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Hercules in C21st Literature – 12:15-12:45 Thursday 24th November

October 28, 2016

november_eleanor_posterEleanor OKell, Research Administrative Assistant on Emma Stafford’s Hercules Project, talks about the presence of Hercules in two distinctly different examples of the historical novel: Kate Mosse’s Citadel set in the Languedoc during the Second World War and Stephanie Laurens’ The Truth About Love set in Cornwall during the Regency period.

Both these novels invoke Hercules by name and the hero provides contextualisation for the events and relationships therein. For example, in Mosse the myth of Hercules’ relationship with Pyrene underpins the whole landscape (it is an origin myth for the Pyrenees) and in Laurens the Garden of Hercules forms a frequently referenced part of the landscape; in both the presentation of Herculean myth as a background prompts the reader to extrapolate from the legend of Hercules to the characters depicted and their struggles. The similarities and differences between the two authors’ uses of Hercules suggests that C21st literature is open to exploring facets of the ancient hero’s character which go beyond monster-slaying and into the realm of the romantic/erotic.

Ancient Worlds Gallery 12:15-12:45 Thursday 24th November 2016.

For talks by Emma Stafford on Hercules as a hero and his reception, see The Afterlife of the Hero, and on his depiction in Leeds, see Hercules’ Choice.

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