Myths of Europe
Myths of Europe focuses on the identity of Europe, seeking to re-assess its cultural, literary and political traditions in the context of the 21st century. Over 20 authors – historians, political scientists, literary scholars, art and cultural historians – from five countries here enter into a debate. How far are the myths by which Europe has defined itself for centuries relevant to its role in global politics after 9/11? Can ‘Old Europe’ maintain its traditional identity now that the European Union includes countries previously supposed to be on its periphery? How has Europe handled relations with the non-European Other in the past and how is it reacting now to an influx of immigrants and asylum seekers? It becomes clear that founding myths such as Hamlet and St Nicholas have helped construct the European consciousness but also that these and other European myths have disturbing Eurocentric implications. Are these myths still viable today and, if so, to what extent and for what purpose? This volume sits on the interface between culture and politics and is important reading for all those interested in the transmission of myth and in both the past and the future of Europe.