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Actaeon, the Unmannerly Intruder

The Myth and its Meaning in Classical Literature

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John Heath

This book examines the literary applications and implications in classical literature of the myth of Actaeon, a young hunter transformed into a stag and torn to shreds by his own hunting dogs. Setting psychological and anthropological speculation aside, this study argues that the «meaning» of the myth is redetermined by each telling of the tale. After reviewing the fragmentary evidence in archaic and classical Greek poetry, the book explores the literary functions of the myth in the four extant texts which incorporate the tale: Callimachus' Bath of Pallas, the Metamorphoses of both Ovid and Apuleius, and Nonnus' Dionysiaca. Each chapter evolves into an illuminating discussion of the poetics of these four very different and somewhat eccentric authors.
Contents: This study analyzes the myth of Acteaeon as it appears in classical literature. Separate explorations of the myth in Callimachus' Bath of Pallas, the Metamorphoses of both Ovid and Apuleius, and Nonnus' Dionysiaca lead to an exploration of the meaning of these four extraordinary texts themselves.