Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ovid reads the New York Tomis

The idea that “truth” is situational and changing, always best described in quote marks, has emerged in many areas of contemporary thought. Ideas of situationalism, disorder as a natural state, and perpetual change (emphasis mine) are implicit in the thinking of Darwin, Marx and Freud. Quantum physics further undermined the idea that we can know everything with observations like the Uncertainty Principle. Postmodern philosophy and literary theory also questions [sic] the idea of objective reality, in favor of knowledge based on things like political background or sexual orientation. Put another way, when William Butler Yeats wrote “the center cannot hold,” he also stated the anxiety of our age. That was in 1919.
The words in bold highlight certain aspects of Ovid's metamorphic world that our readings have found it necessary to grapple with. We exclaim how "modern" Ovid's work seems. Yet think of him getting the New York Times delivered to him inTomis. As he reads the passage above, what does he make of this stunted fragment of human imagination dropped from 2000 years into the future?

   Delacroix: Ovid among the Scythians

(Thanks to Peter D'Epiro for pointing us to this great painting.)

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