Mothers and Daughters: An Exploratory Look into Dora Greenwell’s Revisions of Persephone

Dorota Osińska


The Greek myth about Persephone remains a powerful narrative of mother-daughter symbiosis and their connection functions as one of the fundamental themes in the literature of the nineteenth century. Few researchers have addressed the problem of representing Persephone in Victorian poetry, focusing on the importance of myth in cultural criticism and the intersection of feminism and revisionism. The following article explores how the mid-Victorian revisions of Persephone serve as a tool of recognition of the challenges that marriage may pose for feminine ties. I specifically concentrate on two poems by the English poet Dora Greenwell – “Demeter and Cora” and “The Garden of Proserpine” – published in 1869. Taking into account psychological studies on familial bonds as well as the psychoanalytic and archetypical reading of the mother-daughter interactions, I offer a detailed investigation of Greenwell’s works that discuss “the fluctuations of symbiosis and separation” (Hirsch 1989, 20). Greenwell reworks the myth of Demeter and Persephone to reflect upon the ever-changing relationship between mothers and daughters as well as to investigate the moment of individual maturation of a married daughter.


Victorian poetry; mother-daughter relationship; Persephone; revision; nineteenth century; Dora Greenwell

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Data publikacji: 2022-12-28 14:59:57
Data złożenia artykułu: 2021-12-17 14:48:43


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