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Furio Jesi. Myth, Politics, History



Furio Jesi. Myth, Politics, History

Three short documentaries curated by Alberto Toscano
With Andrea Cavalletti, Alberto Toscano, Cristina Viti

Furio Jesi was a historian of religion, literary critic and pioneering thinker of the role of myth in literature, politics and culture.
Born in Turin in 1941, Jesi devoted his first research efforts to archaeology and Egyptology. With no formal degree, he published, from the age of 15, a series of studies on ancient Greece and Egypt.

In 1964 Jesi met Károly Kerényi, with whom be began an intense correspondence about myth and its instrumental misrepresentation for the purposes of political propaganda, leading to his critical reprise of Kerényi’s distinction between “genuine myth” and “technicized myth”.
In 1967 Jesi published Secret Germany – a study of the survival of some mythical images in the German literature of the 19th and 20th centuries – followed in 1968 by Literature and Myth, published by Einaudi thanks to the involvement of Italo Calvino.

At the time of the Parisian revolt of 1968, Jesi’s relationship with Kerényi experienced a dramatic and irreversible break. On his return from Paris, Jesi began to write Spartakus, a collection of essays about the symbology of revolt, in which the Berlin of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht lives in and merges with the Paris of 1968 and the Commune of 1871, and casts its shadow over Jesi’s city, the Turin of the students’ and workers’ struggles.

Between Autumn 1971 and January 1973 Jesi embarked on a period of feverish effort: he published seven books and wrote several essays, edited Archaic Roman Religion by Georges Dumézil, translated Elias Canetti’s Crowds and Power and began a substantial translation and commentary project of Johann Jacob Bachofen’s Mutterrecht.

In 1972 he also forged the interpretative model of the “mythological machine”, fine-tuned in the essays The Feast and the Mythological Machine and Reading of Rimbaud’s “Bateau ivre”, in which he presented in a new light the problem of the suspension of time and the notion of the space of the city when myth coincides with history.

At the time of his premature death in 1980, Jesi left a huge body of work that also includes a poetry collection, a vampire novel and a fantasy book for children.

The series

1 SeptemberI. Alberto Toscano on Spartakus (18’)  
8 SeptemberII. Cristina Viti on Time and Festivity (14’)
15 SeptemberIII. Andrea Cavalletti on Secret Germany (21’)

Films by Daniel Renwick and Paolo Marzoni
English subtitles by Alberto Toscano

Many thanks to Sofia and Stefano Jesi and the sources credited in each film

Furio Jesi’s books are published by Seagull Books

Spartakus. The Symbology of Revolt - Introduction by Andrea Cavalletti, translated by Alberto Toscano
Time and Festivity. Essays on Myth and Literature - Edited by Andrea Cavalletti, translated by Cristina Viti
Secret Germany. Myth in Twentieth-Century German Culture - Translated by Richard Braude




Date: Da Wednesday, September 01, 2021 a Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Organized by : ICI London

Entrance : Free