“When I was asked to choose a myth to write about, I realized I had chosen already. The story of Atlas holding up the world was in my mind before the telephone call had ended. If the call had not come, perhaps I would never have written the story, but when the call did come, that story was waiting to be written. Rewritten. The recurring language motif of Weight is ‘I want to tell the story again.’ My work is full of cover versions. I like to take stories we think we know and record them differently. In the retelling comes a new emphasis or bias, and the new arrangement of the key elements demands that fresh material be injected into the existing text. Weight moves far away from the simple story of Atlas’s punishment and his temporary relief when Heracles takes the world off his shoulders. I wanted to explore loneliness, isolation, responsibility, burden, and freedom, too, because my version has a very particular end not found elsewhere.”
- from Jeanette Winterson’s Foreword to Weight
Jeanette Winterson (born 1959) is a British novelist. She was made an officer of Order of the British Empire (OBE) at the 2006 New Year Honours.
Photo: Jeanette Winterson, Warsaw, Poland, 16 February 2005. Photo author: Mariusz Kubik. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.