I must confess the moment I picked up David Grossman's book Lion's honey, the myth of Samson I wasn't expecting it to bring me so much information on the myth in terms of its various analysis and a myriad of interpretation perspectives.
It reminded me of the thorough analysis we sometimes had to carry out whilst at University whenever we had to scalp down any given poem, though I am in no way comparing what we used to do with the mastery of David Grossman's.
Ironically as I was watching the National Gallery's documentary film last week one of the paintings being explained to the public was Samson and Delilah by Peter Paul Rubens and as he is seen fallen asleep on her lap the intensity of what is to follow is almost inevitably brewing up in one's mind but more so after having read Grossman's psychological interpretation behind the act of trusting the woman he is said to have fallen in love with, who would ultimately lead to his loss of power.
The numerous visual interpretations of parts of the myth, such as his fight with the lion by Lucas Cranach, the elder or his pulling of the pillars of the temple of Dagon together have gained a much stronger insight as a result of my reading of Grossman's book, the same being true in regards to the actual representations of the act of having his hair cut anf thus his loss of strength.
"(...) what he has discovered about himself , while battling the lion has frightened him: the hidden superhuman power that has burst out and revealed itself to him for the first time has, perhaps also shocked him and created a partition between Samson and his new larger-than-life self that does not fully belong to the human race."
"(...) the bond with Delilah did arouse in Samson something totally new, and was not designed merely to satisfy his compulsive need to be betrayed, to experience intimacy that is violated by strangers (...) for the first time in his life, Samson fulfills his independent will by exercising his highest freedom available to him as human being - (...) namely, emotional freedom, the freedom to love. And if, on this part, this was true love, it may be surmised (perhaps only wishfully) that Samson allows Delilah to deceive him again and again because he is hoping against hope that he is mistaken."
"He, who from birth , indeed from the womb, was exiled in effect from any kind of home ... (... ) who never really belonged either to his own people or to the people into his midst his urges had propelled him. He, who slept with many women but had no child of his own; he, whose umbelical cord had been severed, as it were at both ends that "rests upon" - nachon in Hebrew - two pillars. But nachon also means "proper": at last - how ironic - bayit nachon, a proper home."
This book is very interesting and really worth reading not only by readers who are into myths but also by those merely curious as to what they are and the implications therewith associated. David Grossman is a great writer who takes us "enthusiastically" along his incredible trip into the Classics.
"In Lion's Honey, David Grossman reaches beyond the calamitous events to conduct a sensitive examination of human motivation ... (...) and the author does it in a most elegant style." - The Times Literary Supplement.
" A feat even the Gods would marvel at ... a glittering pantheon of the most esteemed contemporary writers breathes bright golden light into the world's classic tales" - Vanity Fair
"Original and very clever." - The Times