[Msa-discuss] Butts Query

Jane Marie Garrity jane.garrity at Colorado.EDU
Fri Mar 11 10:54:13 EST 2011

I asked Roslyn Foy and Andrew Radford if they knew the source, and  
here is Andrew's response below.

good luck,

Jane Garrity


Hi Jane,
I've never found an exact source for the title of MB's novel, though  
it's likely she drew on classical sources which describe the savage  
deities Erinyes. This would sit well with Scylla's status as an  
avenging and bold hierophant of the maternalized primitive, as both  
'witch' and 'bitch' etc.
Hera was furious when she discovered that Athamas and Ino were  
secretly rearing Dionysos, the son of her most hated rival Semele, and  
despatched an Erinys to drive the pair insane.

Callistratus, Descriptions 14 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician  
C4th A.D.) :
"[From a description of an ancient Greek painting :] Athamas goaded on  
by madness. He was shown as naked, his hair reddened with blood and  
its locks flying in the wind, his eye distraught, himself filled with  
consternation; and he was armed not by madness alone for a rash deed,  
nor did he rage merely with the soul-consuming fears which the Erinyes  
(Furies) send; nay, he even held a sword out in front of him, like a  
man making a sally . . . Ino too was present, in a state of terror,  
trembling slightly, her face [...] corpse-like through fright; and she  
embraced her infant child and held her breast to its lips, letting the  
nurturing drops fall on the nursling."

Here is the source:
Elder Philostratus, Younger Philostratus, Callistratus Descriptions.  
Translated by Arthur Fairbanks. Loeb Classical Library Volume 256.  
London: William Heinemann, 1931. p. 38.

This material can also be found on the classical scholarship e-text  



Dr Andrew Radford
Department of English Literature
5 University Gardens
Faculty of Arts
University of Glasgow

Direct line: (+44) 0141 330 2133
Email: A.Radford at englit.arts.gla.ac.uk

On Mar 10, 2011, at 12:49 PM, Stephen Ross wrote:

> Does anyone out there know the source for Mary Butts' epigraph to  
> Armed with Madness: "Armed with madness, I go on a long voyage."?
> Thanks,
> Stephen
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> Msa-discuss at chaos.press.jhu.edu
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