The Medusa Reader


Ranging from classical times to pop culture, this collection will appeal to art historians, feminists, classicists, cultural critics, and anyone interested in mythology.

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Ranging from classical times to pop culture, this collection will appeal to art historians, feminists, classicists, cultural critics, and anyone interested in mythology.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The mythological figure of Medusa, the Gorgon with writhing snakes for hair whose very sight turned the unwary to stone, has been used in everything from poetry to sculpture and painting, from Star Trek episodes and designations for psychoanalytical syndromes to the logo of a modern fashion designer. In their introduction, editors Garber (English, Harvard) and Vickers (president of Bryn Mawr) touch on the parallel strands of the Medusa legend: beauty and ugliness, feminism and misogyny, and fascination and terror. Because all of the elements of these paradoxes are present in any use of the story, this reader is organized chronologically rather than thematically, though the bibliography is divided to provide for such searching and the index is cross-referenced as well. A valuable addition to all mythology and folklore collections and even art collections, this is recommended for public and academic libraries as well as secondary-level school libraries. Katherine K. Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415900980
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 2/7/2003
  • Series: Culture Work Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 346
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Marjorie Garber is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English at Harvard, where she is also Chair of the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, Director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, and Director of the Humanities Center. Her ninth and most recent book is Quotation Marks, also published by Routledge.
Nancy Vickers is President of Bryn Mawr College, where she is also Professor of Italian, French, and Comparative Literature. She has published widely in the fields of literary and cultural studies, with particular interests in Dante, Renaissance poetry, and the technologies of lyric production.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xv
Acknowledgments xvii
Introduction 1
1 from The Hiad (c. 750-725 B.C.E.) translated by Richmond Lattimore Medusa as Shield and Sign 9
2 from The Shield of Herakles and Theogony (c. 700 B.C.E.) translated by Richmond Lattimore Medusa and Perseus 11
3 "Pythian 12" (c. 490 B.C.E.) translated by Geoffrey S. Conway Medusa and Music 14
4 from Ion (c. 413 B.C.E.) translated by Ronald Frederick Willetts The Power of Gorgon's Blood 16
5 "The Daughters of Phorcys" (fourth century B.C.E.) from On Unbelievable Tales translated by Jacob Stern A Rationalist View 20
6 from The Library (second century B.C.E.) translated by James George Frazer The Beauty of Medusa 23
7 from The Historical Library (c. 60 30 B.C.E.) translated by G. Booth The Gorgons and the Amazons in Africa 26
8 from Metamorphoses (c. 43 B.C.E. 17 C.E.) translated by Rolfe Humphries The Story of Perseus 30
9 from Pharsalia (c. 61-65) translated by Robert Graves Medusa and the Snakes of Libya 40
10 from The Hall (c. 120-180) translated by A. M. Harmon The Sirens and the Gorgons 43
11 from Description of Greece (c. 143-176) translated by W. H. S. Jones Another Rationalist View 44
12 from The Adventures of Leucippe and Clitophon (second century) translated by John Winkler Medusa and the Power of Ekphrasis 45
13 from Mythologies (late fifth--early sixth centuries) translated by Leslie G. Whitbread Terror and Manliness 47
14 from The Chronicle (sixth century) translated by Elizabeth Jeffreys, Michael Jeffreys, and Roger Scott The Sorcery of Perseus 49
15 from Inferno (c. 1310-1314) translated by Allen Mandelbaum Virgil, Dante, and Medusa 51
16 Rime Sparse, #197 (c. 1327-1374) translated by Robert M. Durling 53
17 from On the Labors of Hercules (c. 1381-1391) translated by Lesley Lundeen Medusa as Artful Eloquence 54
18 from The Book of the City of Ladies (1405) translated by Earl Jeffrey Richards Medusa's Beauty 57
19 from The Philosophy of Love (1535) translated by F. Friedeberg-Seeley and Jean H. Barnes Allegorical Meanings 58
20 from the "Life of Leonardo da Vinci, Florentine Painter and Sculptor" (1550) translated by George Bull Leonardo Paints the Head of Medusa 60
21 from Mythologies (1551) translated by Anthony DiMatteo Beauty and Pleasure 62
22 from Images of the Gods (1556) translated by Walter Hryshko Imaging Medusa 64
23 from his preface to the Orlando Furioso (1591) Allegories of Man and Earth 67
24 "Perseus, or War," from The Wisdom of the Ancients (1609) translated by James Spedding Tyranny and the Art of War 69
25 "The Statue of Medusa" (1616) 72
26 from Faust (1808) translated by Stuart Atkins Gretchen and Medusa 73
27 "On the Medusa of Leonardo da Vinci in the Florentine Gallery" (1819) 75
28 from Capital (1867) translated by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling The Medusa of Capitalist Production 77
29 "Aspecta Medusa" (1870) 79
30 from The Birth of Tragedy (1872) translated by Walter Kaufmann Medusa, Apollo, and Dionysus 80
31 "The Head and the Snakes" (1899) A Story for Children 81
32 "Medusa" (1921) 83
33 "Medusa's Head" and from "The Infantile Genital Organization" (1922 and 1923) translated by James Strachey The Classic Psychoanalytic Reading 84
34 from "On the Symbolism of the Head of Medusa" (1923) translated by Olive Edmonds Medusa and Castration 87
35 "Medusa" (1935) 88
36 from "Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century" (1939) translated by Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin Medusa and Modernity 89
37 from Generation of Vipers (1942) Momism 90
38 from Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology (1943) translated by Hazel E. Barnes The Other's Look 92
39 "Medusa" (1946) 94
40 from The Origins and History of Consciousness (1949) translated by R. F. C. Hull A Jungian View of the Terrible Mother 96
41 "Perseus" and "Medusa" (1958 and 1962) 100
42 from The Mask of Medusa (1960) translated by George Ordish The Gorgon Mask 104
43 "Tableau Vivant" (1968) 106
44 "The Muse as Medusa" (1971) 107
45 from "Medusa: The Letter and the Spirit" (1972) On Dante's Medusa 109
46 "Medusa Head Picture" from Pleasures of Crewel (1972) Embroidering Your Own Medusa 122
47 from "The Look of the Gorgon" (1974) Sartre and the Existentialist Medusa 124
48 from Glas (1974) translated by John P. Leavey, Jr., and Richard Rand The Gorgon and the Jew 128
49 from Roland Barthes (1975) translated by Richard Howard The Jellyfish "Medusa" and the Power to Stun 131
50 from "The Laugh of the Medusa" (1975) translated by Keith Cohen and Paula Cohen A Classic of Feminist Theory 133
51 "A Navy Blue Afro" (1976) 135
52 from To Destroy Painting (1977) translated by Mette Hjort Caravaggio's "Head of Medusa": A Theoretical Perspective 137
53 "Medusa" (1977) 161
54 from "Difference" (1978) On "The Look for the Woman" 163
55 from The Enigma of Woman: Woman in Freud's Writings (1980) translated by Catherine Porter A Feminist Rereading of Freud's Medusa 165
56 from Medusa's Hair: An Essay on Personal Symbols and Religious Experience (1981) An Anthropological View 168
57 from "Medusa's Head: Male Hysteria under Political Pressure" (1983) Medusa in the French Revolution 173
58 from The Mirror of Medusa (1983) Medusa as Double 196
59 from "Desire in Narrative" (1984) Medusa in Cinema 198
60 from "The Voice of the Shuttle Is Ours" (1984) Rape and Silence in the Medusa Story 201
61 from "The Medusa Effect or, The Specular Ruse" (1984) Barbara Kruger and the Medusa Effect 203
62 from "Death in the Eyes" and "In the Mirror of Medusa" (1985) translated by Thomas Curley and Froma I. Zeitlin Frontality and Monstrosity 210
63 from "The blazon of sweet beauty's best': Shakespeare's Lucrece" (1985) The Face of Medusa 232
64 from "Ancient Gorgons: A Face For Contemporary Women's Rage" (1986) Experiencing My Gorgon Self 238
65 "Medusa" (1987) 247
66 from "Macbeth: The Male Medusa" (1987) Shakespeare's "New Gorgon" 249
67 "Medusa" (1989) 258
68 "Grown Older ..." (1989) translated by Francis Michael Sharp Medusa by Free Association 259
69 from The Jew's Body (1991) The Syphilitic Woman 261
70 "The Gorgon, Paradigm of Image Creation" (1993) translated by Seth Graebner Medusa as Maker of Images 262
71 from "Berggasse 19: Inside Freud's Office" (1996) Medusa in the Mirror 267
72 from "Who's looking at Who(m): Re-viewing Medusa" (1996) Medusa in Theater and Performance Art 272
73 from "The Versace Moment" by Mark Seal (1996) Seduction 276
Bibliography 279
Sources and Permissions 303
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