The history of mythography I outlined in the Introduction is primarily a tale of men arguing with one another, and it is incomplete. Through the nineteenth century, few women had the classical education and the status that would have enabled them to engage in the great argument on myth; fewer still were inclined to see classical myth as an urgent issue affecting their own social condition or their intellectual or emotional lives. Yet in both the United States and Britain, we can see, almost from the beginnings of the Victorian period, stirrings and questionings that would later make possible a feminist mythography.1 In such a context, Persephone has a threefold importance that stems more from her mythos than from her part in the Mysteries. She is a goddess, and therefore she embodies a divine female power, yet-raped, compelled into a frightening marriage, divided from her mother and her female companions-she has suffered many of the problems that women may endure in a male-dominated world. Her identity also is mutable, even fragmented, in a way unlike that of any other Greek deity: she begins as a playful child, becomes the alienated and terrifying queen of death, and revives in joy and tenderness for the reunion with her mother every spring. Persephone, in short, is a dynamic figure, illuminating-and perhaps enabling-for women discovering at once their oppression and their potential energies.