Politicized Pans

David Roessel

in In Byron's Shadow

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780195143867
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199871872 | DOI:
Politicized Pans

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This chapter shows that following the “rebirth” of Greece in 1833, the Western world began to look for signs of the promised revitalization that had been confidently assumed in earlier philhellenic literature. From 1833 until 1900, philhellenes and Turkophiles fought over their ideas on the degree of progress that had been made in Greece. However, toward the end of the 19th century, intellectuals in Britain and America began to turn away from the Victorian view of science and advancement as a sign of progress. In opposition to the perceived ugliness and emptiness of modern urban life, a pastoral ideal once again found favor. As at the end of the 18th century, a hundred years later the ancient Greeks again occupied a special place in the pastoral vogue. For many thinkers of European descent the ancient Greek world still represented their collective, lost, bucolic past. The importance of Greek antiquity in this desire to return to nature is supported by Samuel Hynes's observation that “Pan is a particularly prominent figure” in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods.

Keywords: modern Greeks; Greece; philhellenism; pastoral ideal; Greek antiquity

Chapter.  12109 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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