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Adventure Art Classics Drama Essay Historical Fiction Humanities Social Sciences Theater/Play Theory

The Transvestite Achilles: Gender and Genre in Statius’ Achilleid

By P. J. Heslin, Peter Joseph Heslin, 2005

As we follow Achilles’ metamorphosis from wild boy to demure girl to lover to hero, Statius brilliantly illustrates a series of contrasting codes of behavior: male and female, epic and elegiac. This first full-length study of the poem addresses not only the narrative itself, but also sets the myth of Achilles on Scyros within a broad interpretive framework. The exploration ranges from the reception of the Achilleid in Baroque opera to the anthropological parallels that have emerged to explain Achilles’ transvestism.

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