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Myths of the Underworld in Contemporary CultureThe Backward Gaze$
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Judith Fletcher

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198767091

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767091.001.0001

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Epilogue

Epilogue

Chapter:
(p.201) Epilogue
Source:
Myths of the Underworld in Contemporary Culture
Author(s):

Judith Fletcher

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198767091.003.0005

Gathering together common themes from works by Barth, Gaiman, Byatt, Selick, Ferrante, Morrison, Bloom, Rushdie, and Patchett, a brief Conclusion reflects on the ubiquity of the descent motif and its status as a literary space in the context of postmodernism’s critiques of the canon. Underworld mythology lends itself to postmodern interrogations of authenticity, history, and authorial proprietorship. Further uses of the underworld tradition include artist Anish Kapoor’s “Descent into Limbo,” Oliver Sacks’ memoir Awakenings, Andrew Sean Greer’s novel Less, and Louise Glück’s Averno. The Other Worlds imagined in catabatic fiction contribute to these themes with implied correspondences between dreams and ghosts.

Keywords:   descent to underworld, catabasis, postmodern underworlds, Andrew Sean Greer’s Less, Louise Glück’s Averno

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