The latter is perhaps best expressed in Ovid's vivid rendering of the contest between Minerva (Athena) and Arachne
, a mortal "whose skill in spinning [...] was earning no less admiration than that of Minerva herself" (134) and who was transformed into a spider by the goddess.
As my own contribution to this volume on Juana Ines de la Cruz's minor forms of writing, I would like to think through weaving figures with her and about her, as alternatives to the mythologeme of Penelope, or the exceptional Arachne
Lenk is being literal: Playing Arachne
, the show's magical spider-woman, she was suspended in a gigantic web throughout.
Further research led me to Oppenheim's collection of photographs in an online archive, the Arachne
database at Cologne University.
as a graduate sociology student, and Arachne
as a bus driver.
Thus this volume gives us Zeus and Europa, Perseus and Medusa, Theseus and Ariadne, Hades and Persephone, Athena and Arachne
and, finally, Daedalus and Icarus.
Deucalion is just one of many artists Ovid shows transforming and animating materials in new ways: Pygmalion, Orpheus, Arachne
, Marsyas ...
In an image inspired by Ovid's Metamorphoses, the mortal weaver Arachne
challenged the goddess to a tapestry-weaving contest, which resulted in a tie.
The very few experimental writers in another vein than the realistic, such as those in the magazines Hilltop and Arachne
, have obviously suffered from a lack of solid beams from which to spin their insubstantial webs....
The Babylonians, the Greeks and later the Romans all used sundials--the hemicyclium, the arachne
, the antiboreum--but come a cloudy day, these were just clever paperweights.
In Cervantes's simile, translation is "like looking at Flemish tapestries from the wrong side, for although the figures are visible, they are covered by threads that obscure them, and cannot be seen with the smoothness and color of the right side." Kathryn Vomero Santos unpicks this old simile in '"The knots within': Translations, Tapestries, and the Art of Reading Backwards." Bringing knowledge of early modern textiles, Santos explains that "Renaissance tapestries were actually woven from behind, thus making the 'knottie wrong-side' the site of their creation rather than a symbol of secondary imperfection." The tapestry simile first reminds us of the old connection between textiles and texts, found in the Arachne
myth and in the Latin etymon, texere, to weave.
Perhaps an even more archetypical representation of the act of speaking truth to power involves another Ovidian character who, like Philomela, communicated through images: Ovid's Arachne
used the art of weaving to disclose the abuses of the gods in a contest against Minerva, the goddess of needlework, wisdom, and warfare.