Volume 15, 2010

   Volume 5, December 2004

Volume 14, 2010
Volume 13, 2009
Volume 12, 2009
Volume 11, 2008
Volume 10, 2008
Volume 9, 2007

Volume 8, 2007
Volume 7, 2006
Volume 6, 2005
Volume 5, 2004
Volume 4, 2001
Volume 3, 2000
Volume 2, 1999
Volume 1, 1999

“Leaning on the Limits of Myself”: Jeanette Winterson’s Weight as an Existentialist Text

Middle East Technical University

In the critical reception of Jeanette Winterson’s oeuvre, scholars have paid particular attention to the postmodern features of Winterson’s work and the representation of lesbian love and desire that unsettle heterosexual hegemony. It can be argued that Winterson’s work has been mostly read with the lens of postmodern, poststructuralist feminism and queer critical theory. This paper aims to offer a reading of Winterson’s retelling of Atlas myth from an existentialist point of view. Weight is published in “The Myths” series launched in 2005 by Canongate Books, along with other modern retellings of classical myths by renowned authors such as Margaret Atwood, Ali Smith, and Alexander McCall Smith. Winterson’s work, in her own words is the “cover story” of the myth of Atlas. In Greek mythology, condemned to eternal punishment for rebelling against the Olympian gods, Atlas, the Titan son of earth and sky, carries the world on his shoulders. After giving a brief overview of existentialism as a philosophical movement, this paper explores Winterson’s modern retelling of the myth with regard to existentialist concepts of freedom, burden, fate, alienation and anxiety.

Keywords: Existentialism, retelling, classical myths, Atlas, choice, responsibility, freedom, fate


 Webmasters: Neic Răzvan and Crăciun Bogdan