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Publisher's Summary

The Greek myths are among the world's most important cultural building blocks, and they have been retold many times, but rarely do they focus on the remarkable women at the heart of these ancient stories.

Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, from the Trojan War to Jason and the Argonauts.  

And still, today, a wealth of novels, plays and films draw their inspiration from stories first told almost 3,000 years ago.  

But modern tellers of Greek myth have usually been men, and they have routinely shown little interest in telling women’s stories. And when they do, those women are often painted as monstrous, vengeful or just plain evil. But Pandora - the first woman, who according to legend unloosed chaos upon the world - was not a villain, and even Medea and Phaedra have more nuanced stories than generations of retellings might indicate.  

Now, in Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes - broadcaster, writer and passionate classicist - redresses this imbalance.  

Taking Pandora and her jar (the box came later) as the starting point, she puts the women of the Greek myths on equal footing with the menfolk. After millennia of stories telling of gods and men, be they Zeus or Agamemnon, Paris or Odysseus, Oedipus or Jason, the voices that sing in this audiobook are those of Hera, Athena and Artemis and of Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Eurydice and Penelope.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Natalie Haynes (P)2020 Macmillan Publishers International Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Funny, sharp explications of what these sometimes not-very-nice women were up to, and how they sometimes made idiots of...but read on!" (Margaret Atwood)

"Natalie Haynes is the nation's muse." (Adam Rutherford)

What listeners say about Pandora's Jar

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An amazing book

This is a beautifully written piece that perfectly challenges normal societal views regarding women in classics. Natale Haynes presents the women in ways, and with so much passion, that you will fall in love with them. The book includes many aspects to reflect upon and after finishing the book, I cannot wait to start it again.

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  • Paul
  • 21-10-2020

Superb

I adored this. As a fan of A Thousand Ships and Stands Up For the Classics this encapsulates what makes both of them great. Told with heart, Haynes’ passion and enthusiasm are tangible and its infectious. Heartbreaking at points and funny at others. Can’t stop recommending it to people.

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  • bookylady
  • 25-11-2020

Entertaining, educational, funny. A great listen.

Natalie Haynes really knows how to tell a story and how to find its unusual angles and humour . Told from a feminist viewpoint, Haynes tells the stories of various female characters in ancient Greek mythology/literature and explains how the familiar tales we know today are often inaccurate and unfair to the female protagonists. She also explores the lives of the authors of these tales and how their work was received by the audiences of their day. There is a wonderful mix of history, classicism, humour and academic knowledge all wrapped up in Haynes' wonderful verbal style. This is one of my favourite books of 2020.

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  • Miss G
  • 14-11-2020

This was fascinating from start to finish!

Excellent narration, thank you Natalie! Thoroughly enjoyed this as an audio book, and it revealed a a different aspect of each of the women featured!

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  • Illyrianth
  • 22-10-2020

Thoughtful, engaging, fascinating

This latest from Natalie Haynes is an absolute masterpiece. A considered, thoughtful study of the myths we think we know so well - but clearly do not. Bringing in elements that have been lost, or hidden in the more modern versions, we get to see much more of the characters as they were first imagined. As a result, we can engage with the women of these stories, who have been sidelined, losing their vibrancy down the centuries. Although Greece was undeniably a deeply patriarchal society, there can be no mistake that the women they wrote about were so much more than just bit players or fillers in their stories. The ludicrously brave and remorseful Penthesilea. The vengeful mother, Clytemnestra. Penelope at her loom day and night, weaving her deceit. Medusa, the victim of gods and "heroes" alike. A fantastic book made all the better by the author's reading of it.

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