"ARIADNE, AWAKE!" by Doris Orgel


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A novella-length adaptation of the myth in a large, handsome format that's much enhanced by the arresting perspectives and pellucid Grecian light in Moser's elegantly crafted watercolor portraits. Ariadne describes her role in vanquishing the Minotaur, Theseus's abandoning her on Naxos, and her union with Dionysus. Orgel selects details skillfully, shaping the narrative to a dignity appropriate to the myth. She also gives it emotional coherence by providing Ariadne with compelling reasons to betray her father and her half-brother the Minotaur, and by suggesting that Theseus's inconstancy -- which he tells Ariadne is because ""the gods are jealous of our love"" -- also has to do with an Athenian girl. On the other hand, though she details the remarkable means by which the Minotaur was conceived, Orgel evades some of the implications of Ariadne's ""wedding."" She's neither priestess nor debauchee here; she and Dionysus simply have ""many children together [and teach] people the arts of cultivating grapes and making wine."" A note exploring sources and the author's philosophy in creating her version would have been a real plus. Still, a dramatic introduction to a fascinating myth.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
Page count: 74pp
Publisher: Viking