Place in Literature: Regions, Cultures, Communities

By Roberto M. Dainotto | Go to book overview

After Strange Gods
Conclusions on the Literature of Place and
Region

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place

— T. S. ELIOT, Ash-Wednesday

A famous chorus from the Antigone begins as a praise of man: many things on earth are wondrous but none more wondrous than man. He crosses the wild seas, captures the birds, overcomes the beast in every aspect; he has learned speech, too, and the art of building cities to escape the inhospitable hills; he never meets his destiny without resource:

Skillful beyond hope is the contrivance of his art, and he advances sometimes to evil, at other times to good. When he applies the laws of the earth [χθoνὸς] and the justice the gods have sworn to uphold he is high in the city [ὑψίπoλις]; outcast from the city [ἄπoλις] is he with whom the ignoble consorts for the sake of gain. 1.

____________________
1.
Sophocles, Antigone, in Antigone. The Women of Trachis. Philoctetes. Oedipus at Colonus, vol. 2, ed. and trans. Hugh Lloyd-Jones ( Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press), 37.

-163-

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