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Greek Mythologies

Greek Mythologies

Antiquity and Surrealism

Dimitrios Yatromanolakis

ISBN 9780983532217

Publication date: 06/02/2014

The hegemonization of European thought by Greek antiquity was famously questioned by major representatives of the avant-garde. However, this is only one ideological dimension of the extraordinarily intricate politics of the European avant-garde’s response to Greek antiquity—a dimension that has been overrated in current research on the subject. Greek Mythologies interrogates this one-sided methodological approach by exploring in a systematic and cross-disciplinary manner the complex, at times contradictory, responses to ancient Greece in Greek and broader Western European modernism. In this pioneering book, Dimitrios Yatromanolakis investigates the multilayered (often underexplored) ideological, literary, artistic, and epistemological channels through which ancient Greek mythology was received by the avant-garde as cultural capital and discursive paradigm conducive to a radical reassessment of established socioaesthetic structures. Exploring the dynamics of ruination and the reconfiguration of fundamental icons of ancient mythology (for example, Oedipus, Pasiphae, the Minotaur, the Danaids) in Greek surrealism, this book masterfully demonstrates that Greek antiquity, despite its theoretical devaluation by influential modernists, became an integral constituent of avant-garde myth-making. Focusing mainly on highly provocative dialogues between variants of ancient Greek mythoi and twentieth-century Greek and other European mechanisms of mythogenesis, the book navigates new territories in the field of reception studies.


  • A prodigiously original book… Written by a leading authority in the anthropology of the ancient Greek world, a scholar who can move with impressive brilliance and outstanding research expertise along a broad spectrum of periods and disciplines (art history, historical anthropology, classical studies; see his influential Sappho in the Making: The Early Reception), Greek Mythologies will be the definitive, most authoritative go-to study on the subject… Greek Mythologies is a bold and pioneering book that will influence all future investigations of the reception of Greek antiquity in the European art, philosophical thought, and aesthetics of the second quarter of the twentieth century.

    —Helene Politou-Marmarinou, Huffington Post


  • Dimitrios Yatromanolakis is a former Fellow of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University and a recipient of the Berlin Prize.

Book Details

  • 380 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Department of the Classics

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