Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-05-15
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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In the spring of 1900, British archaeologist Arthur Evans began to excavate the palace of Knossos on Crete, bringing ancient Greek legends to life just as a new century dawned amid far-reaching questions about human history, art, and culture. Over the next three decades, Evans engaged in an unprecedented reconstruction project, creating a complex of concrete buildings on the site that owed at least as much to modernist architecture as they did to Bronze Age remains. In the process, he fired the imaginations of a whole generation of intellectuals and artists, whose work would drive movements as disparate as fascism and pacifism, feminism and psychoanalysis. WithKnossos and the Prophets of Modernism, Cathy Gere relates the fascinating story of Evans's excavation and its long-term effects on Western culture. Gere shows how Evans's often-fanciful account of ancient Minoan society captivated a generation riven by serious doubts about the fundamental values of European civilization. After the First World War left the Enlightenment dream in tatters, the lost paradise that Evans offered in the concrete labyrinthpacifist and matriarchal, pagan and cosmicseemed to offer a new way forward for writers, artists, and thinkers such as Freud, James Joyce, Georgio de Chirico, Robert Graves, Hilda Doolittle, all of whom emerge as forceful characters in Gere's account. Assembling a brilliant, talented, and eccentric cast at a moment of tremendous intellectual vitality and wrenching change, Cathy Gere paints an unforgettable portrait of the age of concrete and the birth of modernism.

Author Biography

Cathy Gere is assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego, and the author of The Tomb of Agamemnon.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
The Birth of Tragedy, 1822-1897p. 17
An Archaeology of Heroesp. 18
A Prophecy of Tragedyp. 27
Fascism's Greek Prehistoryp. 38
What Ariadne Isp. 44
Stand-Up Tragedy, 1851-1899p. 49
The Dry Smell of Timep. 50
Eastern Questionsp. 56
The Road to the Labyrinthp. 63
Greek Defeatp. 68
Reconstructing the Nationp. 71
Ariadne's Lament, 1900-1913p. 75
Ariadne's Thronep. 76
The Great Cretan Motherp. 79
Ariadne's Dancing Floorp. 81
The Making of a Goddessp. 86
The Villa Ariadnep. 91
Cretan Victoryp. 95
Ariadne in Chirico Cityp. 98
The Concrete Labyrinth, 1914-1935p. 105
The Throne Room Complexp. 106
Captain of the Blacksp. 111
Court Ladiesp. 117
Priest-King and Cowgirlsp. 119
Lost Boysp. 123
The Lady of Sportsp. 129
The Magic Ringp. 132
The Psyche Elementp. 135
Little Soulsp. 137
Psyche's Labyrinth, 1919-1941p. 141
Mythical Methodp. 142
The Decline of Cretep. 147
Achilles' Shieldp. 150
Freudian Archaeologyp. 153
Psyche's Musep. 160
Crete on the Couchp. 164
The Battle of Cretep. 171
The Rebirth of Comedy, 1942-1949p. 177
Psyche Rebornp. 178
Paradise before Evep. 186
Psyche Rewrittenp. 189
The Consortp. 194
New Cretep. 200
The Birth of Farce, 1950-2000p. 209
Romantic Revivalsp. 210
The White Goddessp. 215
Black Athenap. 217
The Road Back to Warp. 220
Conclusionp. 227
Notesp. 235
Bibliographyp. 261
Indexp. 271
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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