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Title: Penelope differently : feminist re-visions of myth
Author: Reuter, Victoria
ISNI:       0000 0004 5355 2730
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines feminist rewritings of the Penelope myth and the intersections between poetry, myth, and feminist theory. The theoretical framework develops from Rosi Braidotti’s theory of memory and subjectivity which has its roots in the work of Michel Foucault. In Braidotti’s understanding, subjectivity is constructed through narratives of the past including myth. In order to support new, minority, and dissident subjectivities, a re-remembering of mythical narratives needs to happen. This process is linked to Judith Butler’s recent work on narrating the self and to Adrienne Rich’s idea of “Re-vision”. What Butler’s theory adds to Braidotti’s is the notion of dispossession: that as subjects we do not own our identities. We are, instead, dependent on others for recognition. This co-dependence based notion of subjectivity has ethical implications for how we interact with one another and what kind of narratives we iterate and reiterate. The writers discussed in this thesis, namely, Francisca Aguirre, Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke, Gail Holst-Warhaft, and Margaret Atwood, not only rewrite Penelope, but perform Re-visions of the myth. They look back at it with a critical eye and remake it. This thesis further contends that Re-vision provides contemporary feminist writers with a reading and writing strategy that allows them to engage with myth in a way that parallels feminist theory’s efforts to construct new forms of subjectivity. Chapter 1 frames feminist appropriations of myth in a contemporary context and discusses Adrienne Rich’s theory of Re- vision. The next four chapters focus on specific writers who carry out a sustained dialogue with Penelope; they each take an element of the myth and tease it out towards a modern relevance. In looking at how Penelope is revised, this thesis demonstrates that women writers are engaged in a process of remaking canonical, mythic texts in such a way that speaks to contemporary issues of ethical subjectivity and self-making.
Supervisor: Papanikolaou, Dimitri Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literatures of other languages ; Medieval and Modern Greek ; American literature in English ; classical reception ; myth ; Penelope ; feminist ; contemporary ; poetry