Half Title, Further Titles, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the American Council of Learned Societies for providing me with a grant that enabled the completion of the book; and to acknowledge the contribution the following made to this study: ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

The oldest and most complete extant version of the ancient Demeter-Persephone myth is the Homeric hymn "To Demeter," which is believed to date from the seventh century B.C. The Eleusinian mystery religion, of which this myth is the central text, dates back to the Early Mycenaean period (1580-1500 B.C.). ...

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1. Demeter’s Garden Destroyed

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pp. 9-30

What Evelina destroyed that night, metaphorically, was the greenworld bower of the nineteenth-century women's community. Marginal, segregated, male-less, a Demeter-Diana world of romantic friendship, it sustained a women's culture and provided the social basis for the primary female literary traditions of the time, domestic sentimentalism and local-color realism. ...

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2. Nan Prince and the Golden Apples

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pp. 31-42

On the Thacher homestead, where Adeline Thacher Prince and her infant daughter, Nan, arrive exhausted one November evening — the opening scene of Sarah Orne Jewett's novel A Country Doctor (1884) — there is a golden apple tree.1 The apple tree is, of course, associated with the Garden of Eden in Judeo-Christian myth,2 ...

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3. Edith Wharton and the Pomegranate Seed

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pp. 43-84

In her unpublished autobiographical fragment, "Life and I," probably written in the early 1920s, Edith Wharton compares her childhood enthrallment with words to Persephone's consumption of the pomegranate seed.1 In the ancient myth Persephone's eating of the forbidden fruit (symbolically, of knowledge) is an irrevocable, transformative act ...

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4. Willa Cather: The Daughter in Exile

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pp. 85-128

As in the works of Edith Wharton and Ellen Glasgow, her sister realists in the early twentieth century, there is a pervasive sense of a fall in the fiction of Willa Cather. Despite her reputation for romantic descriptions of nature — especially of the Great Plains — more often than not the picture Cather gives of the prairie is of a place of exile, barren, bleak, soul-destroying. ...

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5. Ellen Glasgow: Beyond Barren Ground

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pp. 129-154

The works of Ellen Glasgow transcribe a fall from the world of the mother's gardens, which is presented for the most part negatively as a cloistered hothouse where ignorance and "evasive idealism" hold sway, to a Darwinistic social jungle that is governed by the laws of heterosexist commerce based upon the exchange of women.1 ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 155-160

The Demeter-Persephone myth is the literary means by which Wharton, Cather, and Glasgow chose to mediate the historical shift in ideology — the revaluation of the masculine and denigration of the feminine — described in chapter 1. As such, it has political significance. ...

Appendix I: The Demeter-Persephone Myth in Virginia Woolf and Colette

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pp. 161-164

Appendix II: Demeter as Absent Referent

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pp. 165-168

Notes

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pp. 169-184

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 185-188

Index

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pp. 189-198