Greek Myths of Metamorphosis
An illustrated study of a number of Greek myths about the transformations of humans and gods. Richard Buxton poses the question of how seriously the Greeks took these tales, and in doing so also illuminates issues explored by anthropologists and students of religion.
Forms of Astonishment sets out to interpret a number of Greek myths about the transformations of humans and gods. Such tales have become familiar in their Ovidian dress, as in the best-selling translation by Ted Hughes; Richard Buxton explores their Greek antecedents. One pressing question which often occurs to the reader of these tales is: Did the Greeks take them seriously? Buxton repeatedly engages with this topic, and attempts to answer it context by context and author by author. His book raises issues relevant to an understanding of broad aspects of Greek culture (e.g. how 'strange' were Greek beliefs?'); in so doing, it also illuminates issues explored by anthropologists and students of religion.
Introduction; 1. NARRATIVES AND THEIR CONTEXTS; 1. The Odyssey; 2. Athenian drama; 3. Visual arts; 4. Hellenistic transformations; 5. Post-Hellenistic narratives; 2. THE LOGIC OF TRANSFORMATION; 6. Shapes of the gods; 7. The human aetiology of landscape; 8. Plants, trees, and human form; 9. Challenges to the metamorphic tradition; 10. Final thoughts on contexts