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Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon

Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon

Paperback

By (author) Stephen R. Wilk

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 230mm x 17mm | 453g
  • Publication date: 24 April 2008
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0195341317
  • ISBN 13: 9780195341317
  • Illustrations note: numerous halftones
  • Sales rank: 585,181

Product description

Medusa, the Gorgon, who turns those who gaze upon her to stone, is one of the most popular and enduring figures of Greek mythology. Long after many other figures from Greek myth have been forgotten, she continues to live in popular culture. In this fascinating study of the legend of Medusa, Stephen R. Wilk begins by refamiliarizing readers with the story through ancient authors and classical artwork, then looks at the interpretations that have been given of the meaning of the myth through the years. A new and original interpretation of the myth is offered, based upon astronomical phenomena. The use of the gorgoneion, the Face of the Gorgon, on shields and on roofing tiles is examined in light of parallels from around the world, and a unique interpretation of the reality behind the gorgoneion is suggested. Finally, the history of the Gorgon since classical times is explored, culminating in the modern use of Medusa as a symbol of Female Rage and Female Creativity.

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Review quote

"The author's twenty years of devoted and penetrating research has netted so engagingly seined a catch of fact and fancy that he is close to persuasive about [the origins of Medusa's] gaze....Wilk is open, judicious, and critically candid about the broad collage he has so inventively explored. Goodto the last line of text, this rich book never even flirts with the sin of being boring."--Journal of the History of Astronomy"As the author of this interesting new book demonstrates, the Gorgon was not only an unsually popular subject among Greek and Roman writers and artists, but she has also remained a favorite mythological character in modern times.... Wilk's in-depth study is a welcome addition to the scholarshipabout her, containing both extensive review of previous interpretative theories and adding quite a few insightful new ideas of his own."--The Classical Outlook

Table of contents

PART 1 THE MYSTERY ; 1. The Nature of Myth ; 2. The Myth of Perseus and Medusa ; 3. The Gorgon in Art ; 4. Parallels from Around the World ; 5. Explanations ; PART II THE SOLUTION ; 6. Mira and Algol ; 7. The Surrounding Sky ; 8. The Face on the Shield ; 9. Gorgons and Gargoyles ; 10. What the Gorgon Really was ; 11. The Gorgon Today ; 12. Synthesis ; APPENDIX ; NOTES ; REFERENCES ; INDEX