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    Becoming Achilles: Child-sacrifice, War, and Misrule in the Lliad and Beyond (Greek Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches (Paperback)) (Paperback) By (author) Richard Holway

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    DescriptionViewing the Iliad and myth through the lens of modern psychology, in Becoming Achilles: Child-Sacrifice, War, and Misrule in the Iliad and Beyond, Richard Holway shows how the epic underwrites individual and communal catharsis and denial. Sacrificial childrearing generates but also threatens agonistic, glory-seeking ancient Greek cultures. Not only aggression but knowledge of sacrificial parenting must be purged. Just as Zeus contrives to have threats to his regime play out harmlessly (to him) in the mortal realm, so the Iliad dramatizes threats to Archaic and later Greek cultures in the safe arena of poetic performance. The epic represents in displaced form destructive mother-son and father-daughter liaisons and resulting strife within and between generations. Holway calls into question the Iliad's (and many scholars') presentation of Achilles as a hero who speaks truth to power, learns through suffering, and exemplifies kingly virtues that Agamemnon lacks. So too the Iliad's cathartic process, whether conceived as purging innate aggression or arriving at moral clarity. Instead, Holway argues, Achilles (and Socrates) try to prove they are not what at bottom they experience themselves to be-needy, defenseless children, who fear to acknowledge, much less speak out against, parents' use of them to meet parents' needs. What emerges from Holway's analysis is not only a new reading of the Iliad, from its first word to its last, but a revised account of the family dynamics underlying ancient Greek cultures.

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  • Full bibliographic data for Becoming Achilles

    Becoming Achilles
    Child-sacrifice, War, and Misrule in the Lliad and Beyond
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Richard Holway
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 270
    Width: 150 mm
    Height: 226 mm
    Thickness: 25 mm
    Weight: 363 g
    ISBN 13: 9780739146910
    ISBN 10: 0739146912

    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 25540
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T3.7
    BIC subject category V2: DSC
    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: LIT
    B&T Merchandise Category: TXT
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 01
    B&T Modifier: Geographic Designator: 05
    BIC subject category V2: DSBB
    BIC language qualifier (language as subject) V2: 2AHA
    Ingram Subject Code: PS
    Libri: I-PS
    B&T General Subject: 431
    Ingram Theme: CHRN/ANCIEN
    B&T Modifier: Continuations: 02
    Ingram Theme: CULT/GREECE
    B&T Approval Code: A14202030
    B&T Modifier: Geographic Designator: 37
    DC22: 883.01
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 02
    DC22: 883/.01
    LC subject heading:
    BISAC V2.8: PSY015000
    LC subject heading: ,
    BISAC V2.8: HIS002010, LIT004190
    B&T Approval Code: A24200000
    BISAC V2.8: HIS042000
    BIC subject category V2: 2AHA
    LC subject heading: ,
    BISAC V2.8: HIS054000
    LC subject heading: ,
    DC23: 883.01
    LC classification: PA4037 .H7725 2012
    Ingram Theme: INDS/CLASSI
    Thema V1.0: NHTB, DSBB, DB, NHD, DSC
    Thema language qualifier V1.0: 2AHA
    Thema geographical qualifier V1.0: 1DXG
    Edition statement
    New ed.
    Lexington Books
    Imprint name
    Lexington Books
    Publication date
    17 November 2011
    Publication City/Country
    Lanham, MD
    Author Information
    Richard Holway has a PhD in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. The history and social sciences editor at the University of Virginia Press, he teaches in the Department of Politics and the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies Program at the University of Virginia.
    Review quote
    Holway's evaluation of the Iliad in light of attachment theory and Freudian interpretations of family dynamics represents a valuable contribution to a series of interdisciplinary Greek studies edited by Gregory Nagy. Holway (Univ. of Virginia) posits that Achilles' glory-seeking temperament developed because his mother attempted to use him to retaliate against Zeus for rejecting her, providing illuminating insight into the psychological underpinnings of Greek hero-mythology and Greek culture more broadly. Greek hero literature is literally built on such examples of 'parents sacrificing children's needs to their own.' Dysfunctional families abound in the Homeric tradition, and the deleterious effects on people and institutions match up well with the family psychology literature. Holway pursues these connections to explain heroic violence and glory-seeking (chapter 2), patterns of patriarchy and misogyny (chapters 5 and 6), and even Socrates' actions during and after his trial (epilogue). While the analysis relies heavily on a portion of contemporary psychology to explain much about ancient Greek society, the book is an excellent resource for numerous fields of study. Summing Up: Highly recommended. CHOICE By applying the current psychology of attachment theory to the Iliad, this book illuminates Homer and Greek myth. What we see is a culture that depends on and perpetuates child-sacrifice and destructive family dynamics. -- Grace Ledbetter, Swarthmore College A profound and timeless study of the psychological consequences of being raised in a martial society that values the defense of honor-personal and collective-above all else. -- Randolph Roth, Ohio State University This book is not only good to think with: it is also good, very good, to talk about. (From the foreword) -- Gregory Nagy, Harvard University There exists a view that in order to be truly great you must sacrifice domestic happiness, perhaps even your life, in pursuit of your goal. In this interesting work by Richard Holway it is argued that the Iliad encourages this unhealthy acceptance of self-destruction as the natural pre-requisite of greatness. Using a psychology-based approach, with particular reference to infant attachment theory, Holway dissects the familial patterns in and around the Iliad to explore why its warriors willingly risk death. Bryn Mawr Classical Review Holway's book has many strengths. First among these is the novel reading of the Iliad and its background myths motivated by an interest in attachment theory...Becoming Achilles is a worthy addition to the literature on the pedagogical effects of epic or tragedy...Holway's book is to be recommended for the way it comes at well-worn material with a fresh perspective. More importantly, the book has much to teach us about the connection between familial and cultural violence, and the interpenetration of the micro and macro forces that shape human communities. Polis
    Table of contents
    Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 1. The Quarrel Chapter 2. Heroic Psychology Chapter 3. Mythobiographies Chapter 4. Catharsis and Denial Chapter 5. Fathers and Sons Chapter 6. Mothers and Sons Chapter 7. Departures from Maternal Agendas Chapter 8. Self in Crisis Epilogue: Achilles and Socrates Bibliography