The Power of Form: Recycling Myths
Although positivism dismissed myths as childish fancy, bound to be superseded by reason, there has been a continuous reappraisal of the power of myths since the 19th century. Once viewed as primitive and unreliable accounts and an inadequate and distorted form of knowledge, myths came to be perceived as exemplary narratives, consisting of rich and complex symbolic constructs that carry meaning and a connection to reality. Myths then came to be regarded as a privileged expression of the human soul and of its possibly submerged and unconscious abysses and dramas. Rather than inherently obscure and elusive to a rational grasp, mythical narratives would therefore be driven by logical reasoning, giving shape to a particular worldview of life and humankind. The enduring power of mythical narrative is attested to by its very plasticity, subject to multiple recreations informed by changing concerns and insights. Mythical narratives have thus attracted the interest of various disciplines, from ethnology and history to philosophy, literature, sociology, politics, the history of religions and art history. This interdisciplinary volume studies how myths are inscribed and recycled within both individual and collective heritage, and examines the personal and political implications of multifaceted engagement with myths as one of the forms through which societies try to make sense of their perplexities.
Ana Raquel Fernandes is Lecturer in English at the Universidade Europeia, Lisbon. She is the author of What about the Rogue? (Honourable Mention ESSE Book Award 2012). She has published a range of journal articles and book chapters on aspects of British and Portuguese contemporary fiction, and recently co-edited special issue 10.3 of the journal Comparative Critical Studies.
José Pedro Serra is Full Professor at the University of Lisbon, and is specialized in Greek tragedy and its reception. He is the author of Pensar o Trágico. Categorias da Tragédia Grega, awarded with the Prémio PEN (2007) and with the Prémio Jacinto Prado Coelho (2008). He has published a range of journal articles and book chapters on literature, classics and philosophy. He is the director of Dedalus: Portuguese Journal of Comparative Literature, and the director of the Library of the Faculty of Letters.
Rui Carlos Fonseca is a Researcher at the Centre for Classical Studies at the University of Lisbon, and is specialized in Ancient Greek literature. He has published a range of journal articles and book chapters on aspects of Epic parodies, Byzantine romance and reception studies. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Dedalus: Portuguese Journal of Comparative Literature.
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