Press Release: Gere, Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism

May 21, 2009
By

jacket imageThroughout human history, people have looked to the ancient world for lost knowledge and timeless wisdom—perhaps never more so than in the aftermath of World War I, whose swathe of devastation left millions dead and the Enlightenment dream in ruins. So when British archaeologist Arthur Evans began publishing breathless accounts of the ancient Minoan civilization he was uncovering on Crete—pagan, pacifistic, and matriarchal—it fired the imaginations of a whole generation of artists and intellectuals.
With Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism, Cathy Gere tells the story of Evans’s excavations and their wide-ranging influence on the world of Western ideas. Over the first three decades of the twentieth century, Evans’s fanciful depiction of Minoan society drew the fervent attention of writers, artists, and thinkers who were at the forefront of the burgeoning modernist movement, including Robert Graves, H.D., Girgio de Chirico, Sigmund Freud, and James Joyce. As Gere traces the unexpected paths of Evans’s ideas through the lives and works of these figures, what emerges is an unforgettable portrait of an age of wrenching change—and of those who responded to it with intellectual vigor and fervid innovation.
Read the press release.

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