Weight: Book summary and reviews of Weight by Jeanette Winterson

Weight

The Myth of Atlas and Heracles

by Jeanette Winterson

Weight by Jeanette Winterson

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Book Summary

"When I was asked to choose a myth to write about, I realized I had chosen already. The story of Atlas holding up the world was in my mind before the telephone call had ended. If the call had not come, perhaps I would never have written the story, but when the call did come, that story was waiting to be written. Rewritten. The recurring language motif of Weight is 'I want to tell the story again.' My work is full of cover versions. I like to take stories we think we know and record them differently. In the retelling comes a new emphasis or bias, and the new arrangement of the key elements demands that fresh material be injected into the existing text. Weight moves far away from the simple story of Atlas's punishment and his temporary relief when Heracles takes the world off his shoulders. I wanted to explore loneliness, isolation, responsibility, burden, and freedom, too, because my version has a very particular end not found elsewhere." -- from Jeanette Winterson's Foreword to Weight.

Comment: The second in eries, see 'A Short History of Myth' (in this issue) for more information.

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Author Information

Jeanette Winterson Author Biography

Born in Manchester, UK in 1959 and adopted into a firmly religious family, Jeanette Winterson studied at Oxford University. Her first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, was published in 1985 to tremendous acclaim, and she later adapted it for television. Since then she has written numerous novels, including Sexing the Cherry, The Passion, and Written on the Body. She has won several prizes including the Whitbread Prize, and the Prix d'argent at the Cannes Film Festival.

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