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Medea Stimmen

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T always strong But they are thereThere have been better reviews of the book that I will ever be able to write So just go and read It s frighteningly easy to turn the pages The text flows and you know where it goes oh you know and still you have to read onYou hear Medea on the other side of the paper wall between the millennia And you walk with her and with the others blessed and cursed into this existence And for a moment you are glad that you live today And then the illusion goes away and you know that things are not better Different perhaps but human nature has not changed not yet and not in our lifetimeAnd because it s Margaret Atwood who is oted on the backside of my edition praising Christa Wolf for the book a praise than earned everything I missed it Atwood s Handmaid s Tale is here A perfect and sharp diamond knife About a year ago I read and loved David Vann s take on the Medea myth Bright Air Black It follows the original story very closely and offers few surprises in terms of plot for those already familiar with the tale but it endeavors and succeeds in giving Medea a narrative voice allowing her to tell her own story Christa Wolf s Medea published 20 years earlier than Bright Air Black is another feminist victory for this narrative but interestingly Wolf s and Vann s interpretations of Medea s character couldn t be different I love them bothVann s is very straightforward Though he at times renders her character sympathetic in a way that s deeply nsettling his Medea is every bit as violent and vindictive as you d expect Wolf approaches the narrative from a different vantage point altogether What if Corinth stood something to gain from Medea being painted as a monster This is the estion Wolf explores in this politically driven retelling narrated in a series of monologues by Medea Jason Glauce and other individuals in the royal court at CorinthThe first thing that struck me as soon as I finished Medea s first chapter and started reading Jason s was how startlingly different their narrative voices were which I think is such an incredible and impressive feat to accomplish in a book like this which hinges on different characters perspectives telling the same story The other thing that struck me was the mastery and lyricism of Wolf s prose translated beautifully from the German by John Cullen It s possible they sense my The Diary of Jack the Ripper unbelief my lack of faith in anything It s possible they can t bear that When I ran over the field where the frenzied women had strewn your dismembered limbs when I ran over that field wailing in the deepening darkness and gathered youp poor broken brother piece by piece bone by bone that s when I stopped believing How could we be meant to come back to this earth in a new form Why should a dead man s limbs scattered over a field make that field fertile Why should the gods who demand from Brendas Private Swing us continual proofs of gratitude and submission lets die in order to send Real Service us back to earth again Your death opened my eyes wide Apsyrtus For the first time I found solace in the fact that I don t have to live forever And then I was able to let go of that belief born out of fear to be exact it repelled me I mean that s stunningWhat I love so much about mythological retellings the reason I read the same stories over and over again written by different authors is that each retelling offers something new each author interacts with the original story in a different way That s clear in the stark contrast between Medea and Bright Air Black how one can render Medea as a victim and the other as a villain while both staying in their own way true to the original myth Wolf s retelling is also concerned with the greater political context of Corinth at the time of Medea and Jason s arrival it reflects on how a community is willing to turn a blind eye to its leaders faults which is relevant not only in our current political climate but also to Wolf s own life when you consider that she grewp in the GDR This is what I mean when I talk about the Crown Mitre universality of myth and how it belongs to everyone and how individuals from different cultures and different backgrounds can all draw different conclusions from the same story and why Euripides and Seneca s versions of Medea remain so important thousands of years after they were written Wolf s Medea beautifully written thoughtful and resonant is the perfect reminder of this story s relevance The political human being as a narcissistic monster who projects its crimes on the victim What a scary scary tale And how bizarre that I thought it was milder than Euripides and Seneca the first time I read it a long time ago It is brutally wild After her experience of the breakdown of East Germany Christa Wolf wrote this novel retelling of the ancient myth of Medea in the early 1990s after some years of depression and silence due to the shock of the loss of her country and the following witch hunt that hit hernexpectedly from an increasingly arrogant West German journalism and literary criticismMedea seems to be her catharsis her way of writing herself out of the pain of not having a place to call home any The old place Kolchis in the novel had crumbled and died in the brutal showdown of an all powerful male ego Her new home Korinth needs her to be a scapegoat to deflect from inherent problems in their own political power structures The wild woman refusing to bow to ambitious and vain men is hunted down and put on trial for not being part of the danse macabre of RealpolitikWhat is truth Truth is what you can make people believeThe honest living and breathing people the outsiders and foreigners learn the hardest possible way that there is no lie too blunt to be believed if it benefits the believer to make it an infallible truthWho killed Medea s childrenDoes it matter as long as history is written by a homo politicusMedea Trying To Live A Real Seeing Life to live a real seeing life accept HER HOMELESSNESS IN A WORLD OF CHILDISHLY EGOMANIAC LEADERS homelessness in a world of childishly egomaniac leaders by ruthlessly opportunistic and inhumanely indifferent advisers Gro e schreckliche Kinder Medea Das nimmt zu glaub mir Das greift Amagami Precious diary, um sichWhat a brilliantly twisted interpretation of the old patriarchal myth Christa Wolf offers here Her vision is crystal clear disillusioned honest and she will burn as a witch for her insolence pointing out the weakness of men as a woman and a refugeeThis is Medea in her true colours Scarier than the ancient version because she is the victim of a fake news factory not the killer holding a knife or a machine gun She is the truth that is denounced as fake news by a scared yet powerful political animalChapeau Wolf Wild woman you are I really don t feel like I have the words to do this justice but it sndoubtedly one of the best books I ever read It s like a huge portrayal of the dynamics of human nature and society the clash of different cultures intrigues oppression and power and in the middle of it this headstrong independent woman with her modern views and the way she JAPAN 1/1M3. uestions everything and by that threatens to bring the entire corrupt system down which is the cause of her downfall in the end She s the stranger the one who doesn t fit in the one who doesn t bow the ideal scapegoat for people to blame for problems actually caused by the higher authorities It goes without saying that all of this is especially fascinating contrasted with the original myth of Medea and how it s completely turned on its head hereI can t get into detail because I would have to write an entire book myself The story is told through multiple perspectives and every character even the ones with no POVs hell if you think about it even the anonymous masses is so intricate and psychologically complex that I feel I could read this book 10 times and still discover new thoughts new implications new perspectives I definitely want to read of Christa Wolf s books now Do we let ourselves go back to the ancients or do they catchp with s No matter A great deal of fan fiction is written to the tune of reacting to earlier material bloated with populist credibility with What the fuck is this shit Sometimes it ll be the politer shade of Shakespeare smoothing out and filling in the gaps of his stolen histories with nary a trace of his authorial human self Other times an I Tituba Black Witch of Salem will rise out of the words of a Maryse Cond and run roughshod over evidence and genre and reality in eual measure Milton preferred shitting on everything and trusting that his prose would save him which it and his pasty skin and cisnormative dick did in the long run canonically speaking but that doesn t make his Paradise Lost any fundamentally original The most emphatic however would have to be Wolf not Woolf although I adore her works as well and her kind Ancient Greeks were chosen by Europeans as heralded ancestors for reasons than the vainglorious and nonsensical theory that is race and to an Anglocentric reader such as I this is easily explained by when at a particular point in history Englanders could sing The een is dead Long live the King Do you know what they re looking for Medea she asked me They re looking for a woman who ll tell them that they re not guilty of anything that the gods whom they worship by chance compel them in their The Trial of Lizzie Borden undertakings That the track of blood they leave behind is proper to their male nature as the gods have determined it There are a lot of people who believe the world is only five hundred years old They wave away the rampant normalization of the white male as the norm as a biological destiny throw tantrums when you point out how said biology breaks down the white and the male and then some then nod solemnly to themselves when you decide you re better off talking to people whose nightmares are of oppression and fear rather than immigrants and increased taxes Very few of that sort would pickp a book like this but you can rest assured they were too busy being threatened by what it had to say to do the customary thing of clinging tightly to objectivity in the fact of castration and the other breeds of damage the maenads can wreak Look the woman who tore men to pieces were just a facet of the times and the way in which the narrative ncritically portrays this is just the author embodying the Own children to her jealous rage In this novel Wolf explodes the myth offering moder. It s odd how at times my readings appear to converge or echo each other ite Myself Among Others unconsciously From two entirely different directions I determined to reread my collection of Emma Goldman s writings and Christa Wolf s Medea And yet I found striking parallels between Goldman and Medea Both women flee their homelands Tsarist Russia and Colchis respectively when young disillusioned with their countries Both travel to an idealized land that promises a better life America ancient Greece And both hookp with men who prove nreliable Alexander Berkman Jason But aside from these rather superficial correspondences the vital parallel is that both women fight to live in a world where they can freely express their individuality and beyond that for a world where everyone can have the same opportunity It can be disheartening to see how little progress we ve made in the 72 years since Goldman died Indeed I could suggest that we re rapidly becoming and like the societies both women fought against making this book and Emma Goldman all the relevantFor those nfamiliar with the story of Medea and that may be a larger figure than I d like to think considering the state of modern education let me How to Be an Even Better Listener uote from Margaret Atwood s introduction as she gives a reasonably concise outlineAeson king of Iolcus in Thessaly had his thronesurped by this half brother Pelias Aeson s son Jason was saved and sent away to be educated by the centaur Cheiron Grown to manhood he arrived at the court of Pelias to claim his birthright but Pelias said he would surrender the throne only on condition that Jason bring back the Golden Fleece from Colchis a demand which was thought to be the euivalent of a death sentence as Colchis situated at the extreme end of the Black Sea was thought to be The Robot Lovers unreachable Jason had either to refuse theest and give Ancient Magick Conjuration of Power up all hope of the throne or accept it and endanger his life He chose the latter course and summoned fifty heroes from all over Greece to his aid These were the Argonauts named after their ship who after many perils and adventures arrived at last at Colchis There Jason demanded the Golden Fleece as his by inheritanceAe tes King of Colchis set impossible conditions Jason was ready to admit defeat when he was seen by Princess Medea daughter of Ae tes granddaughter of Helius the sun god priestess of the Triple Goddess of the Underworld and a powerful sorceress Overcome by her love for Jason shesed her occult knowledge to help him surmount the various obstacles and to obtain the Fleece in return for which Jason swore by all the gods to remain true to her forever Together with the Argonauts the two lovers set sail by night but once the alarm was raised King Ae tes and the Colchians followed themSome say Jason killed Medea s younger brother Apsyrtus others that Medea herself murdered the boy dismembered him and scattered the pieces in the ocean After several escapades the two now lawfully man and wife were welcomed at Corinth by its King CreonJason forgetting both his debt of gratitude and his vows to all the gods forsook his loyalty to Medea Some say he was swayed by the insinuations of Creon others that he was overcome by a new love others that he was impelled by ambition but in any case he decided to repudiate Medea and marry Creon s daughter Glauce thus becoming the heir to Corinth Medea herself was to be banished from the cityMedea torn by conflicting emotions concocted a horrible revenge Pretending to accept Jason s decision and to wish for peace between them she sent a bridal gift to Glauce a beautiful but poisonous dress which when the rays of the sun hit it burst into flame whereupon Glauce in agony threw herself into a well Some say that the people of Corinth then stoned Medea s children to death others that she herself killed them either to save them from a worse fate or to pay Jason back for his treachery She then disappeared from Corinth some say in a chariot drawn by dragons Jason abandoned by the gods whom he had foresworn became a wandering vagabond and was at last crushed by the prow of his own rotting ship pp ix xiAs Atwood alludes and as one can read in Robert Graves The Greek Myths there are many variations to the story It was ancient when Homer composed The Iliad and its most ancient layers hearken back to a pre Greek era when the Goddess in her many guises was the supreme deity and women than the chattel of their male relations It s this most archaic stratum that Wolf mines to present her version of the myth While it can be read as a strictly feminist tract it shouldn t be It s issues are far broader than a discussion of women s place in society It s a critiue of modern capitalist and yes male dominated culture and on a personal and the important level it s an argument for the importance of retaining one s integrity as a person in the face of enormous pressure to conform and submit And that s why I ve revised my rating to four stars it spoke to me powerfully now than it did 15 years ago when I was Choosing the Right Pond unfortunately a less discerning readerWolf picksp the tale toward the end of Medea s exile in Corinth She and Jason are estranged and she has long since lost any illusions she may have had about the nature of her erstwhile lover s homeland It is as corrupt and oppressive Colchis was becoming nder her father s faltering grip The story is told in six voices Medea s of course also Jason s Glauce s Agameda s a Colchian exile Akamas Creon s first astronomer and Leukon s the city s second astronomerAGAMEDA Agameda one of the Colchian exiles who have followed Medea and a former pupil is an angry young woman Too weak to live p to the standards Medea sets for herself and others Agameda embraces Corinth and accepts her role as a woman in it though she ruthlessly manipulates the men around her to ruin Medea Everything revolves around herself and there s no thought for others As she notesWe spoke not a syllable about what this desired result might be We made a game of our plans which grew and refined and played it in an nreal atmosphere as though no one could be affected by our playing If "one wishes to think freely and effectively at the same time this is "wishes to think freely and effectively at the same time this is very seful method It s a kind of thinking over that we in Colchis haven t yet recognized and supposedly given only to men but I know I have a talent for it Only I practice it in secret p 64And she combines a colossal ego p 59 with low self esteem p 58If Agameda symbolizes anything in this myth it s the person who submits to oppression then manipulates the system to feather her own nest deluding herself that she has power over her destiny and othersJASON If Agameda is the sly The Ghost Light Kids Get Hooked uisling who betrays her own interests for short term fantasies of power Jason is one who submits and then does his best to remainnnoticed He s the gullible idiot who believes the lies and self delusions He doesn t even pretend to manipulate events but whines incessantly about his powerlessness Both of his chapters begin with a variation of chapter nine s plaint I didn t want any of this to happen but what could I have done p 165GLAUCE Glauce is burdened with a hideous secret view spoilerher sister s murder by her father hide spoiler ality Rating Three StarsEnjoyment Rating Three StarsI ve wanted to read Medea ever since I discovered Cassandra another ancient Greek myth retelling by Christa Wolf I can t tell you how much I fell in love with that book and so to be fair Medea was always going to have a hard time competing In the end it didn t even touch Cassandra in terms of excellence but I think there were several circumstantial things that contributed to that aside from the storyThe first of which is that I m pretty sure Medea must have had a different translator to Cassandra Christa Wolf was a German writer and scholar and so her works are translated into English Medea felt so much harder to read for me it was dense its word choice wasn t as vivid and succinct and just generally hard to read The book is less than 200 pages and it took me the better part of a month to get through It might be that I m wrong and it s just an example of Wolf s earlier work or something like that but considering it is a translated work I d imagine that s what I struggled withAside from that Wolf s style did still shine through at times I love how she tells stories her books are less of a narrative story and fictionalised studies The non linear structure focuses on a human flaw in each character and slowly reveals how it combines with the other flaws of the characters into a spiral of tragedy Her novels very much follow the style of the ancient stage tragedies even though they aren t direct retellings of any plays from antiuity It s not for everyone but if you re fascinated by people like me it s some of the best stuff out thereI m a self proclaimed classics nerd but I m not as familiar with the tale of Jason and Medea as I am with a lot of Greek myths And even though retellings shouldn t se the original versions as a crutch not knowing the story well to start with did take away from my experience reading this novel I felt like a lot of the politics and cultural and personal relationships were revealed once they became apparent to the story but actually being aware of them to start with might have helped in nderstanding what was actually happening I only say this because I know in Cassandra there were a lot of critiues and comments made in the subtext that I only noticed because I knew a lot about the Trojan War to begin with Perhaps it s something to look at if I ever reread this book but it didn t strike me as the most accessible instance of a myth retellingMedea definitely wasn t as vivid as Cassandra but was still visually alluring and provocative at times It has a lot to say about the ancient world and woman s place in it as expected I feel like Christa Wolf should be recognised for her work as it really is an interesting look at the classical world and its stories Maybe go for Cassandra over this one though There is a part of me which is Medea There is a part of me which is Kassandra Each of these parts hurts terribly They force me to walk towards the abyss step by step They force me to raise my voice when it would be best for me to stay ietOooh they are no. Medea is among the most notorious women in Greek tragedy a woman who sacrifices her. ,
Indset of the character as all authors rightfully should If you re threatened by this past fiction mirroring certain aspects of your modern day reality sucks for you For the first time I found solace in the fact that I don t have to live forever It s not as triumphant as that of course The point of tragedies isn t to solve them The only way that happens is when the tragedy no longer strikes a common chord and what with the word common becoming ever increasingly complicated by the fact that common once meant top dog tragedy is accordingly becoming increasingly complicated by a lack of both the refrigerators and the bodies of Others with which to fill them Medea has her share but in Wolf s take the boy may have been disemboweled in an incestuous way but not in the way you think you know The daughter may have disappeared but not for the power of any who end the narrative in exile The wife may have been driven to her doom but there is a vast different between accursed and escape The children are gone long live the children but there is than one species in the animal kingdom wherein the father eats their youngI didn t like this nearly as much as The We Love You, Charlie Freeman uest for Christa T but when one is comparing absolute favorites to mortal works one has to cut a bit of slack It was mainly due to the fact that when it comes to historical fictioning however mythological fellow favorite Memoirs of Hadrian is the yardstick Multiple points of view made for a multifarious trip but if a tragedy doesn t wrench the heart out of me it means that the delivery showed its narratological seams too often to make for a truly effective downfall The value of thisltimately lies in my observations of how others react to it for race as well as gender is a concern codified as they are now the traits of woolly hair and brown skin I am grateful for Wolf for making this so explicit that even translation cannot be hid behind as last resort for it will make dealing with the audience of a future miniseries adaptation that much easier No I say You are not being faithful to the author s intent by following the customary route of blonde blue and white white white You just hate Incidentally she then asked me I don t know why whether human sacrifice existed among The Messy Accident (An ABDL Story) us in the lands of the setting sun Of course not I said indignantly she tilted her head to one side and looked at me searchingly No she said Not even when the going is toughest I still answered no and she said thoughtfully Well Maybe that s really true At the end she said They ve made what they need out of each ofs Out of you the Hero and out of me the Wicked Witch They ve driven It Looks Like This us apart like that Medea to JasonBefore I had even read Euripides s retelling of Medea Medea had already been representative to me of a destructive force propelled by vengeful rage And what Christa Wolf does with this modern retelling of an ancient tale is present Medea in a different form compared to the versions given priorAfter helping Jason to retrieve the Golden Fleece and having fled her homeland Colchis the couple settle in Corinth where having left one power struggle Medea finds herself at the center of another This Medea is wiser sensible and less amorously passionate than her predecessors As an outsider she is able to observe the faults of the Corinthians she does not become subservient to the land she has been exiled to as custom demands of women and once she discovers the heinous secret that is the source of Corinth s prosperity and magnificence the powerful of Corinth plot and succeed in executing her fallIf I was to be improper and summarize this brilliant book I would say that it concerns the workings of power the abuses of power and the lengths people in power work to maintain their power Before she had fled Medea and the other Colchian women were working to restore tradition that would shift power from King Ae tes her father who is corrupt to her sister Chalciope but the king is resolute in maintaining and clinging to power In Corinth King Creon and his circle worked to ensure that he remains in power An already patriarchal society works to maintain its power while subjecting even force to its subjects andsing and nitpicking certain old traditions to reviveThe theme of the scapegoat is everywhere in the tale Primarily Kaffir Boy used by the ones in power to hold onto power longer as sacrificial offerings or as distractions and the objects of responsibility for disasters Medeaickly becomes a convenient scapegoat when tragedies occur and finally we see that those in power not only have the absolute say in present and future matters but in also how history is rememberedI ll finish this review that s become longer than I intended with the apt words Margaret Atwood gives in the introduction to this marvellous book Medea is no two dimensional allegory Like a tunnel full of mirrors it both reflects and echoes The estions it asks the reader through many voices and in many different ways is what would you be willing to believe to accept to conceal to do to save your own skin or simply to stay close to power Who would you be "willing to sacrifice 375I was looking forward to this reading about The One Who Had "to sacrifice 375I was looking Forward To This Reading to this reading The One Who Had who had for hair ntil I realised the mistake I d madeStill at least that eliminated any chance of me turning to stone and Wolf s story although not my first choice Greek mythology temptress was pretty goodI found this better than her other historical novel Cassandra and not knowing the story of Medea beforehand I really didn t made it appealing to me than say to those who know Greek mythology like the back of their hands Here Wolf reveals the sorceress and murderer of her children as a victim of male arrogance and sexual insecurity with her homeland a darker counterpart to the kingdom of Corinth a self aggrandizing state that brutally distorts truth to justify its imperialistic crimesThere is a chorus of voices here from the eponymous heroine and her weak willed adventurer husband Jason to the other important players in the Love Show unfolding drama of Corinth s power struggle As much as I did like this it s nothing compared to her masterpiece Patterns of Childhood Wolf s strengthndoubtedly lies with writing about her homeland during and after the war She was there she lived it I am Medea the sorceress if you all will have it so The wild woman the foreigner You shall not belittle me I ve always declared to the dismay of many that if I ever had a daughter I would name her Medea My fascination with this larger than life woman has been ndiminished ever since I started learning about the ancient endless eternal myths of my country from a relatively young age Call me weird but dark controversial figures have accompanied me for the most part of my reading life It also helped that my mother had the knowledge and the patience to explain to me how myths were made in a society of men by men and for men World Culture is loaded with mythical women who have been vilified as an excuse for the stupidity disloyalty and absolute lack of courage on men s part Eve Medea Helen of Troy Pandora Circe Phaedra JocastaThe list goes on and onA woman can either be a whore or a saint Too bad for the willing ones because the first team makes for the best of stories In this extraordinary moment in European Literature Christa Wolf reimagines Medea s story focusing on her last days in Corinth and culminating with the death of her sons The result is a haunting raw elegy of broken promises and thwarted dreams They ve made what they need out of each of s Out of you the Hero and out of me the Wicked Witch They ve driven s apart like that People create myths to explain passions hopes wishes and inclinations They need the heroes the ones who battle against gods and men as they need the scapegoats responsible when the hero goes astray What happens when the Hero succeeds only after the Scapegoat has provided the necessary help Well noone cares about this tiny detail all that matters is that the job is done However when everything crumbles because of disloyalty and ambition it s time for the Scapegoat to be driven out Medea is either a healer or a bringer of curse This is what the mob the ever changing witless crowd believes She is the Other the Foreigner the one who threatens the established order with her powers and invocations Jason is blaming his obsession and lust to Medea always nwilling to admit what a phony hero he is He doesn t care any the glory is his and it s time to find a younger docile wife who would worship him without Inside the Asylum uestions and thoughts of her own Is it a comfort to think that people everywhere fall short of the agreements they have made I feel that thisote expresses the essence of our times extremely accurately In the outstanding introduction Margaret Atwood refers to the political and social background and the status Plastic uo that shaped Wolf s work Coming from the troubled land of former East Germany it is clear that her political and social views influenced her writing How could it have been otherwise Medea was written in 1996 six years after the reunification of Germany and while reading one can feel a deep sense of bitterness and intense distrust towards the institution of the state and the authorities Knowing the political context Medea becomes much than a retelling of an ancient legend The writing and the characterization areniue The portrait of Medea is moving sad hauntingThere are Where Poppies Grow uite a few exceptional descriptions of the city of Corinth and the nightly scenes are eerie foreboding Don t expect any infanticides gore violence or sex and the end will surprise you I will not compare Wolf s work to Euripides or Seneca Each one is a different beast all masterpieces in their own right However I know which one I prefer Wolf s esoteric haunting solemn cry for the truth and for a world that turned outite different than promised For the innocent victims of the frustrations of the mighty the demonization of the weakest links Up there in the dark night blue sky like a slightly tilted silver of peel the crescent moon was still swimming though on the wane reminding me of my waning years my Colchian moon endowed with the power to pull the sun Raquel, the Jewess of Toledo up over the edge of the earth every morning My reviews can also be found N readers a portrayal of a fiercely independent woman ensnared in a political battle.