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Diane Buttress

Theseus and the Minotaur

YEAR: 2013

COUNTRY: United Kingdom

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Title of the work

Theseus and the Minotaur

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

United Kingdom, United States of America

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2013

First Edition Details

Diane Buttress, Theseus and the Minotaur. Amazon Kindle, 2013, 15 pp.

ISBN

ASIN: B00BMDRVIS

Genre

Adaptations
Myths
Poetry

Target Audience

Children (5–10 (primary school age))

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, lisa.maurice@biu.ac.il

Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, s.deacy@roehampton.ac.uk 

Female portrait

Diane Buttress , b. 1975
(Author)

Diane Buttress is a British primary school teacher and a children author from Leicester. According to her Amazon biography, she trained to be a primary school teacher, specialising in music, at Homerton College, Cambridge. It is added that her aim is to teach children about various things (such as the British Saints’ days) in an entertaining fashion. Buttress prefers writing in verse than in prose. She writes specifically for Kindle.


Source:

Profile at amazon.co.uk (accessed: November 26, 2019).


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com


Summary

This Kindle edition features a unique retelling of the Minotaur myth, since it is delivered in poetry.

The story is aimed to make the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur accessible to young readers. The story begins when Theseus, the prince of Athens, volunteers to sail to Crete and slay the Minotaur. There is no mention of Daedalus, Minos or even Ariadne. Theseus encounters the Minotaur, kills him and is celebrated as a hero.

Analysis

The introduction to the tale is meant to entice the young readers: 

“If you think you’re brave enough, 

For this tale of blood and gore, 

Then step into the labyrinth! 

Let’s meet the Minotaur…”

There is no real gore inside the actual story, but it helps create curiosity and suspense for the readers. This rendition is also very suitable to be read aloud, in class or at home. The short, rhythmical lines present the events in simple sentences which the children can understand. 

Numerous books have delineated the duel between Theseus and the Minotaur, to name a few: Geraldine McCaughrean presented a critique biography of the mythological hero in her Theseus (2003); Saviour Pirotta offered a very remote story from the original myth, in My Cousin the Minotaur (2017), in which the Minotaur was a cursed human; Valentina Orlando followed the tale according to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, with accompanying lavish illustrations by Celina Elmi in Ovid for Fun (2012).

Yet while all of these were retellings of the myth, none ventured to present the myth in rhymed verse.

Reading the story as a rhyming poem makes it a bit more lighthearted and may be more easily understood by young readers. It is an interesting attempt. However, the story as it is presented completely omits any mention of Ariadne, without whose contribution, Theseus would not have left the labyrinth alive.

It appears as if the author aims at quite young readership and wishes to familiarize the readers with the adventures and excitement of the ancient myths. The story is written in clear and accessible language. For example, the author describes how Aegeus and Theseus lived in a palace:

“They lived in a mighty palace, 

With gold and jewels and all that bling”.

By the end of her book, the author makes an association between the poet of old and the continued reception of the myth:

“And poets will remember him, 

Of his heroic deeds they’ll sing!

And maybe...just maybe… 

When 3000 years have gone 

People will still tell his story. 

The Minotaur legend lives on…”

With her own poem, the author links herself to the poets of old, who sang the praises of Theseus and other heroes. She continues following their example and the children who read or hear this tale are also therefore connected to a larger chain of reception which engulfs Greek Mythology. There is no “maybe” since we already have a modern version of the tale, thus it is affirmed that the legend of the Minotaur continues to fascinate audience after three millennia.

As noted, the author prefers to maintain Theseus vanquishing a monstrous being as the core of the story, without any darker implications such as the suicide of Aegeus and the tales of Daedalus and Ariadne. Therefore the young readers get what is hopefully an intriguing glimpse or taste of the ancient world and perhaps it would encourage them to seek the full story later.


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Leaf pattern
Leaf pattern

Title of the work

Theseus and the Minotaur

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

United Kingdom, United States of America

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2013

First Edition Details

Diane Buttress, Theseus and the Minotaur. Amazon Kindle, 2013, 15 pp.

ISBN

ASIN: B00BMDRVIS

Genre

Adaptations
Myths
Poetry

Target Audience

Children (5–10 (primary school age))

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, lisa.maurice@biu.ac.il

Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, s.deacy@roehampton.ac.uk 

Female portrait

Diane Buttress (Author)

Diane Buttress is a British primary school teacher and a children author from Leicester. According to her Amazon biography, she trained to be a primary school teacher, specialising in music, at Homerton College, Cambridge. It is added that her aim is to teach children about various things (such as the British Saints’ days) in an entertaining fashion. Buttress prefers writing in verse than in prose. She writes specifically for Kindle.


Source:

Profile at amazon.co.uk (accessed: November 26, 2019).


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com


Summary

This Kindle edition features a unique retelling of the Minotaur myth, since it is delivered in poetry.

The story is aimed to make the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur accessible to young readers. The story begins when Theseus, the prince of Athens, volunteers to sail to Crete and slay the Minotaur. There is no mention of Daedalus, Minos or even Ariadne. Theseus encounters the Minotaur, kills him and is celebrated as a hero.

Analysis

The introduction to the tale is meant to entice the young readers: 

“If you think you’re brave enough, 

For this tale of blood and gore, 

Then step into the labyrinth! 

Let’s meet the Minotaur…”

There is no real gore inside the actual story, but it helps create curiosity and suspense for the readers. This rendition is also very suitable to be read aloud, in class or at home. The short, rhythmical lines present the events in simple sentences which the children can understand. 

Numerous books have delineated the duel between Theseus and the Minotaur, to name a few: Geraldine McCaughrean presented a critique biography of the mythological hero in her Theseus (2003); Saviour Pirotta offered a very remote story from the original myth, in My Cousin the Minotaur (2017), in which the Minotaur was a cursed human; Valentina Orlando followed the tale according to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, with accompanying lavish illustrations by Celina Elmi in Ovid for Fun (2012).

Yet while all of these were retellings of the myth, none ventured to present the myth in rhymed verse.

Reading the story as a rhyming poem makes it a bit more lighthearted and may be more easily understood by young readers. It is an interesting attempt. However, the story as it is presented completely omits any mention of Ariadne, without whose contribution, Theseus would not have left the labyrinth alive.

It appears as if the author aims at quite young readership and wishes to familiarize the readers with the adventures and excitement of the ancient myths. The story is written in clear and accessible language. For example, the author describes how Aegeus and Theseus lived in a palace:

“They lived in a mighty palace, 

With gold and jewels and all that bling”.

By the end of her book, the author makes an association between the poet of old and the continued reception of the myth:

“And poets will remember him, 

Of his heroic deeds they’ll sing!

And maybe...just maybe… 

When 3000 years have gone 

People will still tell his story. 

The Minotaur legend lives on…”

With her own poem, the author links herself to the poets of old, who sang the praises of Theseus and other heroes. She continues following their example and the children who read or hear this tale are also therefore connected to a larger chain of reception which engulfs Greek Mythology. There is no “maybe” since we already have a modern version of the tale, thus it is affirmed that the legend of the Minotaur continues to fascinate audience after three millennia.

As noted, the author prefers to maintain Theseus vanquishing a monstrous being as the core of the story, without any darker implications such as the suicide of Aegeus and the tales of Daedalus and Ariadne. Therefore the young readers get what is hopefully an intriguing glimpse or taste of the ancient world and perhaps it would encourage them to seek the full story later.


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