Putting the Women Back into the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women*
Women's oral traditions have been largely effaced, or at least muted, in the canons of literate cultures and in the intellectual movements or disciplines they have identified as central, including history and literary criticism. Myth is important to feminism because it is one element of literate culture that has the potential to incorporate women's traditions and perspectives. This chapter examines possible traces of women's traditions in a fragmentary Greek work of the archaic age — the poem Catalogue of Women attributed to Hesiod — and considers how and why these traces have been effaced, both in the composition of the poem itself and in the practice of classical scholarship. It examines the disruption of patrilineal narratives within the poem, drawing attention to the way most commentators have stubbornly refused to acknowledge women as the subject matter of this text.
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