Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Literary Criticism Ancient & Classical

Maternal Conceptions in Classical Literature and Philosophy

by (author) Alison Sharrock & Alison Keith

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2020
Ancient & Classical, Gender Studies, Egypt
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jan 2020
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2020
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Unlike many studies of the family in the ancient world, this volume presents readings of mothers in classical literature, including philosophical and epigraphic writing as well as poetic texts. Rather than relying on a male viewpoint, the essays offer a female perspective on the lifecycle of motherhood. 


Although almost all ancient authors are men, this book nevertheless aims to carefully unpack the role of the mother – not as projected by the son or other male relations, but from a woman’s own experiences – in order to better understand how they perceived themselves and their families. Because the primary interest is in the mothers themselves, rather than the authors of the texts in which they appear, the work is organized according to the lifecycle of motherhood instead of the traditional structure of the chronology of male authors. The chronology of the male authors ranges from classical Greece to late antiquity, while the motherly lifecycle ranges from pre-conception to the commemoration of offspring who have died before their mothers.

About the authors

Alison Sharrock is a professor in the Department of Classics, Ancient History, Archaeology, and Egyptology at the University of Manchester.

Alison Sharrock's profile page

Alison Keith is a professor of classics, comparative literature, medieval studies, and women and gender studies at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Engendering Rome: Women in Latin Epic.

Alison Keith's profile page

Other titles by Alison Keith