Demeter and Persephone: Lessons from a Myth

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ISBN-13: 978-0786413430
ISBN-10: 0786413433
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About the Author

Tamara Agha-Jaffar is a professor of English at Kansas City Kansas Community College where she founded the women’s studies program. She lives in Overland Park, Kansas.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 211 pages
  • Publisher: Mcfarland & Co Inc Pub (September 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786413433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786413430
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By RD on October 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a very interesting look at the myth of Demeter, Persephone, Hades and all the people associated with their myth. I should warn you that this is a feminst perspective on the myth that uses outside references such as the Bible and other self-help books to interpret the myth and give it meaning to modern day readers. However, this book only refers to the Homeric Hymn version of the myth, and when I started reading the book I was very disappointed. There are so many versions of this myth, such as Demeter having dragons surround Persephone to keep her from being harmed, that I feel books like this one need to hunt down and interpret for modern day audiences as well. Another gripe I have with the book are some of the interpretations. For example, the author implies that Persephone was physically raped, and I disagree only because the word "rape" has multiple meanings in the English language--Persephone's "rape" could just mean that she was taken in the Underworld against her will. In my opinion, there is no proof that Persephone had sex (forced or otherwise) with Hades in the Homeric Hymn. Otherwise, if you have an open mind and are willing to read a feminist view of the tale of Demeter and Persephone, this is the book for you.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By H. Mayson on March 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After the first two or three chapters of this book, I felt like I should have read the other books mentioned by the author, instead of this one; I have read Life's Daughter/Death's Bride, which was mentioned repeatedly in this book, and I felt like I got more out of that book than I did this one. A couple of the other books mentioned, I had considered getting before deciding on this one, and the author definitely made me feel those others books would be much better resources than this one.

Another issue that I have with this book is that I felt like she was saying that all women are victims, no matter what. I also did not like how it felt like she was degrading the culture of Ancient Greece; she was definitely making twenty- first century judgments on that culture. One cannot expect people who lived over two thousand years ago to see things the same way someone living today does.

And while I think she does make some valid points in the chapter where she talks about rape, I don't think she gave the reader the full picture. From the reading I have done on the story of Persephone, I ran into an interesting explanation of the word "rape"; one translation of the word is derived from a Latin word "rapt" which means "to seize". By failing to take this meaning into account, I think the author has done her readers some disservice.
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