Ovid's Myth of Pygmalion on Screen In Pursuit of the Perfect Woman

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-05-30
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
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Why has the myth of Pygmalion and his ivory statue proved so inspirational for writers, artists, philosophers, scientists, and directors and creators of films and television series? The 'authorised' version of the story appears in the epic poem of transformations, Metamorphoses, by the first-century CE Latin poet Ovid; in which the bard Orpheus narrates the legend of the sculptor king of Cyprus whose beautiful carved woman was brought to life by the goddess Venus.
Focusing on screen storylines with a Pygmalion subtext, from silent cinema to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lars and the Real Girl, this book looks at why and how the made-over or manufactured woman has survived through the centuries and what we can learn about this problematic model of 'perfection' from the perspective of the past and the present. Given the myriad representations of Ovid's myth, can we really make a modern text a tool of interpretation for an ancient poem? This book answers with a resounding 'yes' and explains why it is so important to give antiquity back its future.

Author Biography

Paula James is Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at The Open University, UK, and has published widely in Latin Literature and on the reception of classical motifs in popular culture. She has appeared on 'Women's Hour' on Radio 4 to talk about her previous book The Role of the Parrot in Selected Texts from Ovid to Jean Rhysand has also appeared on Radio 3's Greek and Roman Essay series, speaking on Cicero.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments \ Introduction \ 1. Ovid's Rich Text - Layers of identity in the Pygmalion myth \ 2. Tragic Transformations: Making and breaking the statue on screen \ 3. Romancing the Stone: The made-over woman as comedy \ 4. She was Venus all along: The statue as screen goddess \ 5. Pygmalion's robots - The horror and the humour \ 6. Bathos and Pathos - A simulacrum among simulacra \ 7. Virtually Perfect: Hi and lo tech gals of the computer age \ 8. More Myth Making at the Movies \ Appendix: Ovid's Pygmalion \ Bibliography \ Filmography \ Index

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