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Posts Tagged ‘Crete’

The Times Literary Supplement has an utterly fascinating essay on Minoan civilization, James Joyce’s Ulysses, Arthur Evans’ reconstruction of Knossos, and the role of ancient Crete in European modernism.

“Arthur Evans, the eccentric Englishman who led the excavations, was, if anything, even more creative in his reconstruction of the Bronze Age than Schliemann had earlier been. The fabulously ancient palace of Knossos enjoys, as Gere points out in her arresting first sentence, “the dubious distinction of being one of the first reinforced concrete buildings ever erected on the island”. The complex of buildings gawped at by thousands upon thousands of tourists every year owes less to the masons of the Minoan age than it does to the example of modernist architecture. On Crete, the archaic and the contemporary, both of them recreated in the image of the other, would end up generating a cultural Möbius Strip. “Not only did the Minoan past provide inspiration to the modern movement, it was itself a modernist structure, enfolding past and present into a closed loop of aesthetic self-referentiality.”

Read the full essay; you’re also invited to visit Knossos on our illuminating Mediterranean cruises.

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TDI’s textual archaeologists have been digging, and they have unearthed a rare find: an epistle by the writer Mary Lee Settle on the lure of ancient cities. We think it captures the essence of where we travel, why we travel, and how we travel, and it bears quoting in full. She writes:

How many miles to Babylon
Three score and ten
Can I get there by candlelight?
Aye, and back again.

FROM THE NURSERY RHYMES THROUGH the fairy tales and into the yearning to travel that comes after – the city is there, the one that has caught the rhythms of dreams and silence. I can go. I can find it – Baghdad, Ecbatana, the Cities of the Plain, Troy and Carthage and Trebizond and Petra and Lhasa -whatever legendary city has been in my mind and sometimes in my dreams since childhood. I must unearth it, or crawl through labyrinths, or dive, or go by donkey, or simply sit and dream.

A legend is a story that no one can take away from you. It is secret. It must be as far away in place as Shangri-La, as deep in time past as the dreams of Miniver Cheevy and in time future as adolescent hopes – neither mundane here nor mundane now. It is a place to be discovered on one’s own, whether in reality, as Heinrich Schliemann did when he followed his own dream to the Troad, or in poetry. (more…)

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Ruth Hill, of Copley News Service, writes about her enrapturement with Heinrich Schliemann, Alexander the Great, St. Paul, and more while on a Travel Dynamics International cruise. If you’d like a sample of the lovely, fascinating cruises that Travel Dynamics International can provide, click here.

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