Pandora's Senses: The Feminine Character of the Ancient Text
The notorious image of Pandora haunts mythology: a woman created as punishment for the crimes of man, she is the bearer of hope yet also responsible for the Earth’s desolation. She binds together perpetuating dichotomies that underlie the most fundamental aspects of the Western canon: beauty and evil, body and soul, depth and superficiality, truth and lie. Speaking in multiplicity, Pandora emerges as the first sign of female complexity.
In this compelling study, Vered Lev Kenaan offers a radical revision of the Greek myth of the first woman. She argues that Pandora leaves a decisive mark on ancient poetics and shows that we can unravel the profound impact of Pandora’s image once we recognize that Pandora embodies the very idea of the ancient literary text. Locating the myth of the first woman right at the heart of feminist interrogation of gender and textuality, Pandora’s Senses moves beyond a feminist critique of masculine hegemony by challenging the reading of Pandora as a one-dimensional embodiment of the misogynist vision of the feminine. Uncovering Pandora as a textual principle operating outside of the feminine, Lev Kenaan shows the centrality of this iconic figure among the poetics of such central genres as the cosmological and didactic epic, the Platonic dialogue, the love elegy, and the ancient novel. Pandora’s Senses innovates our understanding of gender as a critical lens through which to view ancient literature.
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aﬀect Alcibiades Amatoria Amores ancient Aphrodite appearance Aristophanes authority beauty become body Catullus context cosmological creates creation deﬁned desire dialogue didactic didactic epic diﬀerence dimension Diotima discourse divine eﬀect eﬀeminate elegist embodies emotional episode Eros erotic erotodidactic evil experience female feminine voice feminist ﬁeld ﬁgure ﬁnal ﬁnally ﬁnd ﬁre ﬁrst woman gaze gender genre girl’s gods Golden Age Greek Helen Heroides Hesiod Homeric Homeric Hymn identiﬁed identity image of Pandora inﬂuence lament language literary Loraux lover male marriage masculine meaning men’s misogynist Muses myth of Pandora mythical narrative nature Odysseus Odysseus’s oﬀ oﬀers Ovid Ovid’s Ovidian Pandora Pandora’s Senses Penelope Phaeacians philosophical Plato poem poet poetic present Propertius Propertius’s rape reader reading reﬂects relationship Remedia Amoris response role Roman love elegy Sappho seductive sexual signiﬁcance Socrates soul speciﬁcally text’s textual thauma Theodote Theogony Tibullus tion tradition understanding virgin visual weaving women wonder words Xenophon’s Zeus Zeus’s