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date: 05 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces the unique role Hesiodic poetry has played in the history of thought throughout the twentieth century, with a focus on two main areas: Freudian constructs and structuralism. The chapter demonstrates how Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents in the first half of the century parallels key narrative themes from Hesiodic poetry. Freud, however, did not often invoke Hesiod directly in this work, and such lack of conscious reference may be the strongest indication of the influence Hesiodic narrative exerted as a dominant psychological and cultural paradigm in the early twentieth century. Concerning the development of structuralism in the second half of the twentieth century, the chapter discusses how classical scholars, such as Vernant, Detienne, and Pucci, have caused Hesiod to play a key role in broader debates on the relationship among history, structure, and political power in postwar France. Ultimately, the chapter demonstrates how Hesiodic poetry has been and continues to remain a rich source for theorizing the present.

Keywords: Theogony, Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, structuralism, Vernant, Detienne, Pucci, Foucault, Derrida

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