Unbinding Medea
Interdisciplinary Approaches to a Classical Myth from Antiquity to the 21st Century

Edited by Heike Bartel and Anne Simon

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(c.480-406 BCE)
Athenian playwright
 2 other titles

 9 other titles

Legenda: Oxford, 2010
£55.00 ($99.00 US)  Hardback  352pp
ISBN: 978-1-906540-53-1

Medea — simply to mention her name conjures up echoes and cross-connections from Antiquity to the present. The vengeful wife, the infanticidal mother, the frail, suicidal heroine, the archetypal bad mother, the smitten maiden, the barbarian, the sorceress, the abused victim, the case study for a pathology: for more than two thousand years she has challenged in literature, arrested the eye in paintings, reverberated in music, called to us from the stage. She demands the most interdisciplinary of study, from ancient art to contemporary law, genetics and medicine: she is no more to be bound by any single field of study than by any single take on her character.

With the contributions:

Heike Bartel, Anne Simon — Introduction: Medea, Meetings in Borderland
Edith Hall — Medea and the Mind of the Murderer
Richard Buxton — How Medea Moves: Versions of a Myth in Apollonius and Elsewhere
Robert Cowan — A Stranger in a Strange Land: Medea in Roman Republican Tragedy
Margherita Carucci — The Representation of Medea in the Roman House
Catherine Léglu — ‘A New Medea’ in Late Medieval French Narratives
Ekaterini Kepetzis — Changing Perceptions: Medea as Paradigm of the Ideal Marriage
Elizabeth Prettejohn — Medea, Frederick Sandys, and the Aesthetic Moment
John Thorburn — John McNaughton’s Wild Things: Pop Culture Echoes of Medea in the 1990s
Isabelle Torrance — Retrospectively Medea: The Infanticidal Mother in Alejandro Amenábar’s Film The Others
Amy Wygant — Revolutionary Medea
Yixu Lü — Transformations of Medea on the Eighteenth-Century German Stage
Heike Bartel — Dressing the ‘Other’, Dressing the ‘Self’: Clothing in the Medea Dramas of Euripides and Franz Grillparzer
Peter A. Campbell — Jay Scheib’s The Medea as Postdramatic Performance
Brian Arkins — Three Medeas from Modern Ireland
Daniela Cavallaro — Giving Birth to a New Woman: Italian Women Playwrights’ Revisions of Medea
Paula Straile-Costa — Myth and Ritual in The Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea: Cherríe Moraga’s Xicana-Indígena Interpretation of Euripides’ Medea
Ivar Kvistad — Cultural Imperialism and Infanticide in Pasolini’s Medea
Anthony Bushell — Mediation or Refraction? Marie Luise Kaschnitz’s Edition and Reception of Grillparzer’s Medea
Hilary Emmett — The Maternal Contract in Beloved and Medea
Angela J. Burns — ‘A Thoroughly Modern Medea’: The Fear of Female Insubordination in Euripides’ Medea and Contemporary Legislative Policy
Edward Phillips — Legal Myth-Making: Medea and the Legal Representation of the Feminine ‘Other’
Terence Stephenson — Fatal Outcomes of Fabricated or Induced Illness: A Modern Medea
Laurence D. Hurst — The Medea Gene


  • ‘This handsome volume, with generous illustrations, bibliography, and index... Medea has become a cutting-edge subject in the past dozen years. Certain insistent concerns, however, such as those of feminism, do set this latest collection apart from the others. At the highest level, Phillips’s essay provides a wider philosophical perspective in what could be a suitable conclusion for this whole book. Its claim that Medea’s story is in part a lawyer’s story "of the taming of instinct and impulse and their ultimate subjection to the Law" calls to mind the restless inquiring after justice in The Oresteia and so many other Greek tragedies.’ — Richard F. Hardin, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 22 February 2011
  • ‘This collection deserves to be required reading for all those interested in the relationship between ancient and modern, and the role of mythology in the process of defining reality.’ — E. M. Griffiths, Modern Language Review 107.2, April 2012, 588-89


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