By Almut-Barbara Renger
While Oedipus met the Sphinx at the highway to Thebes, he did greater than resolution a riddle—he spawned a fable that, informed and retold, might turn into one in all Western culture’s important narratives approximately self-understanding. deciding upon the tale as a threshold myth—in which the hero crosses over into an unknown and hazardous realm the place principles and bounds are usually not known—Oedipus and the Sphinx offers a clean account of this mythic come upon and the way it bargains with the ideas of liminality and otherness.
Almut-Barbara Renger assesses the story’s meanings and features in classical antiquity—from its presence in old vase portray to its absence in Sophocles’s tragedy—before arriving at of its significant reworkings in ecu modernity: the psychoanalytic concept of Sigmund Freud and the poetics of Jean Cocteau. via her readings, she highlights the ambiguous prestige of the Sphinx and divulges Oedipus himself to be a liminal creature, delivering key insights into Sophocles’s portrayal and developing a theoretical framework that organizes reviews of the myth’s reception within the 20th century. Revealing the narrative of Oedipus and the Sphinx to be the very paradigm of a key transition skilled by means of all of humankind, Renger situates fantasy among the competing claims of technology and paintings in an engagement that has vital implications for present debates in literary reports, psychoanalytic idea, cultural heritage, and aesthetics.
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Extra info for Oedipus and the Sphinx: The Threshold Myth from Sophocles through Freud to Cocteau
Forty. Sen. Oed. 92–102: “nec Sphinga caecis verba nectentem modis / fugi: cruentos vatis infandae tuli / rictus et albens ossibus sparsis solum; / cumque e superna rupe iam praedae imminens / aptaret unfortunately verbera et caudae movens / saevi leonis extra conciperet minas, / carmen poposci: sonuit horrendum insuper, / crepuere malae, saxaque impatiens morae / revulsit unguis viscera expectans mea; / nodosa sortis verba et implexos dolos / ac triste carmen alitis solvi ferae. ” “Even while dealing with the Sphinx, who strings her phrases jointly within the darkest of how, i didn't ﬂee. i've got deﬁed the bloody vengeance of that ghastly seer, and stood upright upon the floor, shimmering white with strewn bones; and as she shouted out threats like a ﬁerce lion, her wings outstretched on the prepared, the whip of her tail in movement, mendacity in wait to ambush her prey from atop the excessive cli∏, there after which did I call for to listen to her riddle: nightmarishly did she allow it resound above me, her jaws gnashing, and, su∏ering no hesitation, tore her claws from the cli∏, slavering for my innards. I unraveled the serpentine phrases and all the interwoven guile of the doom pronouncement of the winged beast, to ﬁnd the hidden answer. ” forty-one. Gérard Genette, Palimpsests: Literature within the moment measure, trans. C. Newman and C. Doubinsky (Lincoln, 1997). forty two. a variety of of reports have seemed in this subject. specially beneficial between them are W. Brach, Der Œdipe von Corneille und der des Voltaire, verglichen mit dem Oedipus Rex des Sophokles (Diss. , Marburg an der Lahn, 1914); W. Jördens, Die französischen Ödipusdramen: Ein Beitrag zum Fortleben der Antike und zur Geschichte der französischen Tragödie (Bochum, 1933); M. Mueller, young ones of Oedipus and different Essays at the Imitation of Greek Tragedy, 1550–1800 (Toronto, 1980), 105–152. a quick, n o tes to pag e s 21– 22 ninety seven summary rendering (of Sophocles, Seneca, medieval assets, Corneille, Voltaire, Platen, Hofmannsthal, and Cocteau) are available in W. Koﬂer and M. Korenjak, “Der literarische Ödipus: Ein Streifzug von der Antike bis Cocteau,” 70–73. On Corneille’s remedy of this fabric, the next are steered: W. H. Friedrich, “Ein Ödipus mit gutem Gewissen: Über Corneilles Œdipe,” in Friedrich, Vorbild und Neugestaltung: Sechs Kapitel zur Geschichte der Tragödie (Göttingen, 1967), 112–139; P. A. Ogundele, “The Oedipus tale within the arms of Sophocles, Seneca and Corneille,” Nigeria and the Classics 12 (1970), 31–51; on Voltaire’s remedy: P. VidalNaquet, “Œdipe à Vicence et à Paris: Deux moments d’une histoire,” Quaderni di storia 14 (1981), 3–21 (ANOVA evaluate with different variants of the eighteenth century). forty three. Œdipe 247f. ; quoted from Corneille, Œuvres complètes (Bibliothèque de l. a. Pléiade): Textes établis, présentés et annotés, ed. G. Couton (Paris, 1987), vol. three, 13–93 (Œdipe), right here 31. forty four. The scholarship has comprehensively investigated the comparisons to be drawn among Oedipus the King and los angeles computer infernale by way of repeated constructions and content material.