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Rewriting the Hero and the Quest

Myth and Monomyth in "Captain Corelli’s Mandolin" by Louis de Bernières

Tatiana Golban

Although Louis de Bernières is a famous and important contemporary novelist, and his work Captain Corelli’s Mandolin has been translated and sold all over the world as a best-seller, there are few academic studies that focus methodologically and theoretically on it. The book attempts to partially overcome this handicap by focusing on various thematic and structural aspects which have been practically ignored so far by this line of criticism. It targets experts and students in literary studies whose concerns are ancient myths and their contemporary revival and reimagining, and who are familiar with goals and methods of myth criticism and archetypal critical discourse, and especially with their current postmodern and postmodernist perspectives.
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2. Practical Argumentation


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2. Practical Argumentation

2.1 Rethinking the Monomyth of the Hero and the Quest as a Critical Concern

The contemporary world we live in differs much from the more or less romantic heroic illusions of the preceding centuries. The human experience, including its heroic dimension, is in a perpetual flux, a continuous process of transformation. This process of mutability is both conscious and unconscious. In this context, it seems that myth appears as a needed authority from the unconscious realm which releases “the common darkness”, well-known archetypal images as heroes, monsters, quests, trials, objects of power, journeys, and returns.

Created by the collective imagination, or the Great Anonymous, as Mircea Eliade puts it, myths mostly represent the projections of the manner in which the things exist in life, and are, for the most part, related to our current level of knowledge and experience. As David Leeming states, “myths emerge from our experience of reality (…) from our instinctive need to cloth that experience in mimetic story and concept” (Leeming, 2001, pp. 19–20).

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