Myths of Love: Echoes of Ancient Mythology in the Modern Romantic Imagination

Myths of Love: Echoes of Ancient Mythology in the Modern Romantic Imagination


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Myths of Love: Echoes of Ancient Mythology in the Modern Romantic Imagination by Ruth K. Westheimer, Jerome E. Singerman

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, America’s favorite sex therapist, analyzes ancient myth and its relevance to 21st century relationships in her new book “Myths of Love: Echoes of Greek and Roman Mythology in the Modern Romantic Imagination.” From humanity’s earliest beginnings, people have puzzled over the dual nature of love. For the ancient Greeks and Romans, love was sweet, but it was also irrational, cruel, and often deadly. Faced with the terrible paradox of love, classical civilization produced some of the most psychologically insightful myths of all time—stories of classic archetypes such as Narcissus, Helen of Troy, and Venus and Adonis.

Dr. Ruth and classical scholar Jerome E. Singerman insightfully examine the underlying psychology of the ancient myths and explain why their universal appeal has shaped the imagination of Western civilization for millennia. “Myths of Love” traces how these myths of endured in literature and art across the centuries and how they still influence how we think about sex and relationships today.

Surveying a vast range of Greek and Roman literature from Homer to Ovid, “Myths of Love” retells and reconsiders the full gamut of human sexual experience, from the tenderest expressions of married love to the savage, self-destructive passions of narcissism on jealousy. Bridging high culture and pop culture, “Myths of Love” reveals the secret connections between classic literature and today’s popular novels and films.

A stimulating blend of art, science, ancient religion, and the passions and contradictions of the human heart, “Myths of Love” is a smart and sexy revisit to the roots of Western culture’s eternal fascination with love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610352116
Publisher: Linden Publishing
Publication date: 06/01/2014
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer is one of America's best-known names in relationship therapy. Widely known for her honest and humane approach to human sexuality, Westheimer pioneered frank sex advice on radio with her program Sexually Speaking, which premiered in 1980 on WYNY in New York. Since then Westheimer has become America's favorite sex expert, giving help to millions through radio, television, newspapers, magazines, books and her website,

Jerome E. Singerman is a book editor who lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He holds a doctorate in comparative literature from Harvard University. His articles on museums and painting have appeared in “The Magazine Antiques,” and he is author of the book “Under Clouds of Poesy: Poetry and Truth in French and English Reworkings of the Aeneid.”

Table of Contents


1. Tiresias:

The Riddle of Pleasure and the Burden of Shame

2. Phaedra and Hippolytus:

What Is This Thing Called Love?

3. Cupid and Psyche:

Love Discovered

4. Leda and the Swan:

Ceci n’est pas un cygne

5. Helen and Paris:

Lust and War

6. Laodamia and Protesilaus:

Casualties of War

7. Hermaphroditus and Salmacis:

Love Denied

8. Narcissus:

Love Unshared

9. Iphis and Ianthe:

Gender-bending Love

10. Danaë:

The Gold Standard

11. Pasiphaë and the Bull:

Animal Lust

12. Theseus and Ariadne:

Seduced and Abandoned, Part I

13. Dido and Aeneas:

Seduced and Abandoned, Part II

14. Pygmalion and the Statue:

The Art of Love or the Love of Art?

15. Canace and Macareus:

All in the Family, Part I

16. Myrrha and Cinyras:

All in the Family, Part II

17. Venus and Adonis:

Unexpected Changes

18. Pyramus and Thisbe:

Missed Connections

19. Hero and Leander:

Reckless Love

20. Orpheus and Eurydice:

Love and Loss

21. Alcestis and Admetus:

Lost Love

22. Cephalus and Procris:

Toxic Love

23. Acontius and Cydippe:

A Marriage of True Minds

24. Ceyx and Alcyone:

Calming the Waters

25. Baucis and Philemon:

Love at the End


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