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Mythology

(3,352 words)

Author(s): Matuschek, Stefan
A. PrinciplesThe presence and role of classical mythology in the 18th century can be summarized as follows: it served as a convention of artistic expression, but it also became a battleground for a Christian society and one that saw itself as Enlightened. Ultimately, it underwent a revolutionary reinterpretation that would stimulate a new philosophical, artistic, political, ethnological, psychological and anthropological interest in myth in the 19th and 20th centuries. With the 18th century came the turn to the modern theory of myth.  At the beginning of the 18th century, cla…
Date: 2021-01-25

Homeric Question

(1,671 words)

Author(s): Matuschek, Stefan
A. Definition and relevanceThe Homeric Question is: were the two Ancient Greek epics, the  Iliad and the  Odyssey, composed by a single poet or were they outcomes of a process of heterogeneous textual genesis? Or, to put it another way: did Homer exist as the first ancient poet whose name is recorded or is this a mythological construct? The origins and hence the identity of Homer the poet were already controversial in Antiquity. Seven cities vied to be considered his birthplace. During the 18th century, the Homeric Question became intertwined with a debate over the quality of the Iliad a…
Date: 2021-01-25

Symposium

(1,386 words)

Author(s): Matuschek, Stefan
A. OverviewThe ancient symposium (Greek symposion, ‘[account of a] drinking party’, from syn-, ‘together’ and posis, ‘drinking’) continued in the early modern period, but only as a literary and philosophical text, not as a form of sociability. In most cases, its history was the history of the reception of Plato’s dialogue of the same title. That reception pursued a number of strands in the 18th century including the content of the dialogue, on the philosophy of love and emotion, and its form as a model for the merging of literature and philoso…
Date: 2021-01-25