Open Library logo
New Feature: You can now embed Open Library books on your website!   Learn More
Last edited anonymously
September 29, 2010 | History

The Woman Who Loved an Octopus 1 editions

Cover of: The Woman Who Loved an Octopus | Imogen Herrad
About the Book

The "The Woman Who Loved an Octopus" is an inspired collection of stories, based on the lives and legends of thirteen Celtic women saints from the first millennium. The legends, some well-known, others almost forgotten, are told in a clear, assertive and memorable way. These stories are not historical tracts or faithful retellings: often Herrad selects elements of a myth as the framework within which to construct a new story, flooding the old with a fresh or rediscovered meaning. Roughly half are set in the present, the rest in the saint's time, a mix that frees the narratives from anachronism by faithfulness to the spirit of the original. They revive an early world of saints often far from 'saintly' by current definitions. Nor are they archetypal, ranging from a 'God's strongest woman' circus act to a Marian evangelist, teenagers leaving home, or girls escaping marriage, rape, death, self-harm, or the life of a nun. Herrad intently and imaginatively explores the interface between the physical, sexual, spiritual and mystical, in ancient and modern worlds. Her saints, often in flight from persecution, closely inhabit the world of nature. And her retellings often reclaim women seen as victims and martyrs, as strong survivors - as indicated by their status as saints. Her contemporary interpretations are hugely inventive. Some follow the original legends, as with Madrun, the daughter of King Gwyrtheryn, who apparently invited the Saxons into Britain to the Picts. This transmutes into a story of escape from an eastern European war zone. Others stories are more free: St Non was raped in legend and expelled form her convent for 'sexual incontinence'. She later founded convents, but in Herrad's version the 'victim' extracts a physical rather than spiritual revenge.

1 edition First published in 2007

Edition Read Locate Buy
Cover of: The Woman Who Loved an Octopus
October 1, 2007, Seren
The Woman Who Loved an Octopus
Paperback in English


Download catalog record: RDF / JSON
September 29, 2010 Edited by Added description, tags and blurb.
April 28, 2010 Edited by Open Library Bot Linked existing covers to the work.
December 11, 2009 Created by WorkBot add works page