Since the 1970s, the topic of feminist adaptations of Greco-Roman mythology has been dominated by narratives of revision and retelling from the perspective of female characters, including—via Hélène Cixous—Medusa as a creative muse for women’s writing. Pairing the modernist US poet Louise Bogan’s 1921 lyric “Medusa” with Ovid’s Metamorphoses, this essay asks what modes of women’s engagement with myth have been left out or undertheorized in the wake of feminist critics’ investment in narratives of reclaimed voice. Instead of being a prosopopoeia in which the imagined woman speaks, Bogan’s Medusa is a metonymic figure—the ancient Gorgoneion mask that preceded the woman in myth—whose silent rhetorical force dislodges a literary history of petrified gender relations first consolidated in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. By rethinking Ovidian mythological figures in Bogan’s “Medusa” and related twentieth-century poems by US women writers, this essay identifies alternative modes of feminist revisionist mythmaking.

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