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Re-imagining the PastAntiquity and Modern Greek Culture$
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Dimitris Tziovas

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199672752

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672752.001.0001

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Yannis Ritsos, Marxist Dialectics, and the Re-imagining of Ancient Greece

Yannis Ritsos, Marxist Dialectics, and the Re-imagining of Ancient Greece

(p.282) 16 Yannis Ritsos, Marxist Dialectics, and the Re-imagining of Ancient Greece
Re-imagining the Past

Marinos Pourgouris

Oxford University Press

This chapter revisits Marx’s reception of classical Greek literature, as well as the interrelated concept of dialectical materialism, in order to examine Yannis Ritsos’ reworking of the Greek mythological subtext in the collection The Fourth Dimension. It discusses the problematical position of classical Greek literature in Marx’s schema of dialectical materialism, which assumes a kind of progressive evolution of literature alongside socioeconomic and political transformations. Following Herbert Marcuse’s call for a more substantial examination of classical Greek literature—and myth in particular—in the context of Marxist literary theory, the chapter examines The Fourth Dimension against the background of dialectical materialism, arguing that Ritsos’ re-imagining of a decaying mythological world represents a description of history’s progression in terms of a constant and—most significantly—unresolved opposition between the old and the new.

Keywords:   Yannis Ritsos, The Fourth Dimension (Ritsos), mythical subtext, dialectical materialism (Marx), Marxist literary theory, Herbert Marcuse

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