Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Fall of Icarus” as Want to Read:
The Fall of Icarus
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Fall of Icarus

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  687 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
‘Drawn on by his eagerness for the open sky, he left his guide and soared upwards . . .’

Enduring myths of vengeful gods and tragically flawed mortals from ancient Rome’s great poet. Ovid tells the tales of Theseus and the Minotaur, Daedalus and Icarus, the Calydonian Boar-Hunt, and many other famous myths.

(Taken from Books VIII and IX of Mary M. Innes’s translation of Met
Paperback, Little Black Classics, #73, 58 pages
Published February 26th 2015 by Penguin Classics (first published 8)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Fall of Icarus, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Fall of Icarus

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Bookdragon Sean
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
The fall of Icarus has long been an allegory for what happens if man overextends his reach; it has been a message that tells us that we all have our limits. It is a motif that resonates across the ages and has influenced other works of literature (Doctor Faustus) and even modern day television (Breaking Bad). The fall of Icarus is a message that everybody knows, and for good reason.

"The wax melted. Icarus moved his bare arms up and down, but without their feathers they had no purchase in the air
Jun 04, 2016 rated it liked it
This is an excerpt from Metamorphoses and ends up being a bit messy; just a lot of names floating around. But I do want to read the real thing so I guess it worked well as a literary appetizer.
Joey Woolfardis
Interesting myths of great Roman heroes and their Gods and Goddesses, but the layout was problematic in that the stories came one after another without any breaks, lending us to believe that the entire book is the tale of Icarus' fall, but it isn't. You need to pay attention, not only as your wade through the lists of names, and who is who's son, but also at who is speaking. Assuming this is how Ovid wanted it to be, it is something you need to get used to. I'd suggest other myths (Greek, perhap ...more
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
I just adore Ovid's writing and the way he so vividly describes all the myths. He is just very special to me and I can't wait to (re)read the Metamorphoses (I have read large parts in Latin already) after reading this lovely Little Black Classic. The only thing that bothered me a bit was the translation, which didn't feel very close to the original text to me.

"Fortune refuses her aid to those who merely pray, and take no action."

That is one motivating quote ladies and gentlemen. Remember this on
Kratko, jednostavno, razumljivo; ne znam da li mi je zasmetalo to što je ceo tekst kao jedna sekvenca ili je problem negde drugde, ali ovo je osnovno, površno pisanje koje ne spada sasvim u kategoriju enciklopedijskog stila, a ipak nije ni literarno delo. Za cilj ima da upozna čitaoca sa jednim događajem, fokusiranim na razmišljanja Dedala i Ikara (jedinih, ujedno i glavnih, likova), ali ne uspeva da verno dočara njihove postupke. Bez utiska sam.
May 05, 2018 rated it liked it
"He urged Icarus to follow close, and instructed him in the art that was to be his ruin"

'The fall of Icarus' was a short excerpt from Ovid's Metamorphoses, which gives us a taster of a few of the myths including Icarus and Daedalus (which I assume everyone would pick this up for) and also included content on Theseus and the Minotaur which was, along with Icarus, the part I enjoyed most. But there are a couple more myths to enjoy in here that I myself definitely was not familiar with. The way
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
klassikaline filoloog minus nq 😍😍😍
Jun 26, 2016 rated it liked it
I bought this hoping to learn more about the story behind Icarus- was curious since listening to the song of the same name by Bastille.

However! This book was barely even about Icarus! He was featured in about three of the 56 pages and the rest before and after seemed seldom connected to him? I really didn't find out more than I already knew.

Also, the pacing of the stories was weird. There were no chapters or paragraph breaks and about seven odd different stories, seemingly unconnected, featured
Natassa Karamouzis
3.5/5 stars that I'm narrowing down to 3, purely because after a while it became a bit too much with all the namedropping and countless of events happening all over the place. The title made you think it would be entirely about Icarus, when in fact we only got to read about three pages about him, and I reckon that put me off a bit as well.

All in all this was enjoyable, and I'm really looking forward to reading more by Ovid (even if he took my precious Greek myths and changed the names of the God
Mar 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
I feel like I’ve known the story of the fall of Icarus forever, but as far as I can remember I’ve never actually read it (how I’ve come across it then is beyond me), and so when I saw this going for a quid as part of the Penguin Little Black Classics range, I couldn’t resist.

What I got wasn’t exactly what I expected. Instead of telling the story of Daedalus and Icarus, this was a jumbled hotch-potch of a few different tales, including mentions of Daedalus building the labyrinth that imprisoned t
Nanditha Sankar
Dec 18, 2016 rated it liked it
The Fall of Icarus is an assortment of tales from Greek mythology. The eponymous story is the first of several tales that the book offers in an attempt to showcase the humanness of gods. That the gods themselves, blinded by rage, would wreck the lives of their subjects is a central theme. Similar to the Mahabharata which portrays its characters as fallible humans, this Greek ode sees the likes of the divine forget their divinity for it says, the gods feel anger too.

The reader is lost in the tro
Can't get past two stars on this for a couple of reasons...
The Fall of Icarus... honestly Daedalus (Icarus' father) first appears on page 11, Icarus on page 12, and he falls on page 14. He was a bit part at best, so very strange to name this book as it is.
Secondly, confusion. I know this is an excerpt from a much larger book, but for me those Penguin 80's and the 60s which are excerpts are at there best when they are well selected so that the excerpt makes sense in isolation - where there is a s
Bregje (B a Reader)
Eventhough this is really short I just could not finish it. It seems a rather random excerpt of Metamorphoses. Icarus and his father Deadalus appear on very few pages, instead we get many out of context events. I wouldn't really recommend picking this up, rather just read Metamorphoses itself.
Noelia Alonso
Of course Ovid can write but I found the structure a bit problematic. I mean, there are no breaks and it is as if it's just one story when trully there are quite a few myths here.
Drawn on by his own eagerness for the open sky, he left his guide and soared upwards.

'The Fall of Icarus' is a myth that has been persistently recycled in literature. I first heard about it in sixth form when I was studying Christopher Marlowe's wonderful play, Doctor Faustus (1592). I've also seen elements of the story incorporated into Shakespeare's plays, so I've been meaning to read the original text for the longest time. I was very relucant to go into it; it's the first ancient myth I've ev
Michelle Curie
The story of Icarus is one of my favorites in Greek mythology: Craftsman Daedalus builds two sets of wings trying to escape the island that he was imprisoned on with his son. When the latter becomes cocky, he flies too close to the sun, allowing his waxen wings to melt.

It is an allegory, a cautionary tale of how we should be careful of becoming too overbearing with our ambitions. Icarus' has received his father's warning, and yet he thought he knew better.

"Drawn on by his eagerness for the op
Leo H
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
(Yes I am reading really short books intentionally to reach my 2017 goal, I read War & Peace this year which only counted for one so I'm trying to even out the balance)

What is it with Greek/Roman epic poetry and people getting turned into things? In a 58 page book, five people are turned into birds, a load of people are turned into islands, and a river god turns into a snake and a bull. It's a good way to end a story though when you can't think of anything: "AND THEN EVERYONE WAS TURNED INTO
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was a bit disappointed with the fact that the myth of Icarus started on page 12 and was over by page 14. In reality it was a series of about 5 myths with a character which links one myth to the next, and then a different one which links the second myth to the third, etc.
Whilst it was enjoyable as I love myths, and plan to read the entirety of Ovid's Metamorphoses, I was disappointed that there was so little Icarus as I love he story.
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, classics
This delightful excerpt of Ovid's famed Metamorphoses give insight into the poet's incredible talent. Far from possessing the distinct and divided character of Greek myths at large, Ovid's work flows seamlessly from tale to tale, each morphing into the one following it, very much alike the tales' own characters, whose form never ceases to adapt, be it physically or psychologically.

The Fall of Icarus is taken from books VIII and IX of Ovid's complete work, and reads like a short glimpse into an
Jun 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
3 stars?
I liked the small stories in this book, (view spoiler).

I guess if I had read the whole book I might have understood who the characters were and why they were relevant to the story. But looking at the writer's writing style I am not so sure about that.
I did really like the mythology in this book though.
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I'm a big fan of Greek mythology and I've been interested in Metamorphoses and Icarus for a while now, so this was a great little book to get into that. I'm a bit sad only 3 pages were actually about Icarus and the entire book felt a bit jumpy, but this was great and I really want to read Ovid's full book soon!
Apr 06, 2015 rated it liked it
It brought back quite some memories from latin with the story of Icarus, Minos, Baucis and Philemon. It also made me discover a couple more.
It was quite easy to read, although I was always expecting to hear back from Daedalus and Minos, as it was written in a way I did not expect with one story after another.
Nerdish Mum
Jan 12, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm ever so slightly disappointed with this as the Icarus story covers only a few pages and the rest of the book is a collection of myths from the metamorphoses kind of mashed together. All perfectly enjoyable but not what I was expecting.
The actual falling of Icarus legit happens in the first 15 pages. The rest of the book is just other pieces of Roman mythology that somehow were connected to each other (but left me a little confused).
Apr 18, 2015 rated it liked it

The writing is absolutely beautiful.
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
A bit too repeated for me, sounds like the same thing on every page. Shame tho.
Megan (Magic & Musings)
Okay, I really need to read Metamorphoses now. This was absolutely amazing.
Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it
In quanto grande amante della mitologia, della cultura e delle storie del'antica Grecia, non potevo non prendere questo libricino per solo poco più di 1 euro.

In realtà l'ho acquistato mesi fa, ma studiando letteratura latina a scuola volevo tenermelo fino al momento in cui avessi studiato Ovidio. Quest'autore è stato l'ultimo di cui abbiamo parlato quest'anno e oggi sono stata felicissima di prenderlo in mano.
Il libro è molto breve, circa 55 pagine, che in realtà sono anche meno, perchè anche i
E.B. Kerouac
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
perceived that numerous things are happening within the image. The background is set with a shepherd tending his small herd, a plowman doing work on his field, a fisherman all set in the backdrop of a small bay that contains a few ships. Very discrete, there is an image of legs protruding from the water behind the large ship in the painting. These are purported to be the legs of Icarus, who drowned after he flew too close to the sun. As we know, Icarus had wings made of wax by his father, Daedal ...more
Kat Howard
Feb 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Knowing the story of Icarus, my paws and time couldn’t resist when I found this treasure among the Penguin Little Black Classics range. A book with few pages but profound and numerous tales of Interesting myths of great Roman heroes and their Gods and Goddesses.

However, my interest was on Icarus which it delivered only 3 pages the rest of the book felt like a disjointed myth buffet. The layout was fragmented and jarring like a dream with no connective tissue. The stories came one after another
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Circe and the Cyclops
  • Femme Fatale
  • The Eve of St. Agnes
  • Sindbad the Sailor
  • Alone on the Beach at Night
  • A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Trees
  • The Robber Bridegroom
  • The Dolphins, the Whales and the Gudgeon
  • The Reckoning
  • The Madness of Cambyses
  • The Beautifull Cassandra
  • Woman Much Missed
  • Kasyan from the Beautiful Lands
  • The Tinderbox
  • The Nightingales are Drunk
  • Traffic
  • Circles of Hell
  • The Great Fire of London
Publius Ovidius Naso (20 March 43 BCE – CE 17/18), known as Ovid (/ˈɒvɪd/) in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet best known for the Metamorphoses, a 15-book continuous mythological narrative written in the meter of epic, and for collections of love poetry in elegiac couplets, especially the Amores ("Love Affairs") and Ars Amatoria ("Art of Love"). His poetry was much imitated during Late ...more
More about Ovid