Atalanta, The Soul of Atlanta?

Rewriting Ovid in W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk (1903)
  • Irenae A. AigbedionEmail author

Upon a first reading of W. E. B. Du Bois’s ‘Of the Wings of Atalanta’, a mobilization of the myth of Atalanta as a means to reflect on the state of affairs in Georgia at the turn of the twentieth century, it is difficult to say precisely from which classical texts Du Bois is drawing. There is a contamination of sources within his short text, a predilection for variation in a manner not unlike that of a learned classical poet. On the one hand, it is clear that the tale of Atalanta from Book Ten of Ovid’s Metamorphosesis a key source for Du Bois’s rendition of the myth. On the other hand, we can emphasize the word ‘rendition’, as Du Bois does not simply recount a single version of the myth but creates his own, rewriting even the Ovidian text upon which he primarily relies. By not explicitly naming his sources or explaining his objectives in this particular engagement with the classical tradition, Du Bois encourages his readers to search for links themselves and to explore what Lorna...



I offer my deepest gratitude to Stephen Wheeler, whose mentorship and guidance were essential in developing this topic from a seminar paper, to a conference presentation at the 147th AIA/SCS Annual Joint Meeting, and finally to the present work.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Penn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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