“I was not surprised by the portrait of myself,” she says. “The proud witch undone before the hero’s sword, kneeling and begging for mercy. Humbling women seems to be a chief pastime of poets. As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep.”
That wry observation isn’t part of Homer’s “Odyssey,” nor does it appear in other ancient poems where the sorceress—perhaps best known for turning unsuspecting sailors into swine—occasionally pops up. This Circe is for once the protagonist, in “Circe,” a novel by Madeline Miller slated for release this month.