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Myths of the Underworld in Contemporary CultureThe Backward Gaze$
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Judith Fletcher

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198767091

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767091.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Myths of the Underworld in Contemporary Culture

Judith Fletcher

Oxford University Press

The Introduction situates the myth of the descent to the underworld (catabasis) in a broad historical context beginning with Ancient Near East traditions, including the Sumerian poem preserved in cuneiform, “The Descent of Inanna,” and extending to medieval treatments such as “The Visions of the Knight Tondal”, and those of the early modern period. It includes a survey of other scholarly treatments of the underworld theme in recent literature. A brief overview of the volume explains how it fills a gap in the scholarship by focusing on the adaptation of the theme of a visit to Hades in postmodern, feminist, and postcolonial fiction.

Keywords:   descent to underworld, catabasis, postmodern underworlds, ferryman of the dead, underworld traditions

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