Hercules, My Shipmate

Hercules My Shipmate Reissued by Creative Age Press in as Hercules My Shipmate a novel about the voyage of the Argo Written with ideas on The White Goddess as a cultural anthropological backdrop to the ancient Gree

  • Title: Hercules, My Shipmate
  • Author: Robert Graves
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 376
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Reissued by Creative Age Press in 1945 as Hercules, My Shipmate, a novel about the voyage of the Argo Written with ideas on The White Goddess as a cultural anthropological backdrop to the ancient Greek tale What the Golden Fleece really was a cloak tossed to earth by a drunken Zeus, a sheepskin book of alchemic secrets or the gilded epidermis of a young human sacrifice nReissued by Creative Age Press in 1945 as Hercules, My Shipmate, a novel about the voyage of the Argo Written with ideas on The White Goddess as a cultural anthropological backdrop to the ancient Greek tale What the Golden Fleece really was a cloak tossed to earth by a drunken Zeus, a sheepskin book of alchemic secrets or the gilded epidermis of a young human sacrifice named Mr Ram nobody knows But Graves is quite sure that, whatever the Golden Fleece was, the voyage of Jason his Argonauts really happened His story shows the legendary cruise as one of the bawdiest, bloodiest, most boisterous expeditions of all time In I, Claudius its Claudius the God sequel, Graves brought the teeming life of Claudian Rome so vividly alive that they became bestsellers In the not so successful Wife to Mr Milton, his blend of imagination scholarship projected his readers into 17th Century England the bedchamber temper tantrums of the blind poet politician With Hercules shipmates, Graves becomes an ancient Greek, moving among demigods goddesses, myths monsters with an easy familiarity a wealth of erudite detail Both sometimes seem too much of a good thing Atomic age readers, ill attuned to the leisurely, formal talk of myth age Greeks, may find themselves skipping some of the longer speeches Most of the Argo s 50 oar crew were princes, each with a special talent gift of the gods The only woman aboard was a princess Atalanta of Calydon, a virgin huntress who could outrun any man in Greece Argus, who built the Argo, was the world s finest shipwright Castor Pollux, sons of Leda Zeus as swan, were champion prizefighters Nauplius, Poseidon s son, was an unrivaled navigator Orpheus could make sticks stones dance to his lyre Hercules of Tiryns was the world s strongest man He would ve captained the Argonauts were it not that in moments of insanity he murdered friend foe alike Captaincy devolved on Jason of lolcos a man nobody liked or trusted, but who had a power denied to all the others women instantly fell in love with him Even surly Hercules agreed it a quality worth all the rest Backed by divine blessings equinoctal winds, the Argonauts set sail On the Island of Lemnos, peopled solely by women, they generously stopped off to help out with spring sowing Nine months later, 200 children were born, of whom no less than 60 were said to be the spitting image of Hercules On Samothrace, they were initiated into the sacred mysteries The Goddess of All Being mated with the Serpent Priapus to be delivered of a bull Then the sacred nymphs leapt on them scratched bit until even Hercules passed out Thereafter, the Argonauts glowed with a faint nimbus of light The Argonauts boldly pushed on thru the dread Hellespont entered the Black Sea To their dismay, Hercules deserted, summoned home to perform another of his mighty labors Holy Serpents he growled Tell me what this time The job cleaning the Augean Stables didn t take long He stayed around afterwards with the Lydian high priestess who in due time bore male triplets In gratitude, she taught him to spin, tying up his hair in blue braids He was crazy about it, admitting confidentially he d always wanted to be a woman The Argonauts went on without Hercules Reaching Colchis, Aphrodite won the Fleece for them She made her son Eros wait behind a pillar with his bow until handsome Jason strode into the King of Colchis palace Eros shot Medea thru the heart, the smitten princess helped to get the Fleece from her father s temple Mythology s most famous voyage had reached its goal, but Graves takes 150 pages to wind things up.

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    About "Robert Graves"

    1. Robert Graves

      Robert Ranke Graves, born in Wimbledon, received his early education at King s College School and Copthorne Prep School, Wimbledon Charterhouse School and won a scholarship to St John s College, Oxford While at Charterhouse in 1912, he fell in love with G H Johnstone, a boy of fourteen Dick in Goodbye to All That When challenged by the headmaster he defended himself by citing Plato, Greek poets, Michelangelo Shakespeare, who had felt as I did At the outbreak of WWI, Graves enlisted almost immediately, taking a commission in the Royal Welch Fusiliers He published his first volume of poems, Over the Brazier, in 1916 He developed an early reputation as a war poet and was one of the first to write realistic poems about his experience of front line conflict In later years he omitted war poems from his collections, on the grounds that they were too obviously part of the war poetry boom At the Battle of the Somme he was so badly wounded by a shell fragment through the lung that he was expected to die, and indeed was officially reported as died of wounds He gradually recovered Apart from a brief spell back in France, he spent the rest of the war in England.One of Graves s closest friends at this time was the poet Siegfried Sassoon, who was also an officer in the RWF In 1917 Sassoon tried to rebel against the war by making a public anti war statement Graves, who feared Sassoon could face a court martial, intervened with the military authorities and persuaded them that he was suffering from shell shock, and to treat him accordingly Graves also suffered from shell shock, or neurasthenia as it is sometimes called, although he was never hospitalised for it.Biographers document the story well It is fictionalised in Pat Barker s novel Regeneration The intensity of their early relationship is nowhere demonstrated clearly than in Graves s collection Fairies Fusiliers 1917 , which contains a plethora of poems celebrating their friendship Through Sassoon, he also became friends with Wilfred Owen, whose talent he recognised Owen attended Graves s wedding to Nancy Nicholson in 1918, presenting him with, as Graves recalled, a set of 12 Apostle spoons.Following his marriage and the end of the war, Graves belatedly took up his place at St John s College, Oxford He later attempted to make a living by running a small shop, but the business failed In 1926 he took up a post at Cairo University, accompanied by his wife, their children and the poet Laura Riding He returned to London briefly, where he split with his wife under highly emotional circumstances before leaving to live with Riding in Dei , Majorca There they continued to publish letterpress books under the rubric of the Seizin Press, founded and edited the literary journal Epilogue, and wrote two successful academic books together A Survey of Modernist Poetry 1927 and A Pamphlet Against Anthologies 1928.In 1927, he published Lawrence and the Arabs, a commercially successful biography of T.E Lawrence Good bye to All That 1929, revised and republished in 1957 proved a success but cost him many of his friends, notably Sassoon In 1934 he published his most commercially successful work, I, Claudius Using classical sources he constructed a complexly compelling tale of the life of the Roman emperor Claudius, a tale extended in Claudius the God 1935 Another historical novel by Graves, Count Belisarius 1938 , recounts the career of the Byzantine general Belisarius.During the early 1970s Graves began to suffer from increasingly severe memory loss, and by his eightieth birthday in 1975 he had come to the end of his working life By 1975 he had published than 140 works He survived for ten years in an increasingly dependent condition until he died from heart failure.


    1. Description: THE GOLDEN FLEECE - a cloak tossed to earth by a drunken Zeus, a sheepskin book of alchemic secrets or the gilded epidermis of a young human sacrifice named Mr. Ram — nobody knows. But Graves is quite sure that, whatever the Golden Fleece was, the voyage of Jason & his Argonauts really happened. His story shows the legendary cruise as one of the bawdiest, bloodiest, most boisterous expeditions of all time.Did I know that Poseidon was originally god of the forest? It does knell [...]

    2. The story of Jason and his Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece is well known, but I have never read a version quite as good and with such rich detail as this one by Robert Graves. Graves puts Jason in his historical and geographical context, describing the voyage of the Argonauts as they sail from Iolcos along the islands of ancient Greece, past Troy, through the Bosphorus Strait where the Clashing Rocks are, and along the southern coast of the Black Sea towards the land of Colchis in [...]

    3. I never thought I would give up on a book by Robert Graves, but this one I did. It is very long because it is quite unbelievably detailed. I assume Graves did this as a way of reproducing how the story might have been told orally, but also I think in order to cram in his interpretations of just about every Greek myth you can think of. To give one example, in a banqueting hall where the Argonauts are feasting, there is a painting on the wall showing Daedalus and Icarus flying, so Orpheus tells in [...]

    4. This one's a tough read. Better have your cliff's notes handy if you want to keep up. I was really looking for something with more entertainment value. This book did not deliver on that front, unfortunately.

    5. Read this book for the first time when I was sixteen, revisited it some time ago. An Epic read I think has never been well crafted as this. The story is sublime, the setting quite eery. Jason is tough, his Argonauts are dauntless, the language is clean. Really enjoyed it.

    6. "But remember, no lies! The dead may speak the truth only, even when it discredits themselves." So ends the "Invocation" that begins Robert Graves' The Golden Fleece (1944), Graves having asked the ghost of Little Ancaeus, the last survivor of the Argonauts, to "unfold the whole story" of their quest to retrieve from far Colchis the sacred Fleece. The account begins years after the famous voyage with the death of Ancaeus, when he tried to live among the Maiden, Nymph, and Mother worshiping peopl [...]

    7. Want to feel like you are Jason (or one of the Argonauts) and not just reading a summary? Sea voyages aren't always comfortable--and neither is this novel--but if you want to sail around the Greek world without skipping events, this is top shelf. Complete and very human, in ways both good and the bad. Get to know the individual Argonauts, and how they were chosen, plus the royal history and family lines. I enjoy how everyone is superstitious and mindful of the Gods, but the Gods aren't on stage [...]

    8. I read this in a U.S. edition entitled Hercules, My Shipmate issued in paperback. As I recall now, four decades later, the novel begins with a woman raping a man and continues lustily throughout. As a fourteen-year-old this was quite a new, and captivating, take on the "Voyage of the Argonauts" previously known to me through Edith Hamilton's The Greek Myths. Now, of course, all the sex, none of it explicit, would probably seem quaintly amusing.As in so many of his books, particularly the non-fic [...]

    9. Interesting twist of on the Argunauts mithology. Probably had siginificant influence on the recent "Song of Troy" written by McCullough Colleen.The gods play a big role in everything that happens in the book, however they are not as active players as in normal mithology, and they are more rooted into the beleifs all people.

    10. Great retelling of the Argonautika. Retains the spirit of the original and adds a slightly bawdy and exuberant spirit highly appropriate to the tale.

    11. I like this particular Graves' effort a mere one Pegasus wing feather width more than his extremely worthy others.

    12. Overall I did like this book, but I have very mixed feelings about it. The writing reads very nicely and gives the narrative an epic tone, which I liked. But as we have no focalizer and an omniscient narrator, I couldn't really connect to the characters and felt very detached from the story, it just didn't draw me in. It is a very interesting book, though. There's a lot to learn about Jason and the Argonauts in here, and I think it's amazing how much additional information the reader is offered. [...]

    13. A wonderful novel. Graves retells the story of the Golden Fleece, Jason, Medea and the Argonauts, superimposing upon it a struggle between the old, matrineal gods and their followers, and the new, patriarchal gods of Olympus and their followers (many of the protagonists are inbetween though). All magic has been taken out of the original story, and there is always a rational explanation for what was magical initially, with one exception: this is the ghosts and they do play a major role. Character [...]

    14. La trama es bastante interesante, la prosa muy buena y, sin duda, se hace más ameno que un texto griego original. Sin embargo, a la hora de hacerte empatizar con los personajes (incluso a pesar de que algunos de ellos son realmente geniales) y de hacer los diálogos vívidos Graves fracasa casi totalmente.

    15. Graves' retelling of Jason and the Argonauts that's long-steeped in his White Goddess interpretations of mythology. Entertaining at times, but occasionally awful and awkward. Not as good as Mary Renault's The King Must Die.

    16. I'm reading this(starting today) at the recommendation of a fellow G'reader who was responding to my review of a Mary Renault book. I tracked it down in the stacks of my employer's library(Bowdoin College). Nice to see the extensive collection of literature you won't find in a modest local public library. Plus you get to check books out for 6 MONTHS! I picked this one up as well as MR's three Alexander books so I'll be busy with THAT for a while plus knocking off some more of the "currently read [...]

    17. I was fairly scathing of Robert Graves's The Greek Myths in my review. This one is awkward then, because it displays some of the same flaws whilst also answering my other criticisms in some style. Graves's telling of The Golden Fleece is as dependent upon Margaret Alice Murray's ideas as his later collection of tales - ideas which he would later expound upon himself in The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth, a book which Lawrence Norfolk, in my introduction, suggests may be simpl [...]

    18. As is the case with every Graves book that I have read, this is an excellent read from start to finish. It's the story of the Argonauts, what more do you need? However, readers must be prepared for Graves's own adaptation of the myth. He is trying to discover what was really behind the myth and put it into more "human" terms while still keeping most of the supernatural elements intact. As a Greek, I am well versed with every version of the story, through the Apollonius version, the Pindar versio [...]

    19. "The Golden Fleece" as it was and should be called is a bit like the Oddessey in that there is no clear plot line - as in the Iliad - rather it is a series of scenes and adventures tied together by striving for a goal. There are many argonauts and I found it hard to keep track of them all. A few stand out: the man with clear sight. What was his name? Ly and the bully and blasphemer Idas, the swimmer Eu? the huntress Atalanta and her hopeless lover Men? The little guy who opens the book and is in [...]

    20. Continuing to work my way through the Bronze age of Ancient Greece in historical fiction novels, I've just finished Robert Graves look at Jason and Argonauts in The Golden Fleece (1944).From a modern perspective the book is a little tricky to read as the cadence of the prose worked differently than modern text, so it took some time to get comfortably into the reading. Past that, the book has a massive amount of background information on early religion and mythology, that at times was a little to [...]

    21. Robert graves brings vividly to life heros from ancient greece. his take on the personality's that man the argo is a facinating character study. when the finest warriors and explorers ar gathered on a perilous quest to reclaim to the fleece of zeus from the kingdom of colchis, ego's and sword's clash as jason an unworthy captain in view of many of his crew tries to maintain order on the infamous vessel as it transverse's the known world. robert graves who wrote a volume on greek mythology here r [...]

    22. I have read and likes many Robert Graves books. But this one was too much like a dense book of myths for an academic audience, and not much of a story. I almost gave up about 10% of the way in. But I read some reviews here, and decided to keep going. I guess that I am glad that I did. I still did not enjoy it. If you approach this as a story, in the sense of a normal historical novel, it leaves a lot to be desired. Unlike nearly all of Graves' other historical novels, which I have enjoyed. While [...]

    23. I probably read this in high school and thoroughly enjoyed re-reading it. With a myth you already know the story- the trick is to see how the writer makes it work. I love Graves' perspective and am going back to revisit his myths and the White Goddess.I was struck by how few scholars these days (or maybe I just don't hang in the right circles) actually read the classics in Greek and Latin. What sources we must be missing! We do have the modern information that comes from Archeology and aerial ph [...]

    24. This was a fun bedtime read. It feels like we went on an epic family adventure reading it together. Why only 3 stars? The books writing is stilted. From the time the Argo launches until the successful return of the fleece the pace of the book moves. The building of the Argo and the choosing of the crew portion of the book is slow. The chapter following the quest's completion was a big lousy downer. If I'd have known, I'd have skipped it.It's clever that one can read the book as full of magic, st [...]

    25. I will have to come back to this one. About 150 pages into it on my e-reader, I concluded that I bit off more than I can chew here. I was looking for some good, authentic ancient world literature. This may have been too authentic. I felt like I was slogging through the Iliad, back in high school, wondering what the heck I was missing in this classic text.As others have forewarned, the story builds very slowly and with numbing detail. There's an intriguing start to the story with the history of g [...]

    26. In which Graves (of I, Claudius) writes a Greek myth. There were many moments in reading this when I forgot that this was written in 1943 and not translated from the original Greek - the style fits seemlessly in with the translations one finds in, say, the Penguin Classics. The voyage of the Jason and the Argonauts is brought to life exceedingly well. The heroes are for the most part well sketched characters (especially the drunken old sentmental bully Hercules) and none of them likeable (especi [...]

    27. Amé esta historia mucho mucho. Graves logra describir a los personajes griegos bajo una luz propia que es estupenda. Me encantó como presenta al personaje de Hércules, nunca nadie lo hizo de esta forma y al mismo tiempo es completamente creíble y brillante. Medea, Atalanta, Jason, Orfeo, todos están geniales. Ni una sola linea de este libro tiene desperdicio, es una genialidad. En mi gusto el mejor de todos los de Graves.

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