Research paper

Classical Myth and Margaret Mahy's Young Adult Fiction

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This item is a research paper. It was created by Pohl, Michael on or around the date 2010.

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This thesis investigates the importance of classical myth in the young adult fiction of Margaret Mahy. Mahy's novels are full of references to classical myths, both direct and indirect, in names of characters like Dido, Ovid, Ariadne or Hero; in storylines such as Flora's journey to the Underworld-like Viridian to rescue her cousin Anthea, strongly reminiscent of Demeter's rescue of Persephone from Hades, which take their inspiration from classical myth; in seemingly incidental references like the persistent comparisons of Sorry to Charon, the classical ferryman of the dead, in The Changeover. These references point to a deep engagement with the heritage of classical myth. It is an engagement that has not gone unnoticed by scholars of Mahy's work, but it is one that has not enjoyed the dedicated critical attention it deserves. This thesis explores the full importance of classical myth to Mahy's young adult fiction, and shows how an understanding of the classical background of a large selection of Mahy's major novels can both enhance our appreciation of what is already there, as well as open up new avenues for critical engagement with her work.


Some of the subjects related to it include Mythology, New Zealand fiction, and Children's literature.

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All Rights Reserved

This item is all rights reserved, which means you'll have to get permission from Victoria University of Wellington before using it.

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What can I do with this item?


You must always check with Victoria University of Wellington to confirm the specific terms of use, but this is our understanding:

Non-infringing use

NZ Copyright law does not prevent every use of a copyright work. You should consider what you can and cannot do with a copyright work.

You may not copy and/or share this item with others without further permission. This includes posting it on your blog, using it in a presentation, or any other public use.

No modifying

You are not allowed to adapt or remix this item into any other works.

No commercial use

You may not use this item commercially.