Sisyphus in the Modern World
and on the Web

General Overview / Art / Literature / Teaching / Comparative Mythology / Athletic Training / Politics / Music / Science / Computers and Gaming / Cartoons / Commerce

A General Overview of the Myth
on the Sisyphus myth

Sisyphus in Art

Achelous Painter, late 6th century BC

Name vase of the Underworld Painter (Munich)

Titian."Sisyphus." 1549. Painting,.

Franz von Stuck (1863-1928) "Sisyphus." 1920. Painting.

Ilene Winn-Lederer. "The Redemption of Sisyphus." 1999. ” Watercolor Drawing.


Sisyphus and Literature

Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. Justin O'Brien (Translator). Knopf, 1991.

An excerpt from Albert Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus. Sisyphus as the absurd hero. Sisyphus Island. Part of a literary-philosophical journey

Cullen, Countee. "Yet Do I Marvel." A sonnet by a Harlem Renaissance poet.

Whitehead, Gary J. "Sisyphus." A poem published in the Beloit Literary Journal

Bar Association American (Editor). Unfinished Business: Overcoming the Sisyphus Factor. American Bar Association, 1995

Beres, Louis Renâe. Mimicking Sisyphus: America's Countervailing Nuclear Strategy. Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group, 1982.

Bernfeld, Siegfried.  Sisyphus: Or the Limits of Education. Translated by Frederic Lilge. University of California Press, 1973

Chang, Maria H. Hsia Labors of Sisyphus: The Economic Development of Communist China. Transaction Publishers, 1999. An assessment of the meaning and purpose of the Chinese communist revolution in the context of the modern challenges of that movement in modern China.

Daly, T. P. Sisyphus and Sycamore and Other Songs of Survival and Endurance. New York Society for General Semantics, 1988.

Fanning, Nathaniel. Never Mind Sisyphus. Bookmasters, Inc., 2003.

Hoffmann, Stanley. European Sisyphus. Westview Press, 1995. A collection of essays dealing with the challenges of European development and European integration in the late 20th century.

Howard, Walter. Sisyphus in the Hayfield: Views of a Berkshire Farmer. Cobble Press, 1988. Essays by a Massachusetts newspaper editor and dairy farmer dealing with his farming challenges and travels.

Kast, Verena. Sisyphus: The Old Stone - A New Way: A Jungian Approach to Midlife Crisis. Daimon Verlag, 1991. A Jungian psychologist refers to Sisyphus as the "myth of the forty-year-olds," who often view the challenges in life as Sisyphus tasks.

Meeker, Eric Michael M.  Playground of Sisyphus: Letters from the Edge of Oblivion. Writers Club Press, 2002

Moore, Billy A. Sisyphus and the Struggle Within. Publish America, 2000. An autobiographical journey about the struggles involved in moving from childhood to adulthood.

Patterson, Orlando. Children of Sisyphus. Kaplan Publishing, 1982. A novel about the struggles of the poor in the Caribbean.

Reiss, Timothy J.  (Editor)Sisyphus and Eldorado: Magical and Other Realisms in Caribbean Literature. Africa World Press, 2004. A scholarly collection of essays about Caribbean writers which begins with a contrast between an anglophone "Sisyphus" representing the frustrating efforts of cultural liberation and a francophone and hispanophone "Eldorado" emphasizing magical realism.

Sagasti, Francisco R.  Knowledge and Innovation for Development: The Sisyphus Challenge of the 21st Century. Edward Elgar Publishing, Incorporated, 2005.

Sagasti, Francisco. Knowledge and Innovation for Development: The Sisyphus Challenge of the 21st Century. Edward Elgar Publishing, Incorporated, 2004. The futility of Sisyphus’ task becomes a metaphor for modern efforts to develop science and technology capabilities in unindustrialized countries.

Schwaner, Jeff. Sisyphus at the Playground. BookSurge, LLC, 2003.

Simon, Elliott M. Myth of Sisyphus: Renaissance Theories of Human Perfectibility. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2007

Sinclair, Michael. Sisyphus Rocks. Publish America, 2002. Sisyphus’ rock becomes the basis for a Rock'N'Roll murder mystery set in Hollywood during the late '70's.

Sowton, Ian. Imagining Sisyphus Happy. Trafford Publishing, 2006. A collection of poems

Thompson, William N., and Bradley L. Kenny Over the Top: Solutions to the Sisyphus Dilemmas of Life. AuthorHouse, 2003. A motivational book based upon the metaphor of a Sisyphean task.

Westburg, John Edward and Mildred Westaway Westburg Stone of Sisyphus: Critical DisCourses on American Education Practices, 1947-1988. Westburg Associates, Publishers, 1989

Sisyphus and Teaching

Sass, Edmund. "The Sisyphus and Teaching Page".

Sass, Edmund..“On Sisyphus and Teaching.”

Burke, Jim.“Teaching Sisyphus to Juggle”  Educational Leadership Volume 57 Number 8 May 2000.

Project Sisyphus (designed to facilitate sharing ideas and experiences among faculty teaching introductory geoscience courses)

Sisyphus Projects. Knowledge Acquisition, Modeling and Management.


Comparative Mythology and Reinterpretation

Bodhesako, Sámanera. "The Myth of Sisyphus: A Cycle." Note the Hindu comparison.

Sienkewicz, Thomas J. "On Sisyphus and Sisyphean Tasks"


Sisyphus and Athletic Training
“The Myth of the Sisyphus Revisited” By Richard Winett, Ph.D. on Sisyphus and athletic training.


Sisyphus and Politics

Hoagland, Jim. “Remember the Myth of Sisyphus”   December 11, 2001 in Also appeared as “Playing Sisyphus”. Washington Post  December 9,2001.

Michnik. Adam "The Sisyphus of Democracy."

Gaudreault-DesBiens, Jean-François.  “From Sisyphus’s Dilemma to Sisyphus’s Duty? A Meditation on the Regulation of Hate Propaganda in Relation to Hate Crimes and Genocide.” McGill Law Journal 46 (2001): 1117-1137.Abstract:


Sisyphus and Music

“Sisyphus Tracks.”  An internet alternative to great roots music (suspended Feb. 3, 2007)

Chicago. "Stone of Sisyphus." c.1991. Never released. Selections available in Chicago: The Box (Release Date: 07/22/2003;  Label: RHINO / WEA; UPC: 081227387129. Rock.

Cold Blood. "Sisyphus." (1971). Some selections available on Cold Blood/Sisyphus (07/31/2001; Label: COLLECTABLES; UPC: 090431681329). Rock.

Phil Woods Quintet. "Song for Sisyphus."  (Release Date: 09/19/2006; Original Release: 1977; Label: PASSPORT; UPC: 801050108025). Classical Instrumental.

Crack: W.A.R. "Our Friend Sisyphus." in Cosmic Mind Flight (Release Date: 11/18/2003; Label: TIGERBEAT6; UPC: 751937508526). Rock Band. Instrumental and Vocal.

Sandke, Randy. "Sisyphus Effect." In Inside Out (Release Date: 07/16/2002; Label: NAGEL-HEYER GERMANY;
UPC: 675754617325). Classical Jazz Instrumental.

Sills, Stephen. "Myth of Sisyphus." In  Stills (Release Date: 01/26/1993; Original Release: 1975; Label: SONY; UPC: 074643357524). Rock Vocal.

Logan, Jack and Bob Kimball. "Here Comes Sisyphus" in Woodshedding (Release Date: 06/04/2002; Label: PARASOL RECORDS; UPC: 795306106128).. Rock Vocal.

Guettel. "Sisyphus" in Myths and Hymns (Release Date: 03/30/1999; Label: NONESUCH; UPC: 075597953022).

Cloudland Canyon. "Silver Tongued Sisyphus" on Silver Tongued Sisyphus (UPC: 796441811120; Original Release Date: 2007; Catalog No.: 111; Label: KRANKY). New Age Instrumental.

City. "Sisyphus" in Unter Der Haut (UPC: 743214594629; Original Release Date: 1997; Catalog No.: 145946; Label: AMIGA / SBME IMPORT). Keyboard.

Jeremy Pelt. "Sisyphus" in Insight (UPC: 8712474122820; Original Release Date: 2003; Catalog No.: 1228; Label: CRISS CROSS). Jazz Instrumental.

Jamie Green. "Sisyphus" in My Crime (Release Date: 03/11/2000; Label: THE ORCHARD; UPC: 669910272121). Vocal Rock.

Dave Atherton. "Sisphyus"" in Purist (UPC: 6699107089; Original Release Date: 2000; Catalog No.: 7089; Label: THE ORCHARD). Instrumental Rock.

Ailes, Mike. "Sisyphus Quits" in Sisyphyus Quits. (UPC: 714288025425; Original Release Date: 1999; Catalog No.: 998; Label: BAD MAN RECORDS). Rock Vocal.

Mike Edwards. "Sisyphus" in The Soul of the Didgeridoo (UPC: 743037201629; Original Release Date: 2006; Catalog No.: 2016; Label: ARC MUSIC). Contemporary Didgeridoo Music (Instrumental)

Richard Wright.. "Sysyphus." An avant-garde, instrumental four part suite written by progressive rock band Pink Floyd's keyboardist Richard Wright. Part of studio version of Ummagumma album.

Sass, Edmund. "Sisyphus the Rap Version." A modern rap about Sisyphus. (Text only.)


Sisyphus, Computers and Gaming

Sisyphus software. http://www.

Planet Sisyphus.  An internet game in javascript.

Hiroyuki Imabayashi's Sisyphus by Fergus Duniho. Sisyphus is a Sokoban clone. The object is to move stones around a maze until they are all where they should be.

Alt Linux Sisyphus. repository of software packages which are updated and revised daily

Abramovitch, Simon “Sisyphus Gaming” in Escapist Magazine. 13 Dec 2005.


Sisyphus and Science

Rost, Burkhard and Sean O'Donoghue. "Sisyphyus and Protein Structure Prediction." BioInformatics  13 (1997): 345-356. The problem of predicting protein structure from sequence seems like a Sisyphean Task because it remains fundamentally unsolved despite more than three decades of intensive research effort.

Sisyphus spinipes, a dung beetle named after the Greek sinner because it lays an egg in the ball and leaves it propped up in a tussock of grass or other vegetation.

1866 Sisyphus Asteroid.


Sisyphus in Cartoons

Dolve, Richard. "The Modern Sisyphus." political cartoon about the Ireland problem. March 16, 1844.

“A New Sisyphus.” Artist Unknown. 1903.  depicts Bolshevist Plekhanov

“Question Mark.” Saul Steinberg. New Yorker. March 19, 1966

“Bowling.” Amie Levine. New Yorker. 1974

“Bulldozer.” Nurit Karlin. New Yorker 1978

“Snowman.” Mort Gergerb New Yorker 1980

“Be My Valentine.” Warren Miller New Yorker 1987

“Treadmill.” Mort Gerbgerg. New Yorker. 1988

“Beachball.” Christopher Wyatt  New Yorker 2002

“I’ll Quit When It Stops Being Fun.”

“Jimmy Carter.” Doug Sneyd. “Scoops”

“Arafat and Hussein.” Morin.

“Deng Xiaoping as Sisyphus” Kal

“Kofi Annan as Sisyphus.” Ariail . March 2, 2003

“Going Down.” Jim Berry. 1990.

“Panty Waist.” Jeff Mallett. Frazz Cartoon. Dec. 16, 2003.

“Sissy Fuss.” Jeff Mallett. Frazz Cartoon. Dec. 17, 2003.

“Dr. Seuss Version.” Jeff Mallett. Frazz Cartoon. Dec. 18, 2003.

“Athenian Psychiatry Center.” Frank and Earnest. Nov. 18, 2007.

“Doing Laundry.” Steve Breen. Grand Avenue. 04-02-03

Zochowski, Marek   "Excuse me Sisyphus, you wouldn't happen to have a smaller ball, would you?" From Nov/Dec 2006 USATT Magazine

Sisyphus Comix in Harvard Lampoon. 2008.


Sisyphus in Commerce

Sisyphus Ale.

Sisyphus Productions.


This material has been published on the web by Prof. Tom Sienkewicz for his students at Monmouth College. If you have any questions, you can contact him at

Return to Monmouth College Department of Classics Homepage