Orpheus, Byblis, Myrrha: Towards a Matrixial Ethics of Encounter in Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article re-reads the stories of Eurydice, Byblis and Myrrha in Ovid’s Metamor-phoses alongside the art and critical thought of the Israeli-born artist and psychoana-lyst Bracha Ettinger (b. 1948). In her work, Ettinger seeks to escape the exclusivity of ‘either/or’ engagements in previous discourses defining the male and the female and valorizes co-emergence in identities and genders. In her view, gender/subjecthood is not fixed but is in continuous engagement, forming a subject position incorporating in an ever-evolving togetherness of I and non-I (terms that Ettinger prefers as they show an inextricable bond between Self and Other). Ettinger’s engagement with Ovid is indirect. She engages with Eurydice in a series of c. 50 paintings, gradually pro-duced (and reproduced) since c. 1990. Although I engage with her Eurydice paint-ings in Part I, alongside the Ovidian retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice story, it is some of her key psychoanalytical writings (rather than her paintings) that I deploy in my new readings of Byblis and Myrrha stories/characters in Parts II and III.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-432
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of the Classical Tradition
Early online date7 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Cite this