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Case Study Of Bolivar And Contemporary Greek Mythology

2682 words - 11 pages

The excessive element of the hero in both the poetic and artistic
expression of Nikos Engonopoulos: The case study of “Bolivar” and the
contemporary revival of Greek mythology

It is, I think, in itself an heroic act to speak today of heroes and heroic
excession in an era that is characterized as anti heroic. In earlier times – much earlier
than the nineteenth century – the history of human achievement was not conceived of
as anything but the history of heroic deeds which the distinguished dared to undertake
and successfully managed to execute (J.P.Vernant 1989: 145) and whose memory is
still alive. But, nowadays, achievement is considered to be the transient personal
flaunting in fields such as politics, economics, athletics and entertainment. Those
people, indeed, inspire admiration bordering on deification, reverence, in other words,
equal to the admiration for heroes of earlier times, adoration of idols. Our time is
antiheroic, a time in which idols have substituted for heroes and the necessity for selfassertion
and personal benefit wins over this collective development.
However, the question still remains as to the excess in human potential and
the choices confronting an adventurous temperament extinguishing or at least
neglecting fear in the face of danger. No matter how extraordinary and insane it might
be, very often, heroic behaviour continues to enchant. This happens, possibly, because
of the element of excess which is characterised, more than at any other time, by a
convergence of the desire of modern man not to be hemmed in by individual “musts”
of the technological civilization and a desire to return to the charm of the fairy-tales of
his childhood years. This effort to accept the reality is never completed since no
human being can be freed of the pressing necessity to unite an external and internal
reality. That’ s why the adult secures a relief from this pressure with the immediate
environment of the experience whose value is not called into question, just as a child
is preoccupied in a game. (R.A.Segal 2003: 34).
Many times, literature and art offer this immediate environment. Nikos
Engonopoulos is one of the first surrealist poets – with Andreas Empirikos – and he
might also be classified as the first Greek surrealist artist. Engonopoulos created an air
– artistic and literary – in which he combined aspects of traditional Greek poetic and
artistic forms with contemporary surrealistic elements. It is worth, in fact, mentioning
that – even though the surrealist movement, which originated initially in France,
confronted tradition negatively – not only in the Hispanic world but also in the Greek
world, surrealism and tradition were combined creatively with the contemporary
surrealistic opinion, perhaps because tradition is directly related to the psychological
make up of those peoples. (Y. Andreadis, 2001: 77). This is the particular way in
which Engonopoulos converses with the hero, not only when...

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