The Gardens of Adonis: Spices in Greek Mythology - Second Edition

The Gardens of Adonis: Spices in Greek Mythology - Second Edition

Paperback(Second edition with a New afterword by the author)

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Rich with implications for the history of sexuality, gender issues, and patterns of Hellenic literary imagining, Marcel Detienne's landmark book recasts long-standing ideas about the fertility myth of Adonis. The author challenges Sir James Frazer's thesis that the vegetation god Adonis-- whose premature death was mourned by women and whose resurrection marked a joyous occasion--represented the annual cycle of growth and decay in agriculture. Using the analytic tools of structuralism, Detienne shows instead that the festivals of Adonis depict a seductive but impotent and fruitless deity--whose physical ineptitude led to his death in a boar hunt, after which his body was found in a lettuce patch. Contrasting the festivals of Adonis with the solemn ones dedicated to Demeter, the goddess of grain, he reveals the former as a parody and negation of the institution of marriage.

Detienne considers the short-lived gardens that Athenian women planted in mockery for Adonis's festival, and explores the function of such vegetal matter as spices, mint, myrrh, cereal, and wet plants in religious practice and in a wide selection of myths. His inquiry exposes, among many things, attitudes toward sexual activities ranging from "perverse" acts to marital relations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691001043
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 04/24/1994
Series: Mythos: The Princeton/Bollingen Series in World Mythology , #66
Edition description: Second edition with a New afterword by the author
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Marcel Detienne is Gildersleeve Professor of Classics at Johns Hopkins University.

Table of Contents


Translator's Note

Foreword 1

Ch. 1 The Perfumes of Arabia 5

Ch. 2 The Spice Ox 37

Ch. 3 From Myrrh to Lettuce 60

Ch. 4 The Misfortunes of Mint 72

Ch. 5 The Seed of Adonis 99

Ch. 6 The Lettuce of Pythagoras 123

Afterword 133

Notes to the Text 147

Index 195

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