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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: October 2020


from Part I - The Moon in the Mythic Imagination


In the Apollo era, photographic images revealed the lunar landscape to us for the first time. Overnight, our mysterious opaline luminary – the fanciful home of insectoid Selenites, bat-men or benevolent lunar spirits – became a rock in space, a forlorn and uninhabited outpost of our world. But the ancient Greeks and Roman did not know this yet: they did not know what the Moon was made of (fire? ice? cloud?), or what caused it to change its shape each month, and they were fascinated by it – ‘haunted by its thereness’, to paraphrase John Updike, in a poem about the mysterious lunar presence.