Chapter

Ruth Fainlight

Lorna Hardwick and James I. Porter

in Sibylline Sisters

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199582969
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731198 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582969.003.0003

Series: Classical Presences

Ruth Fainlight

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Through the Sibyl, Ruth Fainlight probes her identity as a Jewish daughter and as a woman poet. Through her invocation of the Sibyl she saturates her work with Virgilian allusion. In her hands Virgil sings, as he has always sung, of mourning, and of losses that are both personal and historical. Her Sibyls are both political and domestic. But, through a process of echo and allusion, he also sings here, perhaps for the first time, of a woman's grief at the loss of her youthful beauty, of the disintegration of her body. Fainlight's poetry is intensely private and is deeply personal. And in this blend of such intimate detail and a more generalized sense of loss and of exile, Fainlight confirms the pattern for Virgil's journey through the work of contemporary women writers.

Keywords: Virgil; women writers; contemporary women poets; women's poetry; Sibyl; Virgilian allusion

Chapter.  7088 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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