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Abandoned Women and Poetic Tradition

At the heart of poetic tradition is a figure of abandonment, a woman forsaken and out of control. She appears in writings ancient and modern, in the East and the West, in high art and popular culture produced by women and by men. What accounts for her perennial fascination? What is her function—in poems and for writers? Lawrence Lipking suggests many possibilities. In this figure he finds a partial record of women’s experience, an instrument for the expression of religious love and yearning, a voice for psychological fears, and, finally, a model for the poet. Abandoned women inspire new ways of reading poems and poetic tradition.

327 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1988

Women in Culture and Society

Women's Studies

Table of Contents

Series Editor’s Foreword
Preface
Introduction
1. Ariadne at the Wedding: Abandoned Women and Poetic Tradition
2. Lord Byron’s Secret: The School of Abandonment
3. Sappho Descending: Abandonment through the Ages
4. Sappho Descending: Abandonment to the Present
5. The Rape of the Sibyl: Male Poets and Abandoned Women
6. "Could I be like her?" The Example of Women Alone
7. Aristotle’s Sister: A Poetics of Abandonment
Notes and Glosses
Index

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