In this session, Brittany Kuhn introduces a discussion of the reception of the figure of Persephone in contemporary poetry.
The myth of Demeter and Persephone has been widely studied and ‘translated’ across cultures and periods. Yet, we learn very little about Persephone’s experiences in the Underworld, her relationship with Hades, and her transformation into the Queen of the Underworld. What happens to her when she crosses realms and while she is away from Demeter? How does that impact our understanding of her position as both Kore and Queen?
In this session, we will seek to answer those questions by first reviewing anthropologists’ and psychoanalysts’ theories in regards to this gap in Persephone’s narrative. We will then look at contemporary attempts to imagine the inherent ambivalence of the figure of Persephone as rendered in the poems “A Myth of Innocence” by Louise Glück and “The Bistro Styx” by Rita Dove. It is through these poetic renditions that we can hope to identify Persephone’s “afterlife” and understand its importance to both her mythical narrative with Demeter and her relevance to woman’s everyday life.
Myth Reading Group: Thursday 10 March
12.00-1.30pm in Room 3.318
Poster and texts:
Homeric Hymn to Demeter.trans.Helene Foley [see especially ll.1-67; 343-495]