Abstract

Charles W. Chesnutt’s literary criticism is silent on his engagement with the classical myths of Greco-Roman antiquity, but his journals, essays, speeches, marginalia, and short fiction are not. The antebellum Southern settings and gothic plots in The Conjure Woman revise myths from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In this study, I amend prevailing Ovidian theories about the mythological substrates of “The Goophered Grapevine” and “Po’ Sandy.” I argue that “The Goophered Grapevine” is a fusion of “Transformation of the Maenads” and “The Rape of Persephone” while “Po’ Sandy” is a revision of an ancient Egyptian myth called “Of Isis and Osiris.”

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-6182
Print ISSN
1062-4783
Pages
pp. 361-383
Launched on MUSE
2016-12-19
Open Access
No
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