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Gertrude Rachel Levy

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Gertrude Rachel Levy
Photograph of Gertrude Rachel Levy, former librarian, classical scholar and archaeologist, circa 1900
Photograph of Gertrude Rachel Levy, former librarian, classical scholar and archaeologist, circa 1900
Pen nameG. Rachel Levy
Occupationwriter, archaeologist
LanguageEnglish
Notable awardsFellow, Society of Antiquaries of London, 1947

Gertrude Rachel Levy (1884–1966) was an author and cultural historian writing about comparative mythology, matriarchy, epic poetry and archaeology. She published many of her works under the name "G. Rachel Levy".[1]

As did Alexander Marshack, but earlier, Levy made an observation to the effect that in the earliest known representations of humans and animals together, the humans are shown without weapons.[2] To the theory of hero archetypes, she contributed in The Sword from the Rock a three-phase evolutionary pattern, considered neglected by Brown and Fishwick: creation narratives, then quest pattern, then fraternal conflict.[3] Theodore Ziolkowski states that Levy included much of ancient epic in the works that can be traced back to ritual.[4] Eleazar M. Meletinsky[5] writes

[...] the monumental epics of agrarian civilizations undoubtedly use models linked to seasonal rites [...] On this point, Levy's work is interesting, despite its exaggerations, and goes beyond Murray's pioneering efforts.

Levy was an influence on Northrop Frye, as he himself acknowledged, and references to her work are common in his "Third Book" and "Late" notebooks.[6]

Education and career[edit | edit source]

Levy earned an M.A. in 1924, and worked from 1926 to 1928 with the Department of Antiquities in Mandatory Palestine. From 1930 to 1936 she was associated with an expedition to Iraq, sponsored by the University of Chicago. Later in life she lived in London,[1] where from 1939 to 1949 she was the librarian of the Joint Library of the Hellenic and Roman Societies.[7] The Society of Antiquaries of London elected her as a Fellow in 1947.[8]

Works[edit | edit source]

  • The Gate of Horn: A Study of the Religious Concepts of the Stone Age, and Their Influence upon European Thought (1948; republished 1963, Faber & Faber, ISBN 978-0571056606)[9]
  • The Sword from the Rock: An Investigation into the Origins of Epic Literature and the Development of the Hero (1953)[10]
  • The Violet Crown: An Athenian Autobiography (1954)[11]
  • Plato in Sicily (1956)[12]
  • The Phoenix' Nest: A Study in Religious Transformations (1961)[13]

Levy also edited The Myths of Plato (1905) by John Alexander Stewart for a 1960 edition, with revisions, translation of Greek text, and an introduction.[14]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Dolman, Bernard, ed. (1954), Who's who in Art, Volume 7, Art Trade Press, Limited, p. 427, LEVY, Gertrude Rachel, M.A. (1924), F.S.A. (1947); Dept. of Antiquities, Palestine (1926-28); University of Chicago's Expeditions to Iraq (artist to expeditions) (1930-36); ... Address: 40 Rotherwick Rd., N.W.11. Club: University Women's Club. Signs work: "G. Rachel Levy."
  2. Govaerts, Robert (2012-08-29). Cosmic Prayer and Guided Transformation: Key Elements of the Emergent ChrTransformationistian Cosmology. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 96. ISBN 9781630875909. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  3. Browne, Ray Broadus; Fishwick, Marshall William (1983). The Hero in Transition. Popular Press. p. 53. ISBN 9780879722388. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  4. Ziolkowski, Theodore (2011-11-18). Gilgamesh among Us: Modern Encounters with the Ancient Epic. Cornell University Press. p. 169. ISBN 9780801463426. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  5. The Poetics of Myth, English translation p. 74
  6. Frye, Northrop (2004). Northrop Frye's Notebooks on Romance. University of Toronto Press. pp. 461 note 29. ISBN 9780802039477. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  7. Joint Library of the Hellenic & Roman Societies/Institute of Classical Studies Library, blogpost 14 July 2017, Former Librarian: Gertrude Rachel Levy
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  9. Reviews of The Gate of Horn:
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    • Layard, John (1948). "Review". Hibbert Journal. 47: 200.
    • Dain, Alphonse (1948). "Review". Bulletin de l'Association Guillaume Budé. 6: 130–131.
    • Picard, Charles (1950). "Review". Journal des Savants. 2: 87–90.
  10. Reviews of The Sword from the Rock:
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    • Eissfeldt, O. (January 1, 1957). "Review". Orientalistische Literaturzeitung. 52: 108.
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    • Bérard, Jean (1954). "Review". Revue des Études Anciennes. 56 (1–2): 167–168.
  11. Review of The Violet Crown:
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  12. Reviews of Plato in Sicily:
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  13. Review of The Phoenix' Nest:
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  14. Wynne-Tyson, Jon (2004). Finding the Words: A Publishing Life. Michael Russell. p. 57. ISBN 9780859552875. |access-date= requires |url= (help)

External links[edit | edit source]

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