The First Love Stories: From Isis and Osiris to Tristan and Iseult

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9780060162207: The First Love Stories: From Isis and Osiris to Tristan and Iseult

It is love that the human soul and spirit have searched for throughout the ages. What did people feel and sing and express about love four thousand years ago? Did they know more than we do? What are love’s secrets and mysteries?
The great love stories of the ancient and medieval world have been gathered together in one collection for the first time in The First Love Stories. Author, folklorist, and storyteller Diane Wolkstein has worked for fourteen years preparing these myths for publication. Some have never before appeared in complete form; others have been newly translated from primary sources. Through the alchemy of the storyteller’s art, Wolkstein has rendered these myths accessible and compelling for us today.
The earliest stories in The First Love Stories go back to 2500 B.C. They are joyous, shocking, ribald, humorous, and mysterious testaments to both the passion and the compassion in the human spirit. Each story expresses a different aspect of love: “Isis and Osiris” (Egyptian) embodies love that is stronger than the forces of nature; “Inanna and Dumuzi” (Sumerian) explores the cyclical qualities of love; “Shiva and Sati” (Hindu) portrays the explosion of passion and the taming of the mind; “The Song of Songs” (Hebrew) suggests the sensuous, celebratory, yearning quality of love; “Psyche and Eros” (Greco-Roman) presents the forging of the psyche; “Layla and Majnun” (Arabic-Persian) reveals the path of the soul; and “Tristan and Iseult” (Celtic) expresses the struggle of inner and outer loyalty.

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About the Author:

Diane Wolkstein is the author of over thirteen award-winning books of folklore for adults and children, including Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth (with Samuel Noah Kramer) and The Magic Orange Tree and Other Haitian Folktales. She also lectures and performs widely. She lives in New York City.

Review:

Diane Wolkstein is surely one of the great storytellers of the twentieth century --Jean Huston, Ph.D. Author of The Search for the Beloved

"A splendid collection of indispensable tales of love, handsomely retold…” --Barry Ulanov, Professor Emeritus of Literature, Barnard College

"It is creation itself we experience as we read her book..." --Olivier Bernier, Lecturer, Metropolitan Museum of Art

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