Virtual Event: Maria Tatar


The Heroine With 1001 Faces

in conversation with MOIRA WEIGEL


September 16, 2021
7:00 PM ET


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Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes renowned folklorist MARIA TATAR—the John L. Loeb Research Professor of Folklore and Mythology and Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University—for a discussion of her latest book, The Heroine With 1001 Faces. She will be joined in conversation by MOIRA WEIGEL, scholar and founding editor of Logic magazine.

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About The Heroine With 1001 Faces

How do we explain our newfound cultural investment in empathy and social justice? For decades, Joseph Campbell had defined our cultural aspirations in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, emphasizing the value of seeking glory and earning immortality. His work became the playbook for Hollywood, with its many male-centric quest narratives.

Challenging the models in Campbell’s canonical work, Maria Tatar explores how heroines, rarely wielding a sword and deprived of a pen, have flown beneath the radar even as they have been bent on social missions. Using the domestic arts and storytelling skills, they have displayed audacity, curiosity, and care as they struggled to survive and change the reigning culture. Animating figures from Ovid’s Philomela, her tongue severed yet still weaving a tale about sexual assault, to Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander, a high-tech wizard seeking justice for victims of a serial killer, The Heroine with 1001 Faces creates a luminous arc that takes us from ancient times to the present.

Praise for The Heroine With 1001 Faces

"From Penelope and Pandora to Katniss Everdeen and Lisbeth Salander, the ‘hero's journey’ gets a much-needed makeover . . . Starting with Greek mythology and Scheherezade and moving through the centuries all the way to the Game of Thrones series and The Queen's Gambit, Tatar incisively explores women's reinvention of heroism to embrace empathy, compassion, and care, often to pursue social justice . . . Of this lineage, among the shared interesting traits not traditionally associated with women characters is a prodigious appetite . . . As Wonder Woman might say, Suffering Sappho! This book is fascinating, fun, and consistently enlightening." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"More than a rebuttal to Joseph Campbell’s seminal text The Hero with A Thousand Faces, Tatar’s book offers the infinite experiences of women. . . . Engaging with the works of Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter, Toni Morrison, Anne Sexton, and many others, Tatar explores the historical and textual difficulties of having a voice. . . . A necessary and compelling read for scholars, activists, and storytellers interested in inclusive revisions to the hero’s canon." —Asa Drake, Library Journal, starred review

"Rewarding . . . Tatar defines a version of heroism that 'is driven . . . by attentive care, an affect that is triggered by openness to the world.' . . . The overarching conversational tone and modern-day relevance give the book color [and] arguments are well supported with plenty of examples pulled from all corners of literature." —Publishers Weekly

Maria Tatar
Maria Tatar

Maria Tatar

Maria Tatar is the author of Enchanted Hunters, the editor and translator of annotated editions of works by Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, and the editor of an annotated edition of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. She is the John L. Loeb Research Professor of Folklore and Mythology and Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, as well as a Senior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows.

Moira Weigel
Moira Weigel

Moira Weigel

MOIRA WEIGEL is an Assistant Professor of Communications Studies at Northeastern University and a founder of Logic. Her most recent book, with Ben Tarnoff, is Voices from the Valley: Tech Workers Talk About What They Do—and How They Do It (FSG, 2020).


Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Virtual Event Series

Harvard Book Store’s award-winning event series continues online! Named "Best of Boston: 2020 Best Virtual Author Series" and "2021 Best Virtual Author Series" by Boston magazine.

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