The University of Wisconsin Press
Classical Studies / Literature & Criticism / Women's Studies
Mail and Female
Epistolary Narrative and Desire in Ovid’s Heroides
Sara H. Lindheim
Wisconsin Studies in Classics
William Aylward, Nicholas D. Cahill, and Patricia A. Rosenmeyer, Series Editors
In the Heroides the Roman poet Ovid wittily plucks fifteen abandoned heroines from ancient myth and literature and creates the fiction that each woman writes a letter to the hero who left her behind. But in giving voice to these heroines, is Ovid writing like a woman, or writing “Woman” like a man?
Using feminist and psychoanalytic approaches to examine the “female voice” in the Heroides, Sara H. Lindheim closely reads these fictive letters in which the women seemingly tell their own stories. She points out that in Ovid’s verse epistles all the women represent themselves in a strikingly similar and disjointed fashion. Lindheim turns to Lacanian theory of desire to explain these curious and hauntingly repetitive representations of the heroines in the “female voice.” Lindheim’s approach illuminates what these poems reveal about both masculine and feminine constructions of the feminine.
“Mail and Female opens up whole new vistas of interpretation within Heroides scholarship, perspectives that will shed light not only on the poems themselves, but demonstrate the usefulness of Lacanian theory to classics. Lindheim's scholarly command both of Lacanian psychoanalysis and of classical philology is superior.”
Micaela W. Janan, Duke University
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LC: 2003005655 PA
240 pp. 6 x 9
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