The Petrified Muse / Des poèmes latins sur la tristesse de perdre des enfants

Death – even death under particularly moving circumstances – is such a ubiquitous feature of the Latin verse inscriptions that it, at times, seems to cause a certain numbness in my brain (in addition to its regular numbness, that is).

From an unfeeling academic perspective, there are two things that are clear about a mother’s death in childbirth: first, it was a significantly more common occurrence in the ancient world than it is now in modern societies; secondly, for all its violently traumatic potential, death in childbirth is a prime recurrent motive of story-telling (ancient and modern) – providing a narrative that functions as a feminine counterpart to the theme of paternal abandonment.

From a caring, humane, and plain human perspective, of course, it is hard to think of a scenario in which the long-awaited joys of young parenthood and the sheer horrors of bereavement and helplessness would be intertwined to an even higher degree.

Lire l’article de Peter Kruschwitz sur Le blog ‘The Petrified Muse’

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