Cover of Mercedes Aguirre, Richard Buxton: Cyclops

Mercedes Aguirre, Richard Buxton Cyclops

The Myth and its Cultural History

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A Cyclops is popularly assumed to be nothing more than a flesh-eating, one-eyed monster. In an accessible, stylish, and academically authoritative investigation, this book seeks to demonstrate that there is far more to it than that - quite apart from the fact that in myths the Cyclopes are not always one-eyed!This book provides a detailed, innovative, and richly illustrated study of the myths relating to the Cyclopes from classical antiquity until the present day. The first part is organised thematically: after discussing various competing scholarly approaches to the myths, the authors analyse ancient accounts and images of the Cyclopes in relation to landscape, physique (especially eyes, monstrosity, and hairiness), lifestyle, gods, names, love, and song. While the man-eating Cyclops Polyphemus,famous already in the Odyssey, plays a major part, so also do the Cyclopes who did monumental building work, as well as those who toiled as blacksmiths. The second part of the book concentrates on the post-classical reception of the myths, including medieval allegory, Renaissance grottoes, poetry,drama, the visual arts, contemporary painting and sculpture, film, and even a circus performance. This book aims to explore not just the perennial appeal of the Cyclopes as fearsome monsters, but the depth and subtlety of their mythology which raises complex issues of thought and emotion.

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