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The articles in Myths of Origins provide insights into the universality of myths of origins as patterns of literary creation from Antiquity to the present. The essays range from an investigation of the six models of beginnings in Western literature to the workings of modern myths of origins in postcolonial literature and relocate the discussion on myths of origin in a wider context that besides the humanities considers linguistics and the impact of new technologies.

The contributing authors to the volume shed light on issues relating to myths of origins by linking this subject to literary creation and adopting a multidisciplinary approach.     
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This chapter aims to analyze the aesthetical construction of Werner Herzog’s cinema focussing on the continuity between the mythologies of the origin of human culture and those of cinematic vision, especially taking in consideration two films: Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010) and Fata Morgana (1970). The analysis of the case studies will avoid to focus on a chronological perspective, but rather on an intertextual and meta-cinematic dimension. Both these films debate the origin of the humanity recurring to a reflection about the materialisation of the filmic image, referring to the Plato’s cave and the optical illusion of the mirage as two possible founding myth of the cinematographic vision.

In: Myths of Origins
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In Australian Aboriginal culture, the origin myth is related to the belief in mysterious ‘songlines’ or ‘dreaming tracks’ that would cross the Australian desert. According to this myth, the world would have been created by legendary Ancestors while walking and singing about what they saw. In recent years, Aboriginal culture fascinated artists such as Bruce Chatwin and Wim Wenders, who referred to the ‘dreaming tracks’ respectively in the book The Songlines (1987) and in the movie Bis ans Ende der Welt (1991). This essay explores why Aboriginal cosmogonic myth was a powerful metaphor for artistic creation in the works of both Chatwin and Wenders, focusing on the relationship between dreams, travel and writing. ‘By singing the world into existence’—Chatwin wrote in The Songlines—‘the Ancestors had been poets in the original sense of poesis, meaning creation’.

In: Myths of Origins
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My contribute aims at analyzing the relationships between the poetic act and the origin of the universe, focusing on some Renaissance and Late Renaissance works based on the Bible and Ovid’s Metamorphosis (which represents a theoretical and narrative milestone as well). In the Sistine Chapel ceiling paintings by Michelangelo, and in Shakespeare’s and Ronsard’s work, for example, the act of writing or painting – in its variety of forms, myths and patterns – often correspond to the act of re-creating the world. Accordingly, and basing on some theoretical premises (especially Stephen Greenblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashioning, 1980, and Nelson Goodman, Ways of Worldmaking, 1978), I intend to show how this relationship not only contributed to changing the aesthetic canon, for instance giving a pivotal role to the passion as a creative force, but also redefined the notion of literary creation with a new awareness in the path towards modernity.

In: Myths of Origins
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On the basis of the studies of Jean Pierre Vernant and his school, and thanks to the suggestions offered by cyborg hermeneutics to the Greek literary sources (Chesi, Sclavi 2020), this essay aims ‘to go back to the origins’: to the creation myths of the first woman, described by Hesiod in the Theogony and Works and Days respectively. The purpose of this reflection is to highlight how in constructing the narrative, the first narrative in Western literature, of the birth of the female body and of the relationship between the female body and the male body, Hesiod chooses to describe Pandora as the copy of an invisible model of a ‘chaste virgin’. He says nothing about the body of this first female creature, which is in fact bodyless, even if hyper-marked in terms of gender. The first woman, an ‘amalgam of many media, from ceramics and textiles to metalwork’ (Wickkiser 2010) is not biologically generated: she is a technosoma. Her cyborg body is at the origin of the distinction between the sexes, between men and women. At the origins of the world, according to Hesiod, artificial anatomy anticipates the ‘natural.’ Somehow the machine generates the human.

In: Myths of Origins
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The paper focuses on the hypertextual relation between Cesare Pavese’s Dialoghi con Leucò and Hesiod’s Theogony. In particular, it analyzes La rupe, one of the 27 dialogues set in the ancient world: through this close-reading, it shows both similarities and differences between Pavese and Hesiod and, moreover, it demonstrates to what extent Hesiod is a fundamental presence in the overall work. Eventually, it stresses how Pavese’s re-writing of the classical past is directly linked to Hesiod’s conception of the origin of the world, as it clearly emerges in the characterization of what Pavese’s Prometheus calls “monsters”.

In: Myths of Origins

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This essay aims to investigate the myths of origins in contemporary transmediality. In particular, this paper is focused on the analysis of the new expanded universes as the beginning of a new world in terms of mythology. In this light, the new numerous expanded universes produced by transmediality will provide insights into the universality of creation myths as patterns of literary creation. Following H. Jenkins, some transmedia narratives create a more complex overall experience than that provided by any text alone. Consequently, this essay aims to investigate the fluidity of contemporary storytelling, which inevitably lead to the existence of innovative structures.

In: Myths of Origins

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The chapter delves into the concept of origin myths and their significance within the philosophies of Hegel and Heidegger. It contends that the conceptions of myths, particularly those pertaining to origins, by Hegel and Heidegger are considerably more intricate and nuanced than commonly acknowledged. Throughout the analysis, the chapter demonstrates that for both Hegel and Heidegger, the crux of their understanding of origins myths resolves between the interplay between nature and (spiritual) history. Ultimately, the chapter argues that, in their exploration of origin myths, Hegel and Heidegger traverse distinct yet complementary paths; they view myth, which they both regard as encompassing the nexus of nature and history, as a fundamental expression of the experience of what it means to be an I.

In: Myths of Origins
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This essay explores how the appropriation of Longinus’ Peri hupsous in Renaissance theory and practice contributed to the formation of modern authorship in hexameral poetry by focusing on Torquato Tasso’s Il mondo creato (1594, published posthumously in 1607) and John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667). Both narrations of the origins share a number of traits – the language of elevation and transcendence, the poet’s imaginative capacity to create transport and exalted emotion, and the aim for literary greatness – which reveal a continuity with the early modern interpretation of Longinian sublimity as a mark of artistic originality. The essay situates the Italian and English poems within the reception history of the Hellenistic tractate to show how the absorption of Longinus’ ideas on literary creation takes a different understanding of the relationship between sublimity, godhood, and authorship. Overall, the contribution makes a case for the importance of the early modern sublime as the measure of artistic originality when representing divine and human creation.

In: Myths of Origins
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I prefer the Latin word principium (or the Greek arkhé) to the vernacular origin (Latin origo). Origin or origins, like primordia, seems to refer to a beginning or source not precisely identified, whereas principium points to the exact initial cause of a phenomenon or chain of res both in general theory and in works about general theory. The ancient world has left us a number of models for the principium, and these are reviewed by Aristotle in the Metaphysics. They are basically ‘material’ causes, and Aristotle himself will suggest a model with an immaterial Prime Cause. He had been preceded by Plato with the Demiourgos in the Timaeus, and by the Pre-Socratics and Hesiod. He will be followed by at least three great Roman writers – Lucretius, Virgil, and Ovid. Each one of them, like each one of their Greek predecessors, formulated a cosmogonic model. All, however, were eventually made superfluous by the Biblical Creation model, which has dominated Western culture for nearly two thousand years. Darwin’s Origin of the Species and the Big Bang theory have dealt mortal blows to the Creationist imaginaire. What do contemporary poets do with the Principia? The lecture starts with Haroldo de Campos and his Máquina do mundo repensada, but ends with Ernesto Cardenal, Francis Ponge, Raymond Queneau, and Italo Calvino.

In: Myths of Origins