Modernism, as a powerful movement, saw the literary and artistic traditions, as well as pure science, starting to evolve radically, creating a crisis, even chaos, in culture and society. Within this chaos, myth offered an ordered picture of that world employing symbolic and poetic images.
Both W.B. Yeats and Angelos Sikelianos embraced myth and symbols because they liberate imagination and raise human consciousness, bringing together humans and the cosmos. Being opposed to the rigidity of scientific materialism that inhibits spiritual development, the two poets were waiting for a new age and a new religion, expecting that they, themselves, would inspire their community and usher in the change. In their longing for a new age, archaeology was a magnetic field for Yeats and Sikelianos, as it was for many writers and thinkers. After Sir Arthur Evans’s discovery of the Minoan Civilization where women appeared so peacefully prominent, the dream of re-creating a gynocentric mythology was no longer a fantasy.
In Yeats’s and Sikelianos’s gynocentric mythology, the feminine figure appears in various forms and, like in a drama, it plays different roles. Significantly, a gynocentric mythology permeates the work of the two poets and this mythology is of pivotal importance in their poetry, their poetics and even in their life as the intensity of their creative desire brought to them female personalities to inspire and guide them.
Indeed, in Yeats’s and Sikelianos’s gynocentric mythology, the image of the feminine holds a place within a historical context taking the reader into a larger social, political and religious space.
All Rights Available
Psoni shows the importance of, and the various roles played by, the feminine figure in the work of both W.B. Yeats and Angelos Sikelianos, highlighting the essential role assumed by the gynocentric mythology permeating the work of the two poets.
Anastasia Psoni studied Greek and English Literature and taught both subjects for a number of years in Northern Greece. She also received an MEd from the University of Manchester and an MA in Modern Greek Literature from King’s College, London, before going on to teach Greek and Modern Greek Literature in the Hellenic College of London and then at Queen’s University, Belfast. Over the years, she has produced and directed plays in Greece and in London and took part in study groups in England and the United States, exploring religion and philosophy.