Orpheus and Eurydice

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The tripartite themes that we now associate with Orpheus are themselves discrete fragments of scattered stories that the reception of Orpheus has seen re-assimilated and re-assembled since antiquity, with different parts overlooked and with others picked up and placed in different positions of prominence at different times. This chapter seeks to piece together some of the scattered fragments of this myth from different dates in its reception, focusing upon moments of schism, of mutilation and sparagmos. Directly inspired by Frederick Leighton's 1864 painting Orpheus and Eurydice, Robert Browning's 1864 short poem “Eurydice to Orpheus” presents a reconstructed narrative fragment from the Orpheus myth, in which the silent Eurydice represented in Leighton's painting finds her own poetic voice. As with Bracha Ettinger's paintings, the sequence of organic creation described in Rachel DuPlessis' poem reminds us to look back for the “seeds of Eurydice” in earlier receptions of the myth too.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Handbook to the Reception of Classical Mythology
EditorsVanda Zajko, Helena Hoyle
Place of PublicationHoboken, NJ, USA
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781119072034
ISBN (Print)9781444339604
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2017

Structured keywords

  • Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition


  • Ettinger's paintings
  • Eurydice myth
  • mutilation
  • narrative fragment
  • Orpheus myth
  • scattered stories
  • schism


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