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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 28, Issue 1, 2018

Art as a Philosophy

Bogna J. Gladden-Obidzińska
Pages 177-194

The Labyrinth: Revisited and Reinhabited
Interpreting the Minoan Myth as a Metaphor for Contemporary Culture

This article reconstructs and interprets the evolution of the Minoan myth’s reception in literature, fine arts, and urban development during the twentieth century. The author’s understanding of this evolution is based on three assumptions: a) myth is a polysemantic symbol of metaphysical and historical origins and function; b) myth reflects the relationship of the cognitive vs. creative mechanisms of human activity; and c) as symbolic, myth’s form must be treated as an image as much as it is a (discursive) narrative. As a motif in literature and the arts, the Minoan myth in particular has displayed all three of these aspects by allowing first its heroic narrative and, more recently, its formal structure (i.e., the tragic maze of moral and intellectual values) and visual setting (i.e., the actual labyrinth) to serve as porte-paroles of ongoing social and civilisational transformations: aestheticisation, deconstruction of cognitive and political hierarchies, technicisation, and intensive urbanisation. The displacement of the narrative and of the figure of the Minotaur is interpreted from the perspectives of psychoanalysis and post-structuralism.

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