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The Metamorphoses of Ancient Myths

Edited By 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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Ancient Tragedy in Seferis’ Poetry: From Existential Historicism to Philosophical Existentialism (Olympia Tachopoulou)


Olympia Tachopoulou*

Ancient Tragedy in Seferis’ Poetry:From Existential Historicism to Philosophical Existentialism1

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to explore the reception of Greek tragedy in George Seferis’ poetry by considering his different responses to the Aeschylean and Euripidean tragedy. Building upon T.S. Eliot’s dramatic conception of poetry, Seferis based an important part of his work on a modernist reactivation of Attic tragedy. His dialogue with Greek tragedy, as can be detected in his works from Mythistorima (1935) to Thrush (1946), is dominated by Aeschylus’ work and especially by the ideas of natural order and the balance of justice. Seferis, as an existential historicist, intuitively perceives the past as a living part of the present. In Logbook III (1955), his interest shifts to Euripidean tragedy, particularly as a way to comment on the political present. Drawing upon Euripides’ Helen, Seferis deals with the subjects of illusion and deception, and for the first time brings into question the heroic state of the myth. The existential quest in “Helen” of Logbook III echoes the existential philosophy of Albert Camus emphasizing the absurdity of a world that lacks divine justice. In other words, the move from Aeschylus to Euripides provides the grounds for considering his move from existential historicism to philosophical existentialism.

Key words: classical reception, existentialism, modernism, modern Greek poetry, existential historicism

Greek tragedy offered George Seferis a space of self- and cultural knowledge, interiorised to become part of his modernist aesthetics....

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