mythsI’m not one for collecting rare books or  first editions but one book I prize is a secondhand edition of ‘A Book Of Myths’ by Jean lang (Mrs John Lang) published in 1915 which I bought many years ago from a small bookshop near Kew Gardens in London.

The retellings of  stories including  Pygmalion, Orpheus and King Midas were selected to bring these old tales alive for a new generation of readers.

Project Gutenberg recently  made this freely accessible to all by posting this as an ebook. This is no substitute for the hard copy of course but it does mean that more readers will be able to savour Mrs Lang’s beautiful prose and, although written in elaborate language, the sentiments she expressed still ring true in our modern age.

Take for example, this extract from the end of the preface:
“The writer will feel that her object has been gained should any readers of these stories feel that for a little while they have left the toilful utilitarianism of the present day behind them, and, with it, its hampering restrictions of sordid actualities that are so murderous to imagination and to all romance”.

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