MEDEA: A Modern Retelling by Christa Wolf

MEDEA: A Modern Retelling

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German novelist Wolf's discursive retelling of the familiar Greek legend, a logical outgrowth from her earlier novel Cassandra (1984), is--pace Margaret Atwood, who contributes an informative Introduction--a humorless and essentially predictable political allegory envisioning the reviled sorceress and murderer (of her children) as a victim of male arrogance and sexual insecurity. Medea's homeland Colchis is a ""darker"" counterpart to the kingdom of Corinth, a self-aggrandizing state that brutally distorts troth to justify its imperialistic crimes. Wolf offers a chorus of ""Voices""--the eponymous heroine, her weak-willed adventurer husband Jason, and other players in the drama of Corinth's power straggle--to chronicle the scapegoating of an insubordinate female goaded to become ""immoderate . . . a Fury, just what the Corinthians needed her to be."" Overwrought, and markedly inferior to Wolf's better fiction.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Talese/Doubleday