The myth of Orpheus, shaman and teacher, musician and lover, is the subject of this book. It brings together the work of scholars from a variety of disciplines to present a conspectus of the myth's career, to show how it grows and changes to meet changing demands -- always different, yet always the same.
Early Greek evidence for the Orpheus myth and a speculative explanation of its origins are offered along with chapters on the treatments of the myth by Virgil and Ovid, on Orpheus and Christianity, and on the allegorizing treatment of Orpheus which characterizes the Middle Ages. Orpheus in the Renaissance is studied in the work of the philosopher Marsilio Ficino; in Italian art from 1400 to 1600; in operas by Peri and Monteverdi; in a religious allegorical play by Calderon; and in the writings of Spenser, Milton, and Bacon.
The Orpheus myth has been crucial in the defining of a culture. Its history demonstrates effectively the persistence and plasticity of myth.
About the author
JOHN WARDEN is a member of the department of Classics at the University of Toronto. He is author of Fallax opus: Poet and Reader in the Elegies of Propertius.