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date: 17 January 2021


A Dictionary of Reference and Allusion

Andrew Delahunty,

Sheila Dignen

Daphne [Gk Myth.] 

A nymph, daughter of Peneus, with whom the god *Apollo fell in love. In attempting to escape his pursuit, Daphne called upon the gods for help and was turned into a laurel tree. Daphne is often depicted in art literally rooted to the spot as she undergoes her transformation, for example in Bernini's marble sculpture Apollo and Daphne (1622–5).

  • > Someone becoming immobile or transfixed to the spot

Alexander slid into the seat beside her, Alexander's Old Spice smell brushed her nostrils, Alexander's soft-modulated voice murmured no, surely not muscle-bound, but with her nerves chained up in alabaster and she a statue, or as Daphne was, root-bound, that fled Apollo. A. S. Byatt The Virgin in the Garden 1978