cover image Heroines: Demigoddess, Prima Donna, Movie Star

Heroines: Demigoddess, Prima Donna, Movie Star

Norma Lorre Goodrich. HarperCollins Publishers, $23 (282pp) ISBN 978-0-06-016995-4

This remarkable sourcebook profiles scores of heroines of ancient myth or history and traces their reappearance in new guises in fiction from Tolstoy to D. H. Lawrence, as well as in opera, film and the theater. Some, like Medea and Medusa, priestesses armed with magic, flout their societies' rules and customs. Other die tragically, like Madame Emma Bovary and Greta Garbo's Camille , the latter based on a play by Alexandre Dumas fils, who modeled his prostitute heroine after the Greek courtesan Phryne. Still other heroines take revenge upon men, like the Byzantine Empress Theodora, who was raped and prostituted since childhood. Feminist historian Goodrich ( The Holy Grail ) spotlights a diverse gallery of lovers, warriors, mothers, earth goddesses, witches, Amazons, legendary good women and other models for modern women to ponder as they strive to overcome victimization, self-sacrifice, sexism and conformity. (Aug.)