The stories and plays of the ancients have long been an inspiration, a point de départ, for Western literature. Across the centuries, French authors use and reuse these myths, transforming them while giving them new life.
During the twelfth century, Benoit de Sainte Maure retold the Trojan War. Racine rewrote the fatal love triangle in Phèdre in the seventeenth century; Balzac recycled the King Midas myth in Eugénie Grandet two centuries later. This reappropriation of myth in literature was especially popular in the twentieth century, whether with Camus's Le mythe de Sisyphe, Anouilh's Antigone, or Cocteau's Orphée.