Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The Golden Fleece

I spent this past weekend in Hastings. It was my wife’s grandmother’s 91st birthday, and the family was gathering in the seafront hotel that is owned by her son (my wife’s uncle). Saturday was a miserable day, windy, rainy, and uninviting. Still, my wife needed an errand run, and there was a bookstore I wanted to investigate, so I put on my coat and ventured out. Unfortunately, the bookstore I was keen to explore was closed. To cheer myself up, I decided to walk back via the ruined castle on the cliff top. Fighting the wind and rain, I made it up the steep hill to find that the gate to the castle was locked. So, dripping and disappointed, I started back to the hotel. Just a few doors from the hotel, I passed an antique store that had a load of books out front. Figuring I still had a few minutes, I went inside.

Its collection of books was small, but interesting. After a bit of browsing, I discovered this treasure - a folio edition of The Golden Fleece by Robert Graves for £6. Long-time readers will be aware of my ongoing fascination with the myth of Jason and the Argonauts. I have read all of the major classic sources (in translation), and several modern interpretations. I was well aware of Robert Graves for his academic work on Greek Myth, but I was unaware of this work. So, in the end, I returned to the hotel happy!

The book has a bit of damage on the slipcase, but it is still in good condition overall. Folio editions are always well constructed books. My only gripe about Folio editions is the internal artwork. I always find the artwork to be a bit childish. Some people must like it though. That said, I do really like the artwork on the cover, which is the part I’ll see the most, so it works out okay.

I’ve read the introduction and the first few chapters. It is a chewy work, filled with Grave’s personal theories on Greek myth. For example, the whole story is put in the context of a theological war between the followers of the old Mother Goddess and those that follow the new Olympian Zeus. In truth, I’m 40 pages in, and we’ve only seen the baby Jason briefly, so I can’t yet comment on how good it all is, but it is certainly interesting.

For those that may be wondering, Grandma’s 91st went swimmingly, with loads of cake! I had to bow out of the party early to put my daughter to sleep (and do some quiet reading). The next morning dawned bright and beautiful. We decided to stay until lunch time in order to tour the new pier they’ve built in Hastings (really nice, if a bit empty out of season), and to let my daughter have a couple hours playing on the stony beach.


  1. What a great find...as an avid fan of the myth I have decided to build my next project around Jason and his Aronauts

    1. Hey Eric, I saw your posts while I was in Hastings! Could manage to comment on my ipod though. I think you might have convinced me to pick up one of those grand manner argos! I'll be watching your blog with interest.

  2. One of my favourite books. A piece of art and scholarship.