Focuses on the role played by the feminine principle in specific religious texts, epic poems, theater pieces, and tales narrating sacred events in which deities and supernatural or extraordinary beings move through their difficult celestial and earthly trajectories.
Women, Myth, and the Feminine Principle focuses on the role played by women in specific religious texts, epic poems, theater pieces, and tales narrating sacred events in which Deities and supernatural or extraordinary beings move through their difficult celestial and earthly trajectories.
This is a companion volume to Bettina L. Knapp's Women in Myth and it includes chapters dedicated to the study of two works that have never been broached before, the Tibetan myth Gesar of Ling and the Guatemalan sacred text, the Popul Vuh.
The book begins by probing the "Divine Feminine" in Tibet's Gesar of Ling, one of the most fascinating myths of all time. Especially intriguing is the hero's seemingly continuous dependency on the feminine principle for guidance. The heroine in Kalidasa's Sanskrit drama, Sakuntala focuses on the obstacles set in Sakuntala's earthly trajectory, and how these were instrumental in her evolution from the stage of passive, unconscious, and withdrawn archetypal Maiden to that of the conscious, decisive, strong spiritual Mother. To explore the highly complex personalities of Kriemhild and Brunhild in the High German Nibe-lungenlied is to enter the realm of sun and shadow, the lightened regions of consciousness and the deep interiors of primal darkness. Quiche Mayas's Popul Vuh introduces a primordial couple as active participants in the creation of humankind while Racine's Phaedra projects the dramatist's own gnawing religious conflicts onto his mythical heroine: questions of guilt, remorse, anguish, and fatality/predestination. Yeats's Irish/Celtic feminist and heroine, Deirdre, underscores her inner strength, fortitude, and courage in the face of death while I. B. Singer's "Yentl the Yeshivah Boy" depicts the struggle confronting a young girl from an orthodox Polish Jewish family as she attempts to break out of an ultrapatriarchal society.
Bettina L. Knapp is Professor, Department of Romance Languages, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her past work includes numerous books, among them Women in Myth, also published by SUNY Press.
"It is at once an extraordinary piece of highly diversified scholarship and an excellent critical reading of major literary works read for their intrinsic pertinence. To read this book is truly to plunge into the dazzling and awesome realm of our collective mythical yet real imagination, our swarming psyche of light and darkness." -- Michael Bishop, Dalhousie University
"Knapp's book is situated at the crossroads of women's studies, literary analysis, the history of mythology, and the history of religion. I am impressed by the daring and breadth of this undertaking." -- Susan Dunn, Williams College