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This chapter provides a broad overview of existing anthropological work on exemplars and proposes a new relational way of understanding exemplarity. Most existing philosophical and anthropological work on exemplarity has taken an explicitly functionalist approach. Academics have often valued exemplars because of their ‘articulatory power’ to connect the world of things with the world of ideas. This chapter advances this conversation by examining exemplarity as a relationship between persons and things rather than an attribute of either. In doing so, the chapter explores the social effort that is required to stabilize exemplars in the world, and it shows how the creation of exemplars always goes hand in hand with scepticism and critique. Finally, the chapter investigates whether the modern world has been overcome by scepticism towards exemplars such that we now face a ‘crisis of exemplarity’ in which only ‘everyday exemplars’ can be recognized.
Chapter 4 examines in detail the early medieval evidence for godlings in Britain, from both Brittonic and Old English sources, dealing in turn with the main categories of folkloric beings such as fauns, elves, the various categories of supernatural women, pygmies and giants. The chapter stresses the interaction between folk belief and learned commentary, identifying biblical commentary and the work of Church Fathers such as Isidore of Seville as the main source of discussions about godlings and, perhaps, as the source of much of the folklore itself. It is the argument of the chapter that by the time of the Norman Conquest, the various elements of fairy lore were present in British popular belief but had yet to be brought together into a single synthesis. These elements included a belief in wild ‘men of the woods’ gifted with prophetic powers; belief in elves; belief in supernatural women, often in a triad, governing the fates of human beings; belief in diminutive otherworlders, sometimes living beneath the earth and belief in heroes who have somehow become supernatural beings.
The introduction provides necessary background on Ancient Greek religious and literary ideas about the afterlife, methods for analyzing ethics in literature that several of the chapters will challenge, a working definition of tragic poetics, and historical context and preliminary definitions relevant for political structures and themes in the Oresteia.
The Oresteia is permeated with depictions of the afterlife, which have never been examined together. In this book, Amit Shilo analyzes their intertwined and conflicting implications. He argues for a 'poetics of multiplicity' and a 'poetics of the beyond' that inform the ongoing debates over justice, fate, ethics, and politics in the trilogy. The book presents novel, textually grounded readings of Cassandra's fate, Clytemnestra's ghost scene, mourning ritual, hero cult, and punishment by Hades. It offers a fresh perspective on the political thought of the trilogy by contrasting the ethical focus of the Erinyes and Hades with Athena's insistence on divine unity and warfare. Shedding new light on the trilogy as a whole, this book is crucial reading for students and scholars of classical literature and religion.
Addressing the barriers we put in the way of our writing. The need to be prepared to experiment: all landmark fiction has tried something that hasn’t been tried before. Understanding that ‘failure’ is part of the learning process. Don’t listen to inhibiting inner voices: there is nothing you’re not allowed to write and you can always edit later. Allow yourself substandard drafts – then you have something to build on.
‘Accept the difficulties, expect things to be initially unsatisfactory, and start writing.’
The assassination of Talat Pasha by Soghomon Tehlirian on 15 March 1921 in Berlin, as well as Tehlirian’s trial and acquittal on 2–3 June 1921, have contributed to the formation of conflicting legacies of the Armenian Genocide. Though minuscule in terms of violence and legal ramifications, these events and their reimagination in contentious narratives have shaped a dominant prism of sensemaking in Turkish-Armenian relations. In the imagination of rival groups, Talat and Tehlirian compete for the very same normative categories of hero and victim at once and each are demonized as a villain and perpetrator. Moreover, it is each figure’s embodiment of martyrdom and revenge that explains why their heroizations have proved so enduring and effective across time and space. This mutual framework of sensemaking, which I call the Talat-Tehlirian complex, ultimately denies the chances of historical reconciliation. In terms of its theoretical implications, this case study explains how a martyr-avenger complex can continuously demand solidarity, sustain grievances, and sacralize violence in post-conflict societies. Based on a thick description of what happened in Berlin in 1921 and its contentious narratives across different generations, this paper calls for a transition to a post-heroic age in Turkish-Armenian relations.
This chapter reverses the usual direction of travel in this question, and examines Genesis 6:1–4, a difficult passage in which divine beings are said to have taken mortal wives, who bore them offspring described as ‘the heroes of old, the men with a name’. The author supports the view that this reflects Greek influence on the Old Testament, and offers thoughts on the ways in which the Greek material was transmitted, and how the comparison can enhance our understanding of both the Greek and the Biblical narratives.
The politics of memory plays an important role in the ways certain figures are evaluated and remembered, as they can be rehabilitated or vilified, or both, as these processes are contested. We explore these issues using a transition society, Georgia, as a case study. Who are the heroes and villains in Georgian collective memory? What factors influence who is seen as a hero or a villain and why? How do these selections correlate with Georgian national identity? We attempt to answer these research questions using a newly generated data set of contemporary Georgian perspectives on recent history. Our survey results show that according to a representative sample of the Georgian population, the main heroes from the beginning of the twentieth century include Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Ilia Chavchavadze, and Patriarch Ilia II. Eduard Shevardnadze, Sergo Ordzhonikidze, and Vladimir Putin represent the main villains, and those that appear on both lists are Mikheil Saakashvili and Joseph Stalin. We highlight two clusters of attitudes that are indicative of how people think about Georgian national identity, mirroring civic and ethnic conceptions of nationalism. How Georgians understand national identity impacts not only who they choose as heroes or villains, but also whether they provide an answer at all.
Italian football is renowned as much for the passion of its spectators as it is for the quality of its players, yet these spectators are understudied. Those studies that have been conducted have generally focused on the problems of violence and racism associated with some of the more extreme supporters, the so-called ultras. This paper aims to complement that research by analysing a different aspect of the passions of Italian spectators, namely the emotional ties they create with particular players upon whom they confer a special, hero-like status. Our interest lies not in questioning the legitimacy of this status, but rather in looking at what the history of these emotional attachments reveals of the football supporters themselves, and of their relationship to the football club they support. This paper focuses on the intense relationship supporters of Associazione Sportiva Roma have had with two key players: Agostino Di Bartolomei and Francesco Totti. Drawing on a large body of texts including graffiti, newspapers, talkback radio, popular accounts and internet fan forums, along with psychoanalysis and classical mythology, the authors trace the way each of these players was granted a specific heroic status that evolved and changed over time, and how the passions they provoked became part of the ever transforming culture and identity of Rome. In particular we explore how the tales and cultural texts devoted to football players can reveal something of the emotional worlds and experiences of a city's inhabitants, and the way local memories and identities are remembered, retold and forgotten through passionate engagement with the football players who represent them on the broader national and international stage.
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