Date of this Version
Epic and Epoch: Essays on the Interpretation and History of a Genre
One consequence of the recent infusion of newer critical approaches into the study of classical literature has been a boom in studies devoted to the figure of Penelope in the Odyssey. While certain problems concerning Penelope's portrayal have always been part of the agenda for Homeric scholarship, the emergence of feminist criticism and an intensified concern with the act of interpretation have focused more and more attention on a female character who occupies a surprisingly central role in the largely male dominated genre of heroic epic and whose presentation is marked by contradictions and uncertainties that demand interpretive intervention. The question of how to read the character of Penelope has become a focal point for a series of larger issues: In what ways is a female character who comes to us mediated through the poetry of a distant and patriarchal era to be seen as representative of female experience? How should we account for textual mysteries such as those surrounding Penelope, and how can we incorporate them into our understanding of the work?
Posted with permission from Texas Tech University Press.
Murnaghan, Sheila. (1996). Reading Penelope. In Steven Oberhelman, Van Kelly, and Richard Golsan (Eds.), Epic and Epoch: Essays on the Interpretation and History of a Genre, (pp. 76-96). Lubbock, Texas: Texas Tech University Press.
Date Posted: 30 January 2017