Women in Greek Myth / Edition 1

Women in Greek Myth / Edition 1

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by Mary R. Lefkowitz
     
 

Modern critics often interpret ancient literature according to their own standards ad preoccupations, as if they were reading the works of a contemporary author. Most recently, feminists have applied their own criteria to the rich variety of female characters in Greek mythology. The Amazons are seen as representatives of an original matriarchy, Clytemnestra as a

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Overview

Modern critics often interpret ancient literature according to their own standards ad preoccupations, as if they were reading the works of a contemporary author. Most recently, feminists have applied their own criteria to the rich variety of female characters in Greek mythology. The Amazons are seen as representatives of an original matriarchy, Clytemnestra as a frustrated individualist, Antigone an oppressed revolutionary. The Greek myths reflect a world in which men dominate women, largely out of fear of women's sexuality.

Mary R. Lefkowitz argues in this controversial book that this view is justified neither by the myths themselves nor by the relevant documentary evidence. Concentrating on those aspects of women's experience most often misunderstood—women's life apart from men, marriage, influence in politics, self-sacrifice and martyrdom, misogyny—she presents a far less negative account of the role of Greek women, both ordinary and extraordinary, as manifested in the central works of Greek literature.

Lefkowitz shows that the darkness of Greek mythology suggests not the wretched lot of women in particular, but of mortals generally. Women in Greek myth, she contends, play a rather more enlightened role than their biblical or Christian counterparts. And what Greek men feared in women, if they feared anything, was not women's sexuality but their intelligence.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801841088
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
09/05/2000
Edition description:
Older Edition
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range:
Up to 18 Years

Table of Contents


Preface to Second Edition     ix
Preface to First Edition     xv
Princess Ida and the Amazons     1
The Powers of the Primeval Goddesses     14
The Heroic Women of Greek Epic     25
Chosen Women     42
Seduction and Rape     54
"Predatory" Goddesses     70
The Last Hours of the Parthenos     82
Women in the Panathenaic and Other Festivals     95
Women without Men     106
Wives     122
Influential Women     139
Martyrs     153
Misogyny     168
Epilogue     186
List of Abbreviations     191
Notes     193
References     219
Index     233

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