including Dutch, Mandarin, Japanese, Turkish, Arabic and Greek, and her essays have appeared in a number of publications including the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Telegraph, Lapham's Quarterly and NPR.org. She currently lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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sevensons

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Re: Circe
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2020, 07:04:23 am »
Title: Circe
(Fiction: Adult)
Author(s): Madeline Miller
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
ISBN: 0316556343
ISBN-13: 978-0316556347


Threatened, Zeus banishes her

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing
Exciting [/td][/tr][/table]
Awaken myself alive and well loving to start learning today ahead a challenge set by the Gods. Haven't

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Re: Circe
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2020, 08:43:38 am »
Title: Circe
(Fiction: Adult)
Author(s): Madeline Miller
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
ISBN: 0316556343
ISBN-13: 978-0316556347
Current Price and More Info from Amazon

Description:
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child -- not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power -- the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world.

Special Notes:
none

Legal Notes: Some description text and item pictures in this post may come from Amazon.com and/or the book itself.



Discussion and reviews of this book are welcome in this thread. If you've read the book, please tell us what you think of it and why.

A quick thank you to SunflowerP for the reminder about posting. I remember reading that I was supposed to quote, but by the time I actually started to post (which wasn't very long to my embarassment) I had forgotten the rule. :-\


This is a very timely telling of the story of Circe. Circe, as she develops through her experiences, lives a simple life that is in opposition to the status quo of those in authority. She is reviled for her honesty and self empowerment that throws into question the mechanisms used to justify power and authority.


1. How would you describe the personality that Madeline Miller crafts for Circe? Why is she so roundly dismissed, bullied, and belittled by her fellow immortals? Talk about the ways in which this treatment shapes her character. Despite her ancient, mythological roots, do you relate to Circe?

Circe’s personality, to me, was more externally focused. It seemed that Circe was more interested and personally rewarded when she sought collaboration and cooperation as she interacted with the environment and beings around her.

I believe that Circe is treated poorly by her fellow immortals for several reasons.

- Circe, through her behavior, rejected the other immortals by not doing and living as they did. She defied the expectations and imposed “order”. This brought into doubt the imposed hierarchy and elements that brought authority to those at the top.

- Circe’s behavior questioned the elements that derived value. Gender, strength, and wealth were no longer as powerful in the determination of value.

- This also brought a sense of uncertainty and ambiguity to the relationships that Circe had with the other immortals.

- Because of Circe’s differences, the other immortals with lesser or uncertain standing, found an easy target to direct attention to avoid scrutiny being directed at them.

- The other immortals simply lacked the imagination and confidence to evolve their thinking.

I relate somewhat to Circe in that I don’t support the mechanisms of power in my culture. However, identifying as a man, I can’t truly relate to Circe’s experiences and challenges with the patriarchy who is working to justify and hold on to the power they have.


2. Follow-up to Question 1: In what way is Circe's desire for vengeance at odds with her inherent compassion?

I think that Circe, having been hurt and abused in her past, did not want to ever allow that to happen to her again if she could avoid it.

Was it truly a desire for vengeance?


3. How does the ancient Greek society, at least in the realm of the deities, view and treat women.

Women are treated as lesser beings and trophies for displaying dominance and power.

4. Follow-up to Question 3: Circe tells us:

“It is a common saying that women are delicate creatures—flowers, eggs, anything that may be crushed in a moment’s carelessness. If I had ever believed it, I no longer did.”

How does Circe disprove the widespread view of women as fragile?

Circe disproves the view of women by simply refusing to conform and give into the pressure to follow that clear and easy path. Circe rejects her place in the architecture of male dominated power.

5. Talk about Circe's attitude toward motherhood: as she says, despite all her military style preparations, it was "not enough." What does she mean, and what kind of a mother does Circe end up becoming?

I’m not sure how to answer this question. I feel like I would be a bit of an arm-chair analyst weighing in on something I’ve never done or could do.

Hopefully someone with first hand knowledge, or at least someone for whom the potential of motherhood exists, will answer this question.


6. What does Circe mean when she says, "All my life had been murk and depths, but I was not a part of that dark water. I was a creature within it"?

What I believe that means is that Circe was caught in an environment that did not align with her values that was being dictated by others.

7. How does the author portray the love affair between Circe and Odysseus? If you are familiar with The Odyssey, how does the novel differ from Homer's telling (or does it)?

I think the love affair between Circe and Odysseus was Circe wanting love and affection and Odysseus wanting to be fawned over.

Looking at this as an outside observer, I feel that this was a defining moment for Circe. Defining in that she had gained experience as a successful - independent woman, and found in Odysseus a love that was ultimately dissatisfying and not what she needed. I believe this helped Circe know what it is she wanted and deserved in a lover.

I have not read the Odyssey.


8. How does Miller depict many of the legendary characters of Greek mythology, including Odysseus, Daedalus, Hermes, among others? In other words, how does she flesh out their "human" traits as distinct from their godlike or heroic ones?

I think that Miller effectively shows the flawed traits of those who believe, or seek to maintain the illusion, that they are superior to others.

9. What did you know of Greek mythology before reading Circe? If you had some prior familiarity with the mythical figures and their stories, has Miller's novel added to or changed your understanding or appreciation of them?

I really don’t know a lot about Greek mythology. But, I did name my youngest daughter Phoeby after the titan Phoebe.


I accessed the prior questions from LitLovers.com with their permission as long as I gave  attribution. I saw that PBS had a great set of questions too.

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