Helen: Myth, Legend and the Culture of Misogyny

Helen: Myth, Legend and the Culture of Misogyny

by Robert E. Meagher
     
 

Helen's face not only launched a thousand ships, it also launched countless books about Helen herself. These books have idealized, worshiped, slandered, celebrated, constructed, and deconstructed her. The present work draws on the most reliable of these books and offers a portrait of Helen as the archetypal woman of Western culture. This is the story of a consistent,…  See more details below

Overview

Helen's face not only launched a thousand ships, it also launched countless books about Helen herself. These books have idealized, worshiped, slandered, celebrated, constructed, and deconstructed her. The present work draws on the most reliable of these books and offers a portrait of Helen as the archetypal woman of Western culture. This is the story of a consistent, however dissembling, hatred for women. It is not only the story of the hatred of men for women, but also the story of the self-hatred of women instilled by the culture of misogyny. Based on the best scholarship, this is also a psychological analysis of why a species so prone to loneliness and self-doubt would sever itself in two, deny itself the intimacy, recognition, and comfort of equals, and make the embodiment of beauty and life into an icon of shame. This is a book that will fascinate all feminists and infuriate some men.

Editorial Reviews

Patricia Monaghan
"The face that launched a thousand ships" --why is it so difficult to detect the logical fallacy in that phrase? For Helen never launched a single ship, any more than she was a woman "of Troy," despite her common appellation. Menelaus and his brother Agamemnon really launched those ships, yet, unlike Helen, they have been neither reviled in epic and lyric for three millennia nor held up as cautionary examples to others of their sex. Meagher, an eminent classical scholar, seeks first to ascertain the original Helen, whom he finds to have been a supreme goddess of life and death. He then explores the way that an emerging ideology of dualism and hierarchy transformed Helen from a positive image of women's power into a negative one. Magnificently researched and compellingly written, this is an exemplary work of scholarship and humanism.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826408501
Publisher:
Continuum International Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/01/1995
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.87(d)

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