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Representations of Women in Theocritus’s Idylls

Authenticity of the Female Voice in the Erotic and Non-Erotic Portrayals

Marilyn Likosky

Hellenistic poet Theocritus showcased a wide variety of women and their relationships to men in his work. Representations of Women in Theocritus’s Idylls: Authenticity of the Female Voice in the Erotic and Non-Erotic Portrayals is the first comprehensive analysis of these women. This book uses a unique and widely inclusive set of tools derived from gender studies, literary criticism, and Hellenistic history to extract the voices of females, as most are silent themselves and spoken for by others. This analysis questions the validity of the female voice and determines authenticity through a method derived from Lacanian psychoanalysis. Author Marilyn Likosky identifies a female erotic voice that according to criteria is not attributed to a woman but rather to the imagination of the male responding to perceived risks in engaging with a female at a time in which she received greater liberties. Theocritus explores a number of candidate strategies for males to lessen disruptions from erotic encounters. Likosky identifies an ambiguity in the presentation of voice, finding it likely an intentional means for Theocritus to engage his audience in troublesome issues. This book supports academic seminars in gender studies, Hellenistic poetry, and literary criticism.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Likosky, Marilyn, author. Title: Representations of women in Theocritus’s Idylls: authenticity of the female voice in the erotic and non-erotic portrayals / Marilyn Likosky. Description: New York: Peter Lang, 2018. Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2018001243 | ISBN 978-1-4331-4870-5 (hardback: alk. paper) ISBN 978-1-4331-4871-2 (ebook pdf) | ISBN 978-1-4331-4872-9 (epub) ISBN 978-1-4331-4873-6 (mobi) Subjects: LCSH: Theocritus. Idylls. Women in literature. Greek literature—History and criticism. Classification: LCC PA4444 .L556 2018 | DDC 884/.01—dc23 LC record available at DOI 10.3726/b13374 Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at

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