An autumnal underworld: Louise Glück’s Averno

Hurst, Isobel. 2022. An autumnal underworld: Louise Glück’s Averno. Letteratura e Letterature, 16, pp. 75-85. ISSN 1971-906X [Article]

gluck averno.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (284kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

The overarching myth in Louise Glück’s Averno (2006) is that of Persephone and her mother Demeter. Persephone is abruptly seized by the god of death and taken to the underworld as his bride, and later permitted to return to the earth for only part of the year. Averno’s framing of the seasons recalls the shape of the academic year, in which autumn marks a new beginning. Autumn is also associated with trauma and injury through allusions to 9/11. Analysing existing versions of the myth and their interpretations, various speakers question the powerlessness of the daughter in the myth of Persephone, disrupting
the more harmonious version of that relationship as depicted in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter in a way that resembles Ovid’s antagonism to Demeter in the Metamorphoses. Although the vexed relationship of mother and daughter remains central to Glück’s readings of the myth, she also questions who has the power to create and control narratives and how they may be distorted by previous interpretations

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI): / 202209801006

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


14 March 2022Accepted
May 2022Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

15 Mar 2022 09:27

Last Modified:

14 May 2022 06:55

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)