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Chapitre d'ouvrage

The Decisive Moment in Mythology: The Instant of Metamorphosis

Abstract : We analyze the process of metamorphosis in Greek 'mythographers' as the 'decisive moment' when a person is transformed. We begin with examples drawn from Antoninus Liberalis for showing the role of verbal aspect in the narrative, then some devices of metamorphosis, such as the wand and the touch by a god. Disappearing appears as a form of metamorphosis. The study of the 'instant before' shows the importance of pursuit and impossible flight. Incestuous loves appear in Antoninus Liberalis, but with more frequency in Parthenius of Nicaea, which allows to imagine that Freud could have found benefit studying these texts for his theory, especially with the narrative of Periandros' mother and the expression of pleasure felt by the son in the relation with his mother (he does not know then who she is). We analyze the kinship between metamorphosis and metaphor, important for poetry and visual arts. We conclude with the link between metamorphosis and the notion of rites of passage, and for love stories being told for the pleasure of both author and audience. Pursuit and impossible flight eventually appear as a means for the pursued girl of escaping and yielding, for the pursuer as a means of giving up sexual possession and keeping forever a substitute as the syrinx or the laurel.
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Chapitre d'ouvrage
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Contributeur : Françoise Letoublon <>
Soumis le : lundi 12 novembre 2018 - 18:11:58
Dernière modification le : mercredi 14 octobre 2020 - 04:16:32
Archivage à long terme le : : mercredi 13 février 2019 - 16:44:52


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Françoise Letoublon. The Decisive Moment in Mythology: The Instant of Metamorphosis. Anton Bierl, Menelaos Christopoulos, Athina Papachrysostomou. Time and Space in Ancient Myth, Religion and Culture, 10, De Gruyter, pp.335-353, 2017, MythosEikonPoiesis, 978-3-11-053515-0. ⟨10.1515/9783110535150-021⟩. ⟨hal-01919971⟩



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