Although the root of the Hebrew name “Salome” is “peaceful”, the image spawned by the most famous woman to carry that name has been anything but peaceful. She and her story have long been linked to the beheading of John the Baptist, as described in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, since Salome was the supposed catalyst for the prophet’s execution, used by evangelists already then to define the “essence” of women’s evil nature. This history of the myth of Salome describes the process by which that myth was created, the roles that art, literature, theology and music played in that creation, and how Salome’s image as evil varied from one period to another according to the prevailing cultural myths surrounding women. After setting forth the Biblical and historical origins of the Salome story, Neginsky will discuss the major cultural, literary and artistic works which developed and propagated it as an example of the creation of myths about women and developing the ideology that had been determining women’s place within society.
Rosina Neginsky teaches comparative literature and art history at UIS. She is the president and founder of the international interdisciplinary organization Art, Literature, Music in Symbolism and Decadence (ALMSD), the author of a several books, including Salome: The Image of a Woman Who Never Was (2013, 2018), and of a forthcoming book Mikhail Vrubel: Philosophy of Images. She published several books of poetry, of which the most recent is In the Garden of Luxembourg, and edited and co-edited a number of books on Symbolist movement, of which the most recent is Mental Illnesses in Symbolism and the forthcoming is Angst in European Symbolism. She is a recipient of the UIS Scholars award.