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The Metamorphoses of Ancient Myths

Malgorzata Budzowska, Burc Idem Dincel, Jadwiga Czerwinska and Katarzyna Chizynska

This book gives a comprehensive overview of the phenomenon of artistic dialogue with ancient myths. The contributions assume a double-track research approach. The contributors investigate the procedure of myths' recycling within Greco-Roman antiquity, and they consider modern re-occupations of myths in dramatic literature and theatre. Providing various examples of myths' reception from antiquity to present days, this book confirms the persistent human need of re-mythization.

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Introduction. The Work of Myth within the Work on Myth (Małgorzata Budzowska / Burç İdem Dinçel)

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Małgorzata Budzowska* and Burç İdem Dinçel**

Introduction.The Work of Myth within the Work on Myth

Dwelling upon mythopoetic practices of human beings, the present volume intends to investigate different cases of myth reoccupation qua myth (re)creation. By lending a close ear to Hans Blumenberg, who recognizes the work on myth (Arbeit am Mythos) as “the ongoing reworking of inherited mythical materials, which is the only form and the only way in which we know myth”, and the work of myth (Arbeit des Mythos) as “the essential and original function and accomplishment of myth as such” (1985: 112), we can consider the cycle of myth reworkings (works on myth) as a sort of mythopoetic praxes attempting to create new “faces” of old myths, in effect, performing, to varying degrees, the essential work of myth.

Elaborating on the essence of the work of myth, Blumenberg proffers the notion of significance (Bedeutsamkeit) to expose the nature and function of mythical knowledge gained by humans.1 Remaining convinced that “myths do not answer questions as philosophical theories do, but they make questions non-posed”,2 he notices that:

Significance is the form in which the background of nothing [des Nichts], as that which produces anxiety, has been put at a distance, whereby, without this ‘prehistory,’ the function of what is significant remains uncomprehended, though present. For the need for significance is rooted in the fact that we are conscious of never being definitively exempted...

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