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By Cathy Gere

“In the spring of 1900, British archaeologist Arthur Evans started to excavate the palace of Knossos on Crete, bringing historic Greek legends to existence simply as a brand new century dawned amid far-reaching questions on human heritage, paintings, and tradition. With Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism, Cathy Gere relates the interesting tale of Evans’s excavation and its long term results on Western tradition. After the realm battle I left the Enlightenment dream in tatters, the misplaced paradise that Evans provided within the concrete labyrinth—pacifist and matriarchal, pagan and cosmic—seemed to provide a brand new future of writers, artists, and thinkers resembling Sigmund Freud, James Joyce, Giorgio de Chirico, Robert Graves, and Hilda Doolittle.

Assembling an excellent, gifted, and kooky forged at a second of great highbrow energy and wrenching switch, Cathy Gere paints a portrait of the age of concrete and the delivery of modernism.”

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Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism

“In the spring of 1900, British archaeologist Arthur Evans started to excavate the palace of Knossos on Crete, bringing old Greek legends to existence simply as a brand new century dawned amid far-reaching questions on human heritage, artwork, and tradition. With Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism, Cathy Gere relates the attention-grabbing tale of Evans’s excavation and its long term results on Western tradition.

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His excavation of the great sites of pagan legend elevated the Homeric epics to the status of a non-Christian origin for Western civilization, a pagan prehistory for a secular modernity. Boasting about his superhuman exploits in the service of resurrecting the heroes of legend, Schliemann’s self-mythologizing resonated with a whole series of cultural anxieties about the struggle for existence. ”11 More pithily, Virginia Woolf wrote in her diary of her overwhelming impression of Mycenae after Schliemann’s excavations: “There never was a sight I think less manageable .

15 By focusing on his early life, Schliemann tapped into a powerful vein of fantasy and desire in his readers. The idea of childhood already featured in the archaeology of the Greek Bronze Age: the preHellenic Mycenaean age was considered, under the terms set by Victorian anthropology, to be the childhood of Western civilization. As the fame of Schliemann’s autobiography spread, the world of childhood took on yet another role in the already thrilling drama of Mycenaean arÂ� chaeology, becoming the crucible in which the ambitions and insights of the future archaeologist were formed.

It would turn out to be a successful partnership. Although initially cemented by 22 Chapter One Schliemann’s loneliness and his in-laws’ social and financial aspirations, it was later held together by Sophia’s undoubted strength of character. By her intelligent participation in Schliemann’s archaeological exploits and her particular combination of stubbornness and pliancy, Sophia made herself indispensable to her willful, impatient husband. By the beginning of 1870 Schliemann had lost patience with the Turkish government’s delays and vacillation over the matter of his permit to excavate, and on April 9 he began to dig at Hisarlik without the permission of either the authorities or the landowners.

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