VTU Review: Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences
“ST. CYRIL AND ST. METHODIUS” UNIVERSITY OF VELIKO TARNOVO - UNIVERSITY PRESS

Varia: The Enduring Power of the Classical World View


Authors:
David Jenkins Paisii Hilendarski University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Pages: 76-86
DOI: https://doi.org/10.54664/OXNN5529

Abstract:

For the poet, prophet, and politician, as for the lover, the king, and the anthropologist, the human is the measure of all things. Philosophers and psychologists define us as a perceiving consciousness, an object determined by the environment, a subject not only capable of heroic individualism but also of esoteric understanding. For some, our measure is beyond things and our true worth lies not only in the here and now but rather in our freedom to transcend the bounds of self and prevail beyond the limits of temporality. For the artist, whose creative consciousness aims to redeem the human image from the constraints of brute anonymity, the questions about our status must be asked if not finally answered. The article considers the role that the classical world view plays in the process of artistic redemption. It looks at the Judeo-Christian and Classical legacies and their interpretations. Nineteenth-century Russian literature and religious philosophy are then analysed. The article winds up with a reading of select poems by Osip Mandelstam as special attention is paid to the ethical stance of the poet when confronted with the dictates of totalitarian power.

Keywords:

classical world view, Judeo-Christian tradition, Russian literature, Osip Mandelstam, ethics, totalitarianism

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