Fact to Fiction

David Cowles

Jul 14, 2021

Following up on my previous post, in Ancient Greece the concept of the individual as actor had not yet emerged. Human beings were the passive pawns of forces beyond their control, or even their ken. A late 20th century movie, “The Gods must be Crazy”, could easily have been set in Ancient Greece (rather than contemporary Africa). In fact, you could view Greek Mythology as the first Literature of the Absurd.

Following up on my previous post, in Ancient Greece the concept of the individual as actor had not yet emerged. Human beings were the passive pawns of forces beyond their control, or even their ken. A late 20th century movie, “The Gods must be Crazy”, could easily have been set in Ancient Greece (rather than contemporary Africa). In fact, you could view Greek Mythology as the first Literature of the Absurd.


As Greek mythology gradually transitioned from ‘fact’ to ‘fiction’, it was replaced by Roman pragmatism and the Christian ethic of personal responsibility. Thus began the Age of Reason, the culture of cause and effect. Not until the 20th century was this world view seriously challenged: by Artaud, Ionesco and Beckett (“Waiting for Godot”), by the short stories of Sartre and Camus, and by the novels of Alain Robbe-Grillet.

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