5 Books Inspired by Antiquity & the Classics

5 Books Inspired by Antiquity & the Classics

Books retelling Greek & Roman myths video:

Where to read Ancient Myths | Ancient Literature recommendations:

The Books:

The Vegetarian:
The Secret History:
The Just City:
XO Orpheus:
The Walled Orchard:

Where else can you find me?
My Blog:

If you would like to support me and all of the things I do on this channel please consider donating a spare dollar to my patreon page (only a spare one though):

Want to read more and get involved with the discussions surrounding feminism? I organise a book club by the name of the Feminist Orchestra for those that are interested.
Find us on goodreads:
And on twitter:
And learn more about the book clubs beginnings in this video:

What do I use to film my videos?
I am currently using a Canon 700d camera with the kit lens to film my videos linked here:
With a 32GB memory card:
I also use a 183cm Super Strong Tripod linked here:
And when filming at night or in low light PhotoSel soft box lights, which are linked here:

Links to bookdepository and amazon are usually affiliate links.

so little while ago I did a video all about books that are based on classical mythology from ancient Greece or ancient Rome these are books retelling mess either in an ancient setting or in a more modern setting I felt when I was following that video Lord that I could have encompassed so many other books in it if my definition was a slightly looser there are so many books inspired by classics and antiquity in general I wanted to mention but felt like I kind of boxed myself and with the missing so I thought it might just be fun to do a more general book recommendations of books that are inspired by classics into Greece engine-room and mythology in general because of that more general theme there is a really wide variety of different types of books in this video hopefully something for everybody and without further ado let's get into the books show first off I'm going to start with a book that is inspired by a message say it in a modern setting and it's specifically taking its cue from one piece of ancient literature which is ovid metamorphoses which was an ancient Roman epic poem and it may come as a surprise to you but that is in fact the vegetarian by hand another story actually takes a lot of its influence from like I mentioned Ovid's metamorphoses and specifically the myth of daphne and apollo in a mess of daphne and apollo apollo takes a liking to daphne and pursues her in order to have sex with her but she does not want to have sex with the god his advances are unwanted so she flees from his pursuit in the hopes of being saved from one god she prayed to the other gods to help her and they interpret her wishes by turning her into a tree now if you've raised a vegetarian you can probably see a lot of the inspiration from that mess in this story already and if you read it you definitely able to pick up on themes of the body of female sexuality of lack of control over one's body the misuse of one body by others all of those kind of things as well as quite a lot of references to trees that's Esther although I believe this book completely stands on its own nice extra added level I think together as a reader the book itself is set in South Korea and Han Kang is a Korean author in the book was originally written in Korean I was translated into English by Deborah Smith it follows one woman but we never get her perspective we have three chapters each tool from the perspective of somebody else in her life her husband her sister's husband and then her sister herself it deals with her mental health as well as her lack of control over who embodies sexist attitudes in her culture and society and her attempt to kind of reclaim herself through what starts as becoming a vegetarian and ends up progressing quite extremely as the book goes on it's a wonderful wonderful story very short and I would recommend it to anybody the next vehicle will also set in a modern setting I feel is quite different in the inspiration it takes to run tickity and that is the secret history by Donna Tartt now this story or the group of students predominantly following our main students who come to this university late and wishes to take ancient Greek and Latin the ancient Greek crossover is a very quickie grip and he has to sort of ingratiate himself into becoming a part of that clique but when he becomes a part of that Creek it leads to some really strange relationship unhealthy interaction and strange group mentality and they try to recreate what in antiquity was known as a Bacchanalia in the Latin which is the celebration of the god Dionysus or Bacchus who is a God Wayne and parties essentially and it all takes a very dark time in a middle you know from the outset of the service that somebody dies how that happens you don't learn until the Middle's I won't spoil that for you but it's all about the lead-up to and the aftermath of this death tons of references to integrity and classics for those of you that are interested as well as a little bit of ancient Greek thrown in there no and then but also a phenomenally intriguing dark beautifully written interesting novel for anybody to read next up as a book I think has an incredibly intriguing concept and then behind it and that is the just city by jewel Walton this book is actually inspired by Plato's Republic now Plato's Republic was a piece of ancient Greek philosophical writings it was famously an ancient Greek philosopher and his Republic is a hypothetical utopian society that he believes would be the most just society there is and of course it comes from a very ancient Greek Athenian perspective although he has a lot of objections to the Athenian society he lives in Plato was not a Democrat and didn't believe in democracy his system is actually incredibly hierarchical safe to say however that the Republic is not my dream Society but it's such an interesting content to take that book and basically write a story sake in this utopian society it's safe in antiquity and it revolves around the gods who have decided they want to taste Oh Plato's dream by creating this Society cut off from the rest of the world so they've always terribly wrong they don't have to deal with the after-effects of interacting with the rest of the world and they even take is far to pick the people that will live in their society from throughout time so tightly fastening contact and I'm a big fan of what Dalton does is general sharing some of the interesting stuff in a variety of different kind of genres next up is a book I completely forgot to mention in my other video and that is X or cs50 new mix edited by Kate de bernheimer this is a collection of short stories by of various different authors all retailing ancient myths now in all fairness is probably didn't quite fit around the video because it's not purely Greek and Roman myths I was asked taken here as well as covers other mythologies but it does include Greek enormous I thought I could include it in this video some of the classical mythology includes RDB listen Icarus narcissus and ankle Orpheus and Euridice Pygmalion and Galatea and Argos Odysseus is faithful dog enjoys doing Rihanna but we also see characters from Indian Punjabi anyway and so many other different mythological backgrounds so that's a really fascinating concept in itself and because of the variety of settings mythologies and rated each one is truly unique and lastly for this video at least something completely different and that's the world orchard by Tom Hall to Tom Walters one of my favorite comedic writers he writes a lot of comedic fantasy but in this book he decides to take on antiquity and set one of his comedic novels in classical Athens the first sentence on the blurb is the heroism opus we read cynical and believing only in comedy the story itself of course focuses in on the stages of cast Glassons which were an important center of Athenian life in so many ways and deals with both Athenian comedy and tragedy modern humorous novel set in integrity is certainly not a genre I think they're mostly familiar with so I think it's really fun to have something like that out there especially since I'm a big fan of television and film comedies that are tackled antiquity and I think really comedy can make some of the most interesting observations on any aspects of any society it's something I think is a really interesting tool to see how it can be used I'm gonna stick to the five for now there are so many other books with classical scenes classical allusions and ancient settings that I could mention to you so if you did enjoy this video let me know and I will film another one in the future we'll call this installment one shall we and if you didn't manage to check out of my books based on classical myths the video then I will link that up here down below as well as my video on where to be the original ancient Greek and Roman myths if you're interested in a bit of classical literature until next time oh happy reading and I'll see y'all again soon bye guys


  1. the han kang book reminds me a bit of Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman. Only from what you said, though, I haven't read the novel yet but I sure will soon.

  2. I just read The Power by Naomi Alderman & rather unexpectedly and excitingly there were loads of allusions to bacchic worship & the maeneds and at one point the narrative was directly paralleling the Pentheus story in Ovid's Metamorphoses (even down to the similes). Anyway that made the nerd in me very happy.

  3. Oh I really enjoy Walton too! I've seen you talk about Holt a couple of times and based on your love for Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett I feel like I'd enjoy Tom Holt so need to give him a try soon! Thank you xx

  4. I'll be in Edinburgh next week, hauling books!
    I would not mind another one with "characters studying the classics" as a premise, I'm feeling nostalgic! Do you have something? Otherwise I'll go with a good Roman study.
    The Secret History has been my favorite book since forever, alongside The Count Of Monte Cristo and We Have Always Lived In The Castle…

  5. Love that you do these types of videos; because of you Jean, my shelf is becoming interestingly more mature and fun! Love love love that you always talk about classics and antiquity!

  6. Oh, this would be an awesome series. You could even do little categories for it. Like 5 books inspired by Eastern myths or 5 books inspired by Victorian literature or something.

  7. I will definitely pick up the walled orchard, I love this series you are doing Greek mythology fascinates me and I definitely don't know enough about it! These videos are great

  8. This is exactly my area of interest in the classics (which I always mean to pursue and haven't): how myths and stories from antiquity are recreated and remixed in contemporary storytelling. I had no idea about The Vegetarian! Sending this on to my book club because we all missed that.

  9. Oh, I was hoping for one of these videos (and would love more, please :). The Secret History is on my summer TBR. Do you know about Yukio Mishima's "The Sounds of Waves"? I read it years ago in a class I took on Japanese literature in translation and loved it. After I read "Daphnis and Chloe" earlier this year, I found out it inspired "The Sound of Waves," so I reread it and saw so many parallels, both plot and theme.

  10. The Vegetarian was one of my favorite books of last year. I still think about it – and all the layers that come with it. The Just City sounds fascinating. I am going to look that one up. This is a really fun list.

  11. The Secret History is known to be a fantastic novel, and I loved it! The Just City is another book I really loved. It read like a historical fiction, with just a tiny bit of fantasy thrown in! It's a trilogy, and I haven't yet read the third but I highly recommend it!

  12. I'm so interested about the myth you mentioned with "The Vegetarian"! I was always so upset with the fact that the majority of reviews I saw on that book were quite low, while I adored it, and everyone's reviews were basically along the lines of "I don't get it." I wish more people understood the Korean culture aspects that influenced the book and made it happened and the myth that you were talking about! I think more people would be able to enjoy it to its fullest if they did!

  13. I automatically click like on your classics videos before they even start playing. I'm so grateful for the information you share with us. My book selection is so much more varied and interesting as a result.

  14. I've never spotted the ancient myth element in The Vegetarian until now, ooh you're a clever one you! I really enjoyed The Secret History. If you haven't got it yet I would recommend Fell by Jenn Ashworth which has a big classical element hidden underneath it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *