The Medieval Medea

September 1996
7 black and white illustrations
290 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9780859914598
Format: Hardback

The Medieval Medea

Ruth Morse

Wide-ranging study of the myth of Medea, concentrating on but not exclusively confined to its medieval incarnation.
The legends of Jason and Medea illustrate how disparate and sometimes contradictory stories were combined in the creation of the first secular princely quest, how that quest functioned as a benchmark of western chronology, and how that in turn assured the stories' position as part of the legends of Troy. The innovations of Euripides and Apollonius were imitated throughout Antiquity, and examples of murderous mothers illustrated the lethal disruptions of which women could be capable. For many medieval authors — Dante, Chaucer, Boccaccio, Gower, Christine de Pizan and others —the problem of a hero who betrays his oath and a heroine who murders and escapes offered insoluble and tragic subjects. This study discusses how the legends contribute not only to ideas of history, but also to conceptions of the power and ruthlessness of women.
RUTH MORSE is Professeur des Universités at UniversitéParis VII.


Covers its announced topic, and much more besides, with admirable thoroughness and acumen. JOURNAL OF ENGLISH AND GERMANIC PHILOLOGY