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Classical Myth and Contemporary Cultural Forms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalClassical Receptions Journal
DateIn preparation - Mar 2018


This article works with the case-study of the 2017 Netflix series American Gods to explore the ways that classical myth is being utilised in contemporary culture. 

Whereas previously the basis for judging a mythic episode was often its relationship to a famous earlier version, and intertextuality the dominant model for evaluating that relationship, contemporary media force the contemplation of the affective power of myth and its ceaseless provocation to reinvent in ways that require the development of new metaphors to capture the dynamics of the processes of influence. Participatory cultures and technologies designed to promote immersion in alternative realities have their own histories and do not necessarily have to be regarded as symptomatic only of the present; however, the increasing visibility of niche communities of fans who respond to and recreate a whole host of different kinds of narratives makes it ever harder to determine a mainstream cultural product with attendant, unquestioned authority. This has implications for our understanding of contemporary Classicism because, as we shall see, the bold, revivifying interventions of modern-day mythopoiesis often have very little to do with reproducing canonical texts in even the sketchiest way. Instead, the mediation between past and present is constituted not only by the transformation of the content of ancient stories but by the forms via which they are experienced, some of them involving radical reconceptualizations of author, audience and the possibilities of shared narrative.  

    Structured keywords

  • Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition


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