Definitions

Phyllis

Phyllis

[fil-is]
Schlafly, Phyllis, 1924-, American conservative activist, b. St. Louis, Mo., as Phyllis Stewart, grad. Washington Univ. (B.A. 1944, J.D. 1978), Harvard (M.A. 1945). A conservative Republican lawyer, she was an anticommunist crusader in the 1950s and 60s, and ran for Congress unsuccessfully three times (1952, 1960, 1970). She is probably best known for the ultimately successful campaign she organized (1972) to deny ratification to the Equal Rights Amendment, which she denounced as damaging to the family. She also has been a vehement opponent of abortion and gay marriage. Schlafly is the founder of the conservative Eagle Forum, the author of more than 20 books, a syndicated columnist, and radio commentator.

See biographies by C. Felsenthal (1981) and D. T. Critchlow (2005).

McGinley, Phyllis, 1905-78, American poet, b. Ontario, Oreg. Her light verse treats aspects of modern life with humor and underlying seriousness. Among her best-known collections of verse are A Pocketful of Wry (1940), The Love Letters of Phyllis McGinley (1950), and Times Three (1960; Pulitzer Prize). She also wrote many light essays as well as criticism, children's books, and song lyrics. Saint-Watching (1969) recounts the lives of various saints with irreverence and affection.

Phyllis is a character in Greek mythology. Daughter of Lycurgus, King of Thrace, she married Demophon, King of Athens and son of Theseus, while he stopped in Thrace on his journey home from the Trojan war.

Demophon, duty bound to Greece, returns home to help his father, leaving Phyllis behind. She sends him away with a coffin with the sacrament of Rhea, asking him to open it only when he has given up hope of returning to her. From here, the story diverges. In one version, Phyllis commits suicide by hanging herself from a tree. Where she is buried, an almond tree grows, which blossoms when Demophon returns to her. In a second version of the story, Demophon opens the caskets and accidentally falls on his own sword.

This story most notably appears in Book II of Ovid's epistolary epic, the Heroides, and also appears in the work of Callimachus.

The Nine Ways is derived from the story of Phyllis, who is said to have returned nine times to the shores to wait for Demophon's return.

References

Fulkerson, Laurel. "Reading dangerously: Phyllis, Dido, Ariadne, and Medea". The Ovidian Heroine as Author. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

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