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Minos and the ModernsCretan Myth in Twentieth-Century Literature and Art$
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Theodore Ziolkowski

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195336917

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195336917.001.0001

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Europa and the Bull: Sex, Society, and Politics

Europa and the Bull: Sex, Society, and Politics

(p.27) 2 Europa and the Bull: Sex, Society, and Politics
Minos and the Moderns

Theodore Ziolkowski

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates how the tale of Europa and the bull—in poetry, drama, and art, but also in cartoons, advertising, and currency—was initially seized upon by artists around the turn of the century and by Expressionist poets as a parable of sexual awakening and of the essential animality of sex. In the 1920s it emerged as a vehicle for social commentary and political satire; later exile artists used the myth to suggest the descent into social depravity and political chaos in Europe. Long a popular subject for works of artistic kitsch, it triumphed as a widespread symbol of European unity after World War II.

Keywords:   Europa and bull, sexual awakening, animality, political satire, European unity, kitsch

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