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Ancient Myths in the Making of Culture

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Malgorzata Budzowska and Jadwiga Czerwinska

The reception of Mediterranean Antiquity heritage is one of the dominant research areas in contemporary classical studies. This issue has constituted the scope of the conference Reception of Ancient Myths in Ancient, Modern and Postmodern Culture, which took place at the University of Łódź (Poland) in November 2013. The volume consists of the selected articles based on the conference papers. They are divided into the main chapters: Literature, Visual and Performing Arts and Philosophy as well as Anthropology. The authors consider different methods of reception of ancient myths focusing on various cultural phenomena: literature, fine arts, theatre, cinema and pop culture.
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Odyssey Europe. Contemporary German Theatre and the Problem of Immigration

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This essay analyses how the myth of Odysseus undergoes transformations in the German speaking drama and contemporary theatre. It subjects selected dramatic texts and theatre projects which revive the story of mythical journey to analysis. The German speaking literature and theatre notably often, especially in the second half of the 20th century, broaches the myth of Odysseus. It is clearly not hard to understand why the fate of the king of Ithaca, unsuccessfully looking for the way back to his homeland, became a symbol of the fate of modern man both after the disaster of World War II and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The reception of the myth of Odysseus in the German speaking theatre and drama in the second half of the 20th century is without a doubt inextricably linked with the processes of the socio-political transformation in Europe. The latest interpretations of the history of the king of Ithaca seem to be not only a highly political commentary on reality but also a manifesto of the new identity of postmodern man. In an era of economic and social crisis, and increasing religious prejudices and fears, the story of Odysseus has become again an appropriate illustration of the problems of modern man.

The 20th century literature and German theatre have referred often to the myth of Odysseus. It is not particularly difficult to understand the significance of the story of Ithaca’s king, unsuccessfully searching for his way back to his native land. In...

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