The Long Journey Home: Revisioning the Myth of Demeter and Persephone for Our Time

The Long Journey Home: Revisioning the Myth of Demeter and Persephone for Our Time

by Christine Downing
     
 

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The story of the mother-and-daughter goddesses Demeter and Persephone has seized the imagination of people in every age, from ancient times to the present. Considered today by many to be the archetypal myth for women, it touches on timeless themes in every life, such as the male-female relationship, love between women, initiations into puberty and old age, the

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Overview

The story of the mother-and-daughter goddesses Demeter and Persephone has seized the imagination of people in every age, from ancient times to the present. Considered today by many to be the archetypal myth for women, it touches on timeless themes in every life, such as the male-female relationship, love between women, initiations into puberty and old age, the mother-daughter bond, death, and ecological renewal. Christine Downing has combined essays, prose, poetry, and even performance art with her own insightful commentary to shed new light on the myth's ancient meanings and to offer new insights in its implications for contemporary men and women.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Heavily footnoted and broad in scope, this collection begins by examining the inconsistencies of the earliest versions of the Demeter and Persephone myth by Homer and Ovid. By cross-referencing classic and modern thought with literary, cultic and agrarian views, Downing ( The Goddess ) allows the ``various interpretations to contradict, complement, complicate, and ultimately enrich one another.'' Among the issues debated are Demeter's true character and motivations (nurturing, selfless mother vs. obsessed neurotic); the ``necessity'' of Persephone's rape (a commonplace cruelty vs. her own desires of womanhood); maidenhood vs. menopause; homosexual vs. heterosexual love; the secrets of the Eleusinian mysteries and the Thesmophoria; and life vs. death/renewal. Despite centuries of gender bias in the myth's retelling and translations, Downing and her contributors reclaim the myth as their own: ``We hoped that the discovery of a prepatriarchal world,'' the editor posits, ``might help us imagine forward to a postpatriarchal one.'' Standout contributions include ``Learning From My Mother Dying'' by Carol P. Christ, poetry by Alma Luz Villanueva and Herta Rosenblatt and John Daughters's wickedly funny ``Hades Speaks.'' (July)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570626852
Publisher:
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
05/28/2001
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
1,436,768
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

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