Demeter and Persephone
Lessons from a Myth
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About the Book
The classical Greek myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone as told in Homer’s Hymn to Demeter has been used most often to explain the cycle of the seasons. However, a closer examination will reveal insights on living and dying, loss and reconciliation, and suffering and healing.
This work demostrates the continued importance and relevance of the myth of Demeter and Persephone to today’s society. The first three chapters provide a summary of the Homeric story and examine the myth from the perspectives of the mother and daughter.
The following chapters discuss the symbolism of critical objects, the role of female mentoring, the role of Hades and the meaning of the underworld, the subject of rape, and the masculinist perspective presented by Zeus and Helios, and derive lessons useful for healing and knowledge. The Hymn to Demeter as translated by Helene Foley is included as an appendix in order to provide a basis for the discussion in the text. Notes and a bibliography also follow the text.
About the Author(s)
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2002
Table of Contents
Cast of Characters xiii
1 The Story 7
2 Demeter: Grieving, Retaliation, and Reconciliation 14
3 Persephone: Moving Beyond Victimization 36
4 A Narcissus, a Veil, and a Pomegranate 56
5 Female Mentoring 73
6 Zeus and Helios: Male Power and Masculinities 97
7 The Underworld and Hades: Death, Transformation, and Rebirth 115
8 Rape 135
9 Unraveling the Mysteries: Guidelines for Healing and Knowledge 149
10 One Day in a Life 158
Book Reviews & Awards
“The Homeric Hymn to Demeter is included in full as an Appendix in a translation by Helene P. Foley that in itself justifies the purchase…important themes”—Journal of Classics Teaching; “excellent read…highly recommended”—Sage Woman; “invaluable”—Catholic Library World; “recommended”—Feminist Academic Press Column.