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Readings from Humanism to Postmodernism


Gerald Gillespie

Contents: Humanist theme of «rebeginning» – Need to compare and critique cultural repertories – Cervantine interrogation of the mind as source of cultural constructs – New incarnations of the antagonist figure in the Christian West – Connecting with the divine through nature and the feminine – Conflicted views on the possibility of «rebeginning» outside Europe in a «New World» – The persistence of pagan imagination in «Enlightened» Europe – Eroticism and the body as message – Inventing the noble savage as Europe’s wished-for alter ego and republican virtue as redemptive pathway – The subjectivist turn in writing history – Romantic psychology complicates identity – A new birth of mythic powers – Triumphant return of Oedipus – Faust grows perplexed in his quest – The modern city as the new mental space and juncture – Fear of decadence, and failure to find the noble savage – The polyphony of modernism – The modern artist as mythic quester hero – Humoristic hypertrophy, or postmodern mannerism in the Western Hemisphere – Cabalistic insights and mystical «yea-saying» trump the family romance.