Friday, September 15, 2006

Women in Greek Myth

Women in Greek Myth by Mary Lefkowitz is a scholarly work. Does that make you want to run and scream? Or draw near and wrinkle your brow? She's a professor at Wellesley College, and her thesis is that ancient men were afraid of ancient women's intelligence, not their sexuality. And she's got the footnotes to back it up. Here's the beginning of the Preface:

"The Greeks' most important legacy is not, as we would like to think, democracy; it is their mythology...even in the twentieth century, when man has acquired greater power than ever before to alter the natural world, the old myths continue to haunt us, not just in the form of nymphs and shepherds on vases or garden statuary, but in many common assumptions about the shape of human experience...

In this book I wish not only to describe how the Greeks portrayed female experience in myth, but also to suggest why in the hands of the great poets the narrative patterns were not as restrictive...I believe that it is possible to show that the Greeks at least attributed to women a capacity for understanding that we do not always find in the other great mythological tradition that has influenced us, namely, the Old and New Testaments."

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1 Comments:

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Now I know ahead of time what I'm getting for Christmas from my Greek auntie in Boston.... ;)

 

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