Prometheus in the Nineteenth Century: From Myth to Symbol

Prometheus in the Nineteenth Century: From Myth to Symbol

by Caroline Corbeau-Parsons

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"On Zeus' order, Prometheus was chained to Mount Caucasus where, every day, he was to endure his liver being devoured by a bird of prey - his punishment for bringing fire to mankind. Through the impulse of Goethe, his fortune went through radical changes: the Titan, originally perceived as a trickster, was established both as a creator and a rebel freed from guilt, and he became a mask for the Romantic artist. This cross-disciplinary study, encompassing literature, the history of art, and music, examines the constitution of the Prometheus myth and the revolution it underwent in 19th-century Europe. It leads to the Symbolist period - which witnessed the coronation of the Titan as a prism for the total work of art - and aims to re-establish the importance of Prometheus amongst other major Symbolist figures such as Orpheus."

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781351192132
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 12/02/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 200
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Caroline Corbeau-Parsons is Assistant Curator 1850-1915 at Tate Britain.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

List of Illustrations x

Introduction 1

Part I From the Beginnings to the Nineteenth Century

1 'Archaic' and 'Intermediate' Myths, or the Primitive Constitution of the Prometheus Myth 8

2 From Antiquity to Christianity 19

3 Prometheus during the Renaissance and Beyond 24

Part II The Nineteenth-Century Turning Point: From Myth to Symbol

1 Genius and Creation: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 38

2 The Romantic Revolution: Byron and Shelley 57

3 The Mask of the Artist: Victor Hugo, Franz Liszt and Honoré de Balzac 70

Part III Prometheus and the Crisis of Faith

1 Symbolism and Myth 86

2 'The Twilight of the Gods' 102

3 Prometheus at the Heart of Symbolist Syncretism 112

Part IV The Many Faces of Prometheus

1 Gustave Moreau, Prometheus and Jesus Christ 132

2 The Vitalist Prometheus 141

3 The Cross-Fertilization of the Prometheus Myth by the Pygmalion Myth 157

4 Prometheus and the Total Work of Art 168

Conclusion 181

Bibliography 185

Index 193

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