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Giants: Imposing Figures in Literature

Giants: Imposing Figures in Literature

Giants Through History

Read, Watch, or Listen more about Giants

Link to the odyssey by homer in the catalog
link to Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman in the catalog
link to the norse myths by carolyne larrington in the catalog
link to david and goliath by malcolm Gladwell in the catalog
link to the buried giant by kazuo ishiguro in the catalog
link to february thaw by tanya huff in the catalog
Link to eaudiobook of Taming the Giant by Evangeline Anderson in Hoopla
Link to eaudiobook of  A Death in Kitchawank by T C Boyle in Hoopla
Link to Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift in the catalog
Link to the BFG by Roald Dahl in the catalog
Link to the Shrek film in the catalog
Link to Jack and the Giant Slayer film in the catalog

Giants in Literature


Giants loom large in world mythology, frequently representing the most ominous of foes. Their huge size immediately evokes ideas of superhuman strength and formidable abilities, and yet in many legends the giant is in fact a tragic character, often suffering an incongruous death. The giants below are a weird and wonderful sample from folklore around the world.

In Greek mythology, Atlas was one of the Titans who went to war against Zeus’s gods of Olympus. When the Titans lost, Zeus condemned Atlas to hold up the sky for all eternity. During the 12 labors of Heracles, one of his famous quests was to find the golden apples of Hesperides. Atlas offered to go and fetch the apples for Heracles if he would take his place holding up the sky. Atlas duly retrieved the apples and was about to take them to Eurystheus when Heracles asked if Atlas would mind just holding the sky again for a minute while he got comfortable. Of course, as soon as Atlas had re-shouldered his heavy burden, Heracles made off with the apples and continued with his tasks, leaving Atlas with his interminable duty.

Another legend involving Atlas featured the hero Perseus, who encountered Atlas in the northwest region of Africa. Atlas tried to scare Perseus away, and so Perseus took Medusa’s severed head from his bag. When Atlas saw the terrible Gorgon he turned to stone—becoming the Atlas mountain range. Continue reading from Mental Floss

Link to Monsters in Literature Resource Guide