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Becoming Achilles : child-sacrifice, war, and misrule in the Iliad and beyond

Author: Richard Holway
Publisher: Lanham, MD : Lexington Books, 2011.
Series: Greek studies: interdisciplinary approaches
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Viewing the Iliad and myth through the lens of modern psychology, in Becoming Achilles: Child-Sacrifice, War, and Misrule in the lliad and Beyond Richard Holway shows how the epic underwrites individual and communal catharsis and denial. Sacrificial childrearing generates but also threatens agonistic, glory-seeking ancient Greek cultures. Not only aggression but knowledge of sacrificial parenting must be purged.  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Additional Physical Format: (DLC) 2011028638
Named Person: Homer.
Material Type: Document
Document Type: Book, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Richard Holway
ISBN: 0739146920 9780739146927 9786613320469 6613320463
OCLC Number: 1053114130
Description: 1 online resource (xiv, 255 pages).
Contents: The quarrel --
Heroic psychology --
Mythobiographies --
Catharsis and denial --
Fathers and sons --
Mothers and sons --
Departures from maternal agendas --
Self in crisis.
Series Title: Greek studies: interdisciplinary approaches
Responsibility: Richard Holway.

Abstract:

Viewing the Iliad and myth through the lens of modern psychology, in Becoming Achilles: Child-Sacrifice, War, and Misrule in the lliad and Beyond Richard Holway shows how the epic underwrites individual and communal catharsis and denial. Sacrificial childrearing generates but also threatens agonistic, glory-seeking ancient Greek cultures. Not only aggression but knowledge of sacrificial parenting must be purged. Just as Zeus contrives to have threats to his regime play out harmlessly (to him) in the mortal realm, so the Iliad dramatizes threats to Archaic and later Greek cultures in the safe arena of poetic performance. The epic represents in displaced form destructive mother-son and father-daughter liaisons and resulting strifewithin and between generations. Holway calls into question the Iliad's (and many scholars') presentation of Achilles as a hero who speaks truth to power, learns through suffering, and exemplifies kingly virtues that Agamemnon lacks. So too the Iliad's cathartic process, whether conceived as purging innate aggression or arriving at moral clarity. Instead, Holway argues, Achilles (and Socrates) try to prove they are unlike needy, defenseless children, who fear to acknowledge, much less speak out against, parents' use of them to meet parents' needs. What emerges from Holway's analysis is not only a new reading of the Iliad, from its first word to its last, but a revised account of the family dynamics underlying ancient Greek cultures.

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