Female Characters play various roles in the Odyssey: patron goddess (Athena), seductress (Kirke, the Sirens, Nausikaa), carnivorous monster (Skylla), maid servant (Eurykleia), and faithful wife (Penelope). Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, this study examines these different female representations and their significance within the context of the poem and Greek culture. A central theme of the book is the visualization of the Odyssey's female characters by ancient artists, and several essays discuss the visual and iconographic implications of Odysseus' female encounters as depicted in Greek, Etruscan, and Roman art. The distinguished contributors--from the fields of classical studies, comparative literature, art history, and archaeology--are A.J. Graham, Seth L. Schein, Diana Buitron-Oliver, Beth Cohen, Sheila Murnaghan, Lillian Eileen Doherty, Helene P. Foley, Froma I. Zeitlin, H.A. Shapiro, Richard Brilliant, Jenifer Neils, and Christine Mitchell Havelock. Feminine in orientation, but not narrowly feminist in approach, this first interdisciplinary work on the Odyssey's female characters will have a broad audience amongst scholars and students working in classical studies, iconography and art history, women's studies, mythology, and ancient history.
"The essays collected in The Distaff Side provide a useful addition to the sizeable new literature on females in the Odyssey. The essays have been thoughtfully edited, and can be read with profit by undergraduates as well as by their instructors. All Greek is translated, obscurities are explained, and technical and theoretical terminology avoided."--Bryn Mawr Classical Review
"Beautifully produced....The essays reveal wide research, good thinking, and sound scholarship."--Choice
"This lively assortment of scholarly perspectives is well-researched and attentive to literary and artistic nuance, an authoritative work that will provoke scholars of women's history as well as classicists, art historians, and teachers of The Odyssey
."--Religious Studies Review
"Very intelligent, accessible tour around women in the Odyssey
....First-rate introduction to the subject."--Sophie Mills, U.N.C.
"[T]he volume constitutes a unique collection of outstanding articles on every aspect of the feminine in the Odyssey
."--The Journal of Indo-European Studies