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The Heroine with 1001 Faces

The Heroine with 1001 Faces

by Maria Tatar
The Heroine with 1001 Faces

The Heroine with 1001 Faces

by Maria Tatar


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“A profound and heartfelt offering from Maria Tatar. . . . Her work suggests that the threads of the Greek fates, and of Penelope’s handiwork, so trickily woven by day and unraveled at night, are of the same clever substance as that from which the spider Charlotte weaves words into her miraculous web. This book, like Charlotte’s final web publication, is, simply stated: radiant.”
—Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and The Brides of Maracoor

“In Greek mythology, Philomela’s rapist cut out her tongue so that she wouldn’t expose him. Today’s assaulters rely on nondisclosure agreements, but their goal is the same: to silence women. . . . The Heroine with 1,001 Faces traces sources ancient and contemporary—from ancient mythology and The Thousand and One Nights to Charlotte’s Web and #MeToo—to demonstrate both the revolutionary power of women’s speech and the shocking ways in which its suppression is embedded in the very foundations of our culture.”
—Ruth Franklin, author of Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life

“This erudite and lively work mixes inventive reading of classic tales with a survey of modern heroines in books and movies. . . . Going forward, everyone from kindergarten teachers to movie moguls will have to have The Heroine with 1,001 Faces at hand before they begin their work.”
—Lewis Hyde, author of Trickster Makes This World

“Finally. We had to wait far too long for this book! And of course, Maria Tatar wrote it. . . . The Heroine with 1,001 Faces brings life, but she also weaves the yarns of fate and delivers death. Tatar knows where to find her behind all her masks.”
—Cornelia Funke, author of Inkheart

“In this volume, Maria Tatar draws on her decades of scholarship in mythology and folklore to reevaluate our notions of the concept of heroism to transcend gendered divisions. . . . A deeply personal and lively investigation.”
—Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631498817
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 09/14/2021
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 124,237
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Maria Tatar is the John L. Loeb Research Professor and a Senior Fellow at Harvard University. The editor of the Norton Critical Edition of The Classic Fairy Tales and The Annotated Brothers Grimm, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

1 "Sing, O Muse"

The Hero's Journey and the Heroine's Mission 1

2 Silence and Speech

From Myth to #MeToo 51

3 Resistance and Revelation

Storytelling and the Unsung Heroines of Fairy Tales 104

4 Wonder Girls

Curious Writers and Caring Detectives 151

5 Detective Work

From Nancy Drew to Wonder Woman 197

6 To Double Duty Bound

Tricksters and Other Girls on Fire 235


Lift-Off 275

Notes 291

Index 311

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