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Wombiness

Mary Lefkowitz, 4 November 1993

In and Out of the Mind: Images of the Tragic Self 
by Ruth Padel.
Princeton, 210 pp., £18, July 1992, 0 691 07379 1
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The Age of Grace: Charis in Early Greek Poetry 
by Bonnie MacLachlan.
Princeton, 192 pp., £21.50, August 1993, 0 691 06974 3
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... In Euripides’ drama Hippolytus (428 BC), when the women of Troezen learn that Phaedra, their queen, is ill, they wonder if she has been possessed by a god or whether her ‘soul’ has been bound to her bed by grief because her husband has found another woman. ‘An evil helplessness of labour pains and folly likes to dwell in the difficult composition of women,’ they conclude ...

Between the two halves of a dog

Mary Lefkowitz, 17 November 1983

Miasma 
by Robert Parker.
Oxford, 413 pp., £30, June 1983, 0 19 814835 6
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... The ancient Greeks, for all the changes that the industrial age has brought, would have been quick to understand what we now mean by pollution. The oil slick on the white sand beach, the exhaust fumes in the atmosphere, even the soot on the window-sill, are not simply forms of dirt that can by some means be cleansed away: in each case the offending substance indicates that there has been a displacement, that something which belongs to one sphere has entered or even invaded another ...

Mrs Perfect Awful

Mary Lefkowitz, 17 May 1984

Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behaviour 
by Judith Martin.
Hamish Hamilton, 745 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 241 11100 5
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Gilbert: A Comedy of Manners 
by Judith Martin.
Hamish Hamilton, 303 pp., £8.95, January 1984, 0 241 11157 9
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... For many people in this country the garish Texan settings of television serials, with their incessant boorishness, brutality and violence, appear to represent ‘normal’ life in America. When it is discovered that I grew up in New York City, English people ask, in varying degrees of indirectness, whether it is still possible to live there, if it is safe to walk about in the day, and they don’t always believe me when I tell them that everyone else in my family still lives there, that my cousin, who one would have thought might have been pleased to remain in such a luscious spot as Santa Cruz, California, actually wants to move back ...

Aspasia’s Sisters

Mary Lefkowitz, 1 September 1983

The Family, Women and Death: Comparative Studies 
by Sally Humphreys.
Routledge, 210 pp., £15, March 1983, 0 7100 9322 5
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The Golden Lyre: The Themes of the Greek Lyric Poets 
by David Campbell.
Duckworth, 312 pp., £28, February 1983, 0 7156 1563 7
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... A generation ago, standard ancient history courses paid little attention to domestic life. I vaguely remember being told that Aspasia was Pericles’s ‘mistress’ and that hetairai like her were often well-educated, and thus able better to serve as ‘companions’ for men than their less cultivated wives. But it wasn’t until relatively recently that undergraduates were encouraged to know how such women were educated not only to discuss poetry and philosophy but also to carry out the less academic functions of their profession ...

Whose Greece?

Martin Bernal, 12 December 1996

Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History 
by Mary Lefkowitz.
Basic Books, 222 pp., $24, February 1996, 0 465 09837 1
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Black Athena Revisited 
edited by Mary Lefkowitz and Guy MacLean Rogers.
North Carolina, 544 pp., £14.75, September 1996, 0 8078 2246 9
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... errors. It is such autodidacts who tend today to monopolise the label ‘Afrocentrist’. Mary Lefkowitz’s concern, or obsession, with Afrocentrism emerged suddenly in 1991, when she wrote a review of my book Black Athena for the New Republic. As a professor of classics, she was appalled to discover that people were writing books and teaching ...

Old Flames

Peter Parsons, 10 January 1983

The Latin Sexual Vocabulary 
by J.N. Adams.
Duckworth, 272 pp., £24, September 1982, 9780715616482
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Ovid: The Erotic Poems 
translated by Peter Green.
Penguin, 450 pp., £2.95, November 1982, 0 14 044360 6
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Women’s Life in Greece and Rome 
by Mary Lefkowitz and Maureen Fant.
Duckworth, 294 pp., £24, September 1982, 0 7156 1434 7
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Heroines and Hysterics 
by Mary Lefkowitz.
Duckworth, 96 pp., £8.95, September 1982, 0 7156 1518 1
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... have gone for good. The same is true of the ancient world in general. That emerges clearly from Mary Lefkowitz’s and Maureen Fant’s spirited anthology. Women’s Life is the title – a feminist would prefer Men on Women’s Life. It is rare to hear a woman speak; rarer still for her to speak as a woman. Beyond that, there are all the usual ...

Gods and Heroes

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 18 December 1980

Sophocles: An Interpretation 
by R.P. Winnington-Ingram.
Cambridge, 346 pp., £25, February 1980, 0 521 22672 4
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... from the critical examination they have undergone in a number of recent articles by Professor Mary Lefkowitz. Winnington-lngram is also inclined to accept the view of Bernard Knox that the plague in the Oedipus Tyrannus was suggested to Sophocles by the plague that attacked Athens in 430 BC. But there is a plague in the first book of the ...

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