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The ancient Athenians were "quarrelsome as friends, treacherous as neighbors, brutal as masters, faithless as servants, shallow as lovers--all of which was in part redeemed by their intelligence and creativity." Thus writes Philip Slater in this classic work on narcissism and family relationships in fifth-century Athenian society. Exploring a rich corpus of Greek mythology and drama, he argues that the personalities and social behavior of the gods were neurotic, and that their neurotic conditions must have mirrored the family life of the people who perpetuated their myths. The author traces the issue of narcissism to mother-son relationships, focusing primarily on the literary representation of Hera and the male gods and showing how it related to devalued women raising boys in an ambitious society dominated by men. "The role of homosexuality in society, fatherless families, working mothers, women's status, and violence, male pride, and male bonding--all these find their place in Slater's analysis, so honestly and carefully addressed that we see our own societal dilemmas reflected in archaic mythic narratives all the more clearly."--Richard P. Martin, Princeton University

Originally published in 1992.

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Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-xxvi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xxvii-xviii
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  1. Part 1 : Origins and Consequences
  2. pp. 1-2
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  1. 1. The Greek Mother-Son Relationship: Origins and Consequences
  2. pp. 3-74
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  1. 2. Symbols, the Serpent, and the Oral-Narcissistic Dilemma
  2. pp. 75-122
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  1. Part 2 : Mythical Defenses Against the Maternal Threat
  2. pp. 123-124
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  1. 3. Sexual Dominance: Zeus
  2. pp. 125-136
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  1. 4. Masculine Antisepsis: Apollo
  2. pp. 137-160
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  1. 5. Matricide: Orestes
  2. pp. 161-192
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  1. 6. Self-Emasculation: Hephaestus
  2. pp. 193-209
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  1. 7. Identification with the Aggressor: Dionysus I, The Ritual
  2. pp. 210-229
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  1. 8. Identification with the Aggressor: Dionysus II, The Attack in the Womb
  2. pp. 230-263
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  1. 9. Identification with the Aggressor: Dionysus III, The Attack on the Neonate
  2. pp. 264-284
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  1. 10. Identification with the Aggressor: Dionysus IV, The Attack on the Mature God
  2. pp. 285-307
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  1. 11. Maternal De-Sexualization: Perseus
  2. pp. 308-336
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  1. 12. The Multiple Defenses of Heracles
  2. pp. 337-396
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  1. Part 3 : Quantifications, Generalizations, and Implications
  2. pp. 397-398
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  1. 13. Familial Emphases in Greek Myth: A Statistical Analysis
  2. pp. 399-409
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  1. 14. A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Maternal Ambivalence and Narcissism
  2. pp. 410-439
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  1. 15. Cultural Pathology and Cultural Development
  2. pp. 440-466
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  1. Appendixes
  2. p. 467
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  1. Appendix I: Aggression in Parent-Child Dyads in Apollodorus
  2. pp. 468-469
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  1. Appendix II: Greek Madness
  2. p. 470
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  1. Appendix III: Family Dyads in Greek Drama
  2. pp. 471-473
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  1. Appendix IV: Narcissism Codes
  2. pp. 474-480
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 481-502
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 503-513
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  1. Series Page
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400862818
MARC Record
OCLC
889252690
Pages
544
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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