Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Georges Moroz, Hercules: The Complete Myths of a Legendary Hero. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1997, 132 pp.
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Author of the Entry:
Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, firstname.lastname@example.org
Georges Moroz (Author)
Georges is an author and translator of children’s books. Among his book are Hercules: The Twelve Labors, The Ink Drinker, The City of Ink Drinkers.
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Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
The book narrates the life of Hercules from his birth, his madness, the twelve labours, his war campaigns (the war against Troy, for example) and finally his death and apotheosis. The book is in novel form.
This book presents the exploits of Hercules as a series of stories. A contents page provides guidance for readers who want to move among the stories as they choose. It also narrates Hercules’ exploits in the war against Troy and other wars which are usually missing from other similar works. In the introduction there is an explanation regarding the name Hercules and how it is the Roman pronunciation yet there is no explanation for why the author chose to use the Roman pronunciation. In the Afterwards section there is an explanation regarding the structure of the Hercules’ story and similar tales from other cultures. As the author explains (p. 131): "there is more to Hercules than meets the eye... Hercules seems to be a link between Greek culture and more ancient cultures from the neighbouring Near East. Even more importantly, the patterns discernible in the legends pertaining to the hero may point to connections with the Indo-European sphere as well." This scholarly discussion is a bonus to the work since it takes the tales and also puts them in a wider cultural context. Yet the stories themselves are not affected by this approach. While they are detailed, there is no linkage to other cultures. There is also short bibliography at the end to complement the discussion. No doubt the author intended for his readers to explore more that narrative of Hercules and not just settle for the stories.
The narrative is very detailed; it begins with the lineage of Hercules’ mother and Amphitryon. It seems as if the author wished to convey a different angle to the story than the tales usually repeated so he adds less known details. Even the names of Hercules’ sons by Megara are named. There is less space devoted to Hercules’ youth and growing up. The minute details would be more suited for older readership than small children in my opinion. In this story it is briefly stated that Hera tricked Hercules to believe his children were his enemies and so he killed them. Then there is a more detailed narration of how he killed each one of them.
The twelve labours are briefly narrated, about 2–4 pages per task. The author aims for completeness of coverage, bringing to light a number of lesser known stories from the Hercules corpus. Some of these stories involve aspects that are less suitable for younger readers, indicating that the target readership is likely teenagers. The story of Hercules’ slavery under Queen Omphale is also less known. The emphasis on the queen's “sensual needs”(p. 105) could hint that the story is not aimed at young readers. The end of the book offers a happy ending for Hercules’ life in Olympus which might contrast the fact that the book is aimed at teenagers who could understand a more tragic outcome. Perhaps the author hoped for a “happy ever after” for his hero. The story of Hercules is very contrasted; a miserable death on earth yet there is also a version of his happier life at Olympus. By choosing to end the story on this happier note, the author accentuates the feeling of catharsis; Hercules labors and pain are finally over.