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Classics in the Modern WorldA Democratic Turn?$
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Lorna Hardwick and Stephen Harrison

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199673926

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673926.001.0001

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Ovidian Metamorphoses in the Fiction of A. S. Byatt

Ovidian Metamorphoses in the Fiction of A. S. Byatt

Chapter:
(p.262) (p.263) 19 Ovidian Metamorphoses in the Fiction of A. S. Byatt
Source:
Classics in the Modern World
Author(s):

Fiona Cox

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673926.003.0019

This chapter examines the presence of Ovid in the novels of A. S. Byatt, focusing especially on her treatment of the myth of Proserpina. Byatt’s relationship with Ovid is paradoxical. On the one hand, her imagination is fired by her engagement with the Metamorphoses, to the point where her e-mail name is ‘Arachne’; on the other hand, the allusions she makes to Ovid within her fiction endorse the view of her as an over-intellectual writer who makes too many demands of her readers, an issue for women’s writing. This chapter analyses Byatt’s dilemma, and demonstrates Ovid’s power to help her negotiate the democratic turn.

Keywords:   ovid, byatt, education, proserpina, women’s writing

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