Synopses & Reviews
More than 100,000 copies sold in France
A fascinating new journey through Greek mythology that explains the myths' timeless lessons and meaning
Heroes, gods, and mortals. The Greek myths are the founding narratives of Western civilization: to understand them is to know the origins of philosophy, literature, art, science, law, and more. Indeed, as Luc Ferry shows in this masterful book, they remain a great store of wisdom, as relevant to our lives today as ever before. No mere legends or clichés ("Herculean task," "Pandora's box," "Achilles heel," etc.), these classic stories offer profound and manifold lessons, providing the first sustained attempt to answer fundamental human questions concerning "the good life," the burden of mortality, and how to find one's place in the world. Vividly retelling the great tales of mythology and illuminating fresh new ways of understanding them, The Wisdom of the Myths will enlighten readers of all ages.
"This comprehensive analysis of Greek myth seeks to uncover the basic worldview that lies behind such varied and disparate stories, and allusions such as 'a Herculean task' and 'Pandora's box.' In this, Ferry (A Brief History of Thought), a professor of philosophy at the Sorbonne, is surprisingly successful: time and again he proves that 'wisdom consists of finding our natural place in a divine and everlasting order.' Those who fight to uphold this divine order Theseus, Heracles are rewarded with a heroic legacy. But those who go against the natural order even unwittingly, like Oedipus are swiftly and brutally struck down. Ferry excuses much of what modern readers might perceive as injustice on the part of the gods. When Apollo flays a satyr who challenges him to a musical contest, for example, it is not vanity but the literal triumph of harmony over discord. Despite his claim that 'I recount the legends as if to an audience of children,' Ferry's narration proves long-winded and repetitive. However, he never loses sight of his central argument, and despite the pedantic tone, the breadth of evidence will sway most readers." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Luc Ferry is a philosopher and the author of the national bestseller A Brief History of Thought. From 2002 to 2004 he served as France's minister of national education. He has been awarded the Prix Médicis, Prix Jean-Jacques-Rousseau, and Prix Aujourd'hui, in addition to being an officer of the French Legion of Honor and a knight of the Order of Arts and Letters. He lives in Paris.