Secret of the Muses Retold: Classical Influences on Italian Authors of the Twentieth Century
Precious repositories of ancient wisdom? Musty relics of outmoded culture? Timeless paragons of artistic achievement? Hegemonic tools of intellectual repression? Just what are the classics, anyway, and why do (or should) we still pay so much attention to them? What is the literary canon? What is myth, and how do we use it?
These are some of the questions that gave rise to John Kirby's Secret of the Muses Retold. This new study of works by five twentieth-century Italian writers investigates the abiding influence of the Greek and Roman classics, and their rich legacy in our own day. The result is not only a splendid introduction to contemporary Italian literature, but also a lucid and stimulating meditation on the insights that writers such as Umberto Eco and Italo Calvino have tapped from the wellspring of ancient tradition.
Kirby's book offers an impassioned plea for the recuperation of the humanities in general, and of classical studies in particular. No expertise in Greek, Latin, Italian, or literary theory is presumed, and both traditional and postmodern perspectives are accommodated.
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Adso ancient antiquity Aristotle Aristotle's Averroes beauty beginning Borges Cadmus and Harmony Calasso Calvino Catullus century chapter cinema classical Colonus course Creon culture dactylic dactylic hexameter death discussion Eco's Edipo fact fiction film Greek Hermogenes Hesiod hierogamy human interpretation Italian Jocasta Jorge Kirby labyrinth Laius Lalla language Latin Lauretis literary literature Mangano manuscript Marriage of Cadmus matter means metaphor meter mihi mimesis Muses myth Naenia narrative narrator nature novel nunc Oedipus at Colonus Oedipus the King oration Ovid Pasolini Peirce Peircean perhaps period phainomena philosophical Plato play poem poet Poetics poetry Polybus postmodern quae Quintilian reader reading reality rhetoric riddle Rose scholars semiology semiosis semiotic sense significant Sophocles Sphinx story style symbolic term Thebes theory Theseus thing thought tion Tiresias topic tradition translation Tusiani typically Umberto Umberto Eco verse word writing