By Tracey L. Walters (auth.)
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Additional resources for African American Literature and the Classicist Tradition: Black Women Writers from Wheatley to Morrison
As her title indicates, Richard Wilson’s series of Niobe paintings have been invoked to heighten the reader’s image of Niobe as the fallen victim. The influence of Wilson’s Niobe paintings is most visible toward the end of Wheatley’s poem. Wheatley features the gods descending from Heaven to shoot Niobe’s son: “With clouds incompass’d glorious Phoebus stands; / feather’d vengeance quiv’ring in his hands” (101). With this statement, Wheatley verbalizes an image present in Wilson’s painting. Another variation is the manner in which Wheatley portrays Niobe.
Lastly, HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF REPRESENTATIONS OF CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY 25 Orphic narratives mention that instead of Hecate helping Demeter find Persephone, Athena and Artemis assist Demeter in her search. The Persephone-Demeter myth becomes the prototype for all later Persephone stories. As Elizabeth Hayes notes, “the patterns, imagery, and symbols in this first narrative establish the basis for later recurrences. The myth, therefore, has to a certain extent been conflated with the archetype it animates” (Hayes 5).
H. Lawrence, to Hilda Doolittle, Gwendolyn 26 AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE AND THE CLASSICIST TRADITION Brooks, and Toni Morrison, have recast the Persephone and Demeter myth. A comparative reading of ancient versions alongside the modern adaptations by Brooks, Morrison, and Dove illustrate that the writers make subtle and overt allusions to versions of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and the Orphic texts. In Brooks’ In the Mecca, for example, as in the Orphic myth, Ms. Sallie ventures deep into the depths of hell where she discovers Pepita.
African American Literature and the Classicist Tradition: Black Women Writers from Wheatley to Morrison by Tracey L. Walters (auth.)