UST's Dr. Lorina Quartarone to speak at Feminist Friday event tomorrow

UST’s Dr. Lorina Quartarone to speak at Feminist Friday event tomorrow

The next Feminist Friday event hosted by the Luann Dummer Center for Women will be held from 12:15 to 1 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 10, in the center, Room 103, O’Shaughnessy Educational Center.

Dr. Lorina Quartarone, Modern and Classical Languages Department, will speak on “Our Bodies, Not Ourselves: Rape and the Silenced Female Voice in Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses.’ ”

This talk is free and open to the public. Bring your lunch; dessert and beverages will be provided.

For information, contact the center, (651) 962-6119.


Everyone loves a good story. The Roman poet Ovid loved good stories so much that he compiled an encyclopedic collection of Greek and Roman myths in his epic poem, the “Metamorphoses.” In this lengthy work, Ovid tells many stories of transformation (Daphne into a tree, Io into a cow, et al.) that begin with an attempted (and often completed) rape.

Quartarone’s first contribution to understanding Ovid’s poetry is the observation that he alters the traditional stories that he is retelling to suit his own purposes. Even a cursory look at a few of these tales reveals that Ovid employs a repeated narrative sequence: the establishment of the rape victim’s devotion to virginity, her flight from an unwanted pursuer, her transformation and her silence.

Furthermore, Ovid typically devotes prolonged and detailed attention to the victim’s loss of the power of speech, a feature that Quartarone believes indicates that this event is a critical element of a woman’s experience. She suggests that Ovid routinely employs this pattern to illustrate the climate in his contemporary society: The stories all depict females who consciously choose a life of celibacy and males who impose their wills on these women and effectively extinguish their ability to choose. Ovid thus demonstrates that his society may ostensibly offer women the freedom to have control over their bodies and reproductive rights but in actuality does not.

During this presentation, Quartarone will bring in textual excerpts and examine them with the audience, demonstrating moments where Ovid deviates from the traditional stories, how he focuses on the victim’s loss of speech, and suggesting ways for us to interpret his presentation of these stories.