Author: Wendy Doniger
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195658906
In this book Wendy Doniger recounts and compares several tales from ancient Greek and Indian mythology to demonstrate that Greek and Indian stories of women resemble each other more than the tales of men in the same culture.
Hindu and Greek mythologies teem with gendered narratives of doubling and bifurcation: stories of women and men who are doubled, who double themselves, who are seduced by gods doubling as mortals, whose bodies are split or divided. In this book Wendy Doniger recounts and compares several tales from ancient Greek and Indian mythology to demonstrate that Greek and Indian stories of women resemble each other more than the tales of men in the same cultures. In casting Hindu and Greek mythologies as shadows of each other, Doniger shows that culture is sometimes the shadow of gender. Myth, she argues, response to the complexities of the human condition by multiplying or splitting its characters into unequal parts, where these sloughed and cloven selves animate mythology's prodigious plots of sexuality and mortality.
A new Preface, written in her own unique style and especially for this edition, touches upon some of the new discoveries Doniger has made since the publication of the hardback.
EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS
Doniger executes her comparative studies of the myriad Indic and Greek traditions with the greatest skill and panache.
-George Nagy, Harvard University
A work of daunting scholarship, born out of exacting patience and devout passion… a compelling ride through the forgotten/half-forgotten turfs of human fantasies around sexuality)-male, female and androgynous.
- Indian review of Books
Whatever will become of gender studies? Or Classics? Or theatre? Doniger has scooped them all.
- Mary Douglas, University College, London
PRELUDE: COMPARING TEXTS COMPARING PEOPLE 1
ONE :THE SHADOW SITA AND THE PHANTOM HELEN
Sita / Helen / Interlude: Saranyu and the Sun and the
Shadow / Comparison: Sita And Helen / Conclusion:
Abuse and Flight
TWO: INDRA AND AHALYA, ZEUS AND ALCMENA
Indra as Gautama with Ahalya / Zeus as Amphitryon with
Alcmena / Interlude: Pandora / Comparison: Ahalya
and Alcmena / Conclusion; Did She Fall, or Was She
THREE: NALA AND Damayanti, Odysseus and Penelope
Sukanya and the Ashvins / Nala and Damayanti /
Damayanti and Nala / Penelope / Comparison:
Damayanti and Penelope / Interlude: How to Tell a Human
From a God / Conclusion; Why Prefer a Human to a
FOUR: MARIATALE / RENUKA AND SCYLLA / CHARYBDIS
Mariatale / Renuka / Scylla and Charybdis / Interlude:
Splitting Lucy / Comparison: Heads You Lose/
Conclusion: Put a Bag over Her Head
FIVE: TRANSPOSED MALE HEADS AND TALES
Transposed Male Heads / Splitting Male Androgynes /
Interlude: Self-Impregnating Androgynes / Comparison:
Victorians and Others / Conclusion: Mind and Body ( and Soul)
SIX: BISEXUAL TRANSFORMATIONS
Males into Females in India / Females into Males in
India / Males into Females in Greece and Europe /
Conclusion: Male and / or Female
POSTLUDE: THE SHADOW OF GENDER