Overview

The story of Oedipus, the most meaning-laden of myths, has traveled down through history in many guises and forms. Can any one version claim to be definitive? Lowell Edmunds' authoritative survey takes variation as the force driving the myth's longevity and popularity. Refraining from seeking for an original form, Edmunds relates the changes in content to changes in meaning, eschewing the notion that one particular version of the myth can be set as standard.

Oedipus traverses ...

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Oedipus

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Overview

The story of Oedipus, the most meaning-laden of myths, has traveled down through history in many guises and forms. Can any one version claim to be definitive? Lowell Edmunds' authoritative survey takes variation as the force driving the myth's longevity and popularity. Refraining from seeking for an original form, Edmunds relates the changes in content to changes in meaning, eschewing the notion that one particular version of the myth can be set as standard.

Oedipus traverses the long history of the myth, from the earliest pre-tragic Oedipus through fifth-century tragedy, Rome and the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, to Oedipus in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In illustrating this long history the book shows a certain continuity but also a discontinuity followed by a recovery. The agent of continuity is the Roman Seneca, whose Oedipus looked back to Greek models, had some currency in the Middle Ages, found many Renaissance imitators, and still sometimes reappears, as in Ted Hughes' adaptation (1969). But the European Middle Ages, Edmunds shows, mark a striking discontinuity in the tradition: for about a millennium, the Oedipus of Greek tragedy is practically forgotten, not to be rediscovered until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Sophocles' Oedipus the King is thereafter destined to become the common text of the Oedipus myth. Oedipus does what no other volume has done before. It analyzes the long and varied history of the myth from ancient times to the modern day and the broad sweep media in which it has been represented. Lowell Edmunds' Oedipus is truly an indispensable guide to the myth of Oedipus.

About the Author:
LowellEdmunds is Professor of Classics at Rutgers University and an eminent author and researcher

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'a good contribution to the series... presented very attractively' - The Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"Well-presented overview of this intriguing figure, whose popularity in the ancient world in both myth and cult is matched by his enduring afterlife in later literature and art. Edmunds’s clear style makes this book a good read for wider audiences, while it will also hold specialists’ interest." -Oxford Bibliographies Online

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781134331277
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/22/2006
  • Series: Gods and Heroes of the Ancient World
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 200
  • File size: 2 MB

Table of Contents


Series foreword     ix
List of maps     xiii
List of illustrations     xv
Why Oedipus?     1
Introducing Oedipus     3
The question of an authentic version     3
Segmenting the narrative into motifs     5
Freud and Sophocles     7
Scope of this book     9
Key Themes     11
Oedipus Before Tragedy     13
Laius     16
Reconstructing the story     16
The Sphinx     17
The riddle of the riddle     18
"Straightway the gods made it known"     20
The curse of Oedipus on his sons     22
"Through the destructive counsels of the gods"     23
The sons of the Seven; Teiresias     25
Enter Apollo     25
The cults of Oedipus and of Oedipus and Laius     26
Overview     31
Oedipus On Stage: Fifth-Century Tragedy     32
Aeschylus' Theban trilogy     34
Euripides     37
Sophocles and the Oedipus myth     43
Oedipus in the fourth century and after     55
Overview     55
Latin Oedipus: Rome and the Middle Ages     57
Seneca's Theban tragedies     60
Statius' Thebaid     62
Oedipus in the Middle Ages     64
Future of the medieval Oedipus     78
Overview     79
Oedipus Afterwards     81
Rediscovery of Sophocles: From the Renaissance to the Eighteenth Century     83
Oedipus in Italy     84
Oedipus in Germany     87
The seventeenth century: Oedipus in France     89
Decline of the Poetics     99
Overview     99
The Inward Turn: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries     100
Holderlin and Hegel     100
Wagner's Oedipus     105
The Sphinx in art     106
Josephin Peladan and Hugo von Hofmannsthal     111
Sigmund Freud     113
"An Oedipemic has broken out"     116
Vladimir Propp and Claude Levi-Strauss     121
The challenge of the Sphinx     124
Overview     128
Conclusions and Continuations     129
Character of Oedipus     130
Virtual spaces     132
Reduction and amplification     134
Conceptual work on the Oedipus myth     137
Incoherence      139
Individual perspectives on the tradition     140
Notes     142
Further reading     152
Works cited     157
Abbreviations     169
Index     171
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