Word up ladies
It might be time to give the classics a re-read – but in a way you’ve never done before. They are currently undergoing something of a feminist revolution, thanks to a new wave of female authors.
The Silence of The Girls by acclaimed author Pat Barker is a liberating retelling of one of the most famous literary texts of all time, The Iliad.
The original story is essentially a war over women, all of whom are portrayed in passive and disempowered roles. Barker, struck by how the voices of these women were “conspicuously silent”, gave the captured queen Briseis a narrative voice with an equal weight to Achilles in her version of the tale, which is already causing a stir in the literary world.
The Iliad isn’t the only one of Homer’s works to get this treatment – Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey (the rst by a woman) was published to great acclaim last year, while Madeline Miller’s similarly-inspired novel Circe, about the mythological witch in The Odyssey, has been touted as a ‘must read’ for 2018, praised for its feminist slant on an age-old text. Hello, summer reading list.
The Silence of The Girls by Pat Barker (Penguin Random House, £18.99) will be out in September 2018. The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson (Norton, £30) and Circe by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury, £16.99) are out now.