Nathaniel Hawthorne Portrait from 1871 book Great Fortunes, and How They Were Made, by James D. McCabe, Jr., Illustrated by G. F. and E. B. Bensell
Public Domain - Project Gutenberg
The Tanglewood Tales
are Nathaniel Hawthorne's re-tellings of the Greek myths. Surprisingly, Hawthorne took some persuading to write them. In the introduction to The Tanglewood Tales
-- called "The Wayside" -- Nathaniel Hawthorne comments on how hideous the Greek myths are:
"These old legends, so brimming over with everything that is most abhorrent to our Christianized moral sense some of them so hideous, others so melancholy and miserable, amid which the Greek tragedians sought their themes, and moulded them into the sternest forms of grief that ever the world saw; was such material the stuff that children's playthings should be made of!"
but then his editor convinces him that the objectionable content is really extraneous to the stories:
"The objectionable characteristics seem to be a parasitical growth, having no essential connection with the original fable. They fall away, and are thought of no more, the instant he puts his imagination in sympathy with the innocent little circle, whose wide-open eyes are fixed so eagerly upon him. Thus the stories (not by any strained effort of the narrator's, but in harmony with their inherent germ) transform themselves, and re-assume the shapes which they might be supposed to possess in the pure childhood of the world."
Contents of "The Tanglewood Tales"