And Now I Wish I Could Make This A Real Thing

So Rose Lerner recently noticed that Booklikes had substituted a scholarly book cover in place of the proper cover for Cecilia Grant's A Woman Entangled. But Rose is gifted with a sense of fun in addition to her keen observational eye, and she quickly had put together a series of faux-scholarly romance covers. They are delightful!

And now everyone's getting in on the game. Isobel Carr has a roundup post, but here is my own hasty contribution.

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Because what form would a Greek robot romance take, if not that of the marvelous Loeb Classical Library?

The Robot Girls of Ancient Greece

In Homer's Iliad, there appears the following passage. Translation by yours truly, because if you can't use your 7 years of ancient Greek for translating things like this, what can you use it for? ... And to their lord hastened Golden servants like living maidens. In them were minds and hearts, voice and strength, And they have learned skills from the deathless gods. They hurried around and about their master. (Iliad 18.417-421)

Why am I posting about ancient Greek lady-robots made of gold? It's a secret—for now. Feel free to let your imaginations go wild. (Lord knows I did!)


The Amazing Glass Sculptures of Lucio Bubacco

We here at Olivia Waite did not sleep particularly well last night. (Dear dream dictionary: what does it mean when you dream that the bottom of your foot is pink and black and flaky like a grilled salmon? We are totally stumped.) As a direct result, we are a little slow of brain this morning, so writing the incisive, thoughtful blog post we wanted to write seems a bit beyond our capabilities. The warm, sleeping puppy snoring in our lap is hardly helping matters.

So instead, here are some pretty pictures of the work of Lucio Bubacco, an Italian glass artist. I've never seen anything like them.

Cream glass winged figures with clear glass supports.

A goblet surrounded and supported by the figures of cream-glass angels and red-glass devils.

A white glass woman opens her legs for penetration by Zeus in the form of a white glass swan.

A dark purple glass woman with hand outstretched, and sinuous purple glass snakes for hair.

A black glass figure of a woman, Daphne, whose arms are becoming branches, hair leaves, and legs the roots of a tree. The black glass figure of Apollo attempts to embrace her as she transforms.

An Unlikely Story: Polyphemus and Galatea

You know Polyphemus mostly as the cyclops blinded by Odysseus. But did you know that in some variants of the myth he was also an anguished lover of the sea nymph Galatea? Well now you do. In Ovid's version, Galatea is in love with a young man named Acis, who is then killed by Polyphemus in a jealous rage. So Galatea turns Acis into a river -- because transforming your dead beloved into a river/tree/flower/rock is the mythological equivalent of the modern post-breakup pint of Haagen-Dazs. It's just the thing you do, and then you move on.

However, there is a frieze found in Pompeii that suggests Polyphemus was a more successful lover than Ovid allows him to be.

The back cover copy might read:

Cursed by mankind as a monster, one-eyed Polyphemus broods on the coastline and shuns society in favor of the solace of nature. His only companions are the animals he raises for wool and food -- until he meets Galatea.

The sea nymph's beauty and warmth awaken a powerful longing. But she only has eyes for the handsome and superficial Acis. Can the rugged cyclops shed his rough habits enough to charm his beloved?

An Unlikely Story: Ariadne and Bacchus

Here at Olivia Waite, we believe in happy endings. We also have a long-standing fascination with Greek and Roman mythology (and in the abuse of the royal we). These things do not often combine. The closest classical analogue to a happy ending, in one mythophile's humble opinion, is the story of Bacchus and Ariadne, which involves the god of wine and a lovelorn maiden whose first lover ditched her on an island. This is perhaps the worst one-night-stand in history. But in the end she gets to marry a god -- and one of the fun, young, handsome gods at that! -- and have her diadem set as a constellation into the sky for all eternity.

Living well is truly the best revenge.

If this story were turned into a romance novel, the cover text might go something like this:

Ariadne gave her heart and her half-brother's life to a handsome Athenian hero -- and how does he repay her? By leaving her to wake up alone on a rocky beach, while the jerk sails too far away to hear the curses she shouts after him.

Bacchus, god of wine and revelry, is no stranger to the sight of a beautiful woman losing control. (Mmm, those Maenads!) But this lonely Cretan princess sparks something deeper and more protective in his heart. Can he repair her broken trust in love? Or will memories of the past be too heavy even for a god to lift?