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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: May ::
Re: Autolycus
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0463  Tuesday, 12 May 1998.

[1]     From:   Francois Laroque <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 May 1998 22:01:26 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0454  Q: Autolycus

[2]     From:   Alison Horton <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 May 1998 16:56:29 -0700
        Subj:   Re: Autolycus

[3]     From:   Chris Stroffolino <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 12 May 1998 12:30:21 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0454   Autolycus


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Francois Laroque <
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Date:           Monday, 11 May 1998 22:01:26 +0100
Subject: 9.0454  Q: Autolycus
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0454  Q: Autolycus

I think that one of the possible justifications to present Autolycus as
an illustration of the Greek etymology inscribed in his name, i.e. as a
"self-wolf", is the fact that he works as a parody of Leontes who is a
man who, besides destroying his own son and wife, has also pretty much
victimized himself. And indeed Autolycus repeatedly plays the double
role of thief and victim in act IV of *The Winter's Tale*.

Francois Laroque
Professeur Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris 3)

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alison Horton <
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Date:           Monday, 11 May 1998 16:56:29 -0700
Subject:        Re: Autolycus

>Can someone direct me to a source for the etymology of the name
>"Autolycus" (Winter's Tale)?  I know it is the name of the son of Hermes
>and ancestor of Odysseus.  I am interested in the possible association
>with "lycos" -  wolf and "auto" - self (?).

I am no Hellenist but yes, "lykos" means wolf and one of the
possibilities under auto for self is "one's true self." The combination
Autolykos might suggest a "true wolf."

I've been amusing myself lately with wolf facts and it seems that the
word lycanthropy entered the English language in 1584 (Reginald Scot's
"The Discoverie of Witchcraft") but most of the werewolf stuff (what
else would you call a man who's true self was wolfish?) that pops up
because of Scot (James' "Daemonologie" and others) is, as you may have
guessed, really about previously normal people turning into wolves for
various reasons and not about singing pickpockets. Charlotte Otten's "A
Lycanthropy Reader" brings a lot of this stuff together (Classical
through Early Modern and later) just in case your interested.

The Arden edition of WT points its readers to book 11 of Ovid's
"Metamorphosis" and quotes Golding's translation. It also quotes
Chapman's translation of  Homer's "The Odyssey" (book 19) but whether
these are the first mentions of Autolycus, I don't know. The relevant
pages in the Penguin editions are Ovid, 254; Homer, 298-300.

Alison Horton

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <
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Date:           Tuesday, 12 May 1998 12:30:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0454   Autolycus
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0454   Autolycus

I suppose this is absolutely WRONG--- but is it possible that Autolycus
would be pronounced as "Oughta like us" as in some kind of Shakespearean
in-joke to audience? cs
 

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