Comenius 2008-2010 Multilateral Project

This site is an outcome of the Comenius 2008-2010 multilateral project "European Journey Through Legends".


"Becoming more European does not mean forgetting our national cultural heritage, but sharing it with other European nation".

Let's Talk About Myths

Ancient Greek mythology and theater, and Aesop through his myths, have influenced a great part of what we call western civilization and not only him. Names of planets, cars, people come directly even today from ancient Greek myths, whereas theatrical figures like Medeia and Antigona are still been played all over the world. Aesop's myths have become cartoon stories from Russia to Argentina and from Japan to the States. 

Alexander the Great

Alexander was a person that became myth even before his death. After that we find mentions of Alexander not only in  many cultures of the East but also in the West , where during the Middle ages his novella was the second most popular book after the Bible. 

 Akrites (border guards)


Military figures protectors of the borders of Byzantine Empire took mythological dimensions in peoples imagination

 Religious stories
After becoming Christians, people in the East Roman Empire embedded a deep religious feeling often speaking about miracles and stories of Gods interventions. 


Traditional Greek fairy tails



Stories of pre-industrial communities, rich in common elements all over Europe, especially in the Balkan Peninsula where the Turkish occupation created a common political background in a vast area from Romania to Greece.  

The basic educational aim from this meeting was not to present Greek myths. It has no meaning each country to present her myths only at her ground and only once in two years. So, the main idea was to give elements of a method to approach myth.

Myth-legend-fairy tail are social narrations, narrations that are both socialized and socializing. They are a description of relations, in fact they are  a definition procedure, a discrimination between holy and unholy, formal and common, but basically between "us" and "others".  We began by explaining the basic perspective of "us" and the "others" and the historical background of the word culture in order to discuss if cultural heritage can be lived by "others". Culture is, first of all, a space (not an idea) for some or an open system in a situation of a dynamic balance for others. The system has limits and accepts foreign elements, while at the same time discard old items in roughly equal proportion. It changes gradually concerning its form. So the heterogeneity of cultures is something given. The problem is how to interpret the criteria and the provision will put them in variety cultures.

If myth-legend-fairy tail construct and use as material familiar icons with the ones lived by the community to which they refer to and they separate the foreign from native

  •  a) can we find common elements in our myths-legends-fairy tails
and 
  • b) can we really understand as foreigners the narrations of the "others".

If any common elements considered as universal characteristics, the question then arose of how to explain the cultural variety, diversity and heterogeneity. On the other hand, if the attitudes were seen as different, then the question of whether short-or was decisive, qualitative and discontinuous differences between "us" the modern rational, and "them" the primitive non-rational, whether if all human societies simply held different positions in an evolutionary continuum, in bases and interests in the skeleton of which was the "mental unity of man". In other words, how can we understand «other» cultures with their own (as far as possible) conditions, but in our own language (work, that's ultimately, which are also associated the mapping of the ideas and practices which are similar to the Western's ones, with European categories of mind and knowledge, hoping to analyze and modify the conditions so as to obtain a language of anthropology? These approaches have this in common: that as they attempt the analysis of a kind of analytic speech they go on to analyze the same speech which they produce. Culture is not inherited, it is learned. Man is the only animal – at least in line with the findings today - who has outsourced his memory and has placed it outside the individual, to the society. So, any new member of a society should integrate his team’s memory which is based in the community, mainly through language In order to survive, the man should be “socialized”. This must have been Aristotle’s thought, when he said that man is «a socialized animal», and that lone man means «either a beast or a god».

The outsourced memory of the group, as it is referred by Leroi Gourhan, is what man uses in order to be socialized, in other words the tradition and the means of transmission and the message itself People in the small rural communities continue to feel close to Nature, be integrated into Nature. The types of forces that governed their lives were the only thing that changed their point of view through millennium. Therefore in our rural folk tradition there is a thread of unity and continuity. In oral societies there is fluidity between past, present and future: one adapted to another, without anyone caring about the «objective truth», which is also a sense of literate culture.

"Myths (like love songs) have the ability to seem suitable for anything. It is from this generalising and analyzing ability of theirs that they gain such power upon our everyday life." It is a way of thinking that can be adopted or to use any social group or person.  Social structure and mythology can follow different paths each with according to different determinant factors. But one affects the other. The importance of mythology can not be located in isolated elements constituting the myth. It should be the way in which these elements are combined in totals. So we must take into account the entire dynamic of transformations resulting from this combination.

The language in myth presents special properties that go beyond the common language level. The method is recommended, as states, in implementing this non-linguistic material of the principles of the so-called "phonological revolution" (the introduction of meaning "voice" in linguistic research). Leaning in the same logic can anthropologist at this stage to identify the components of cultural behaviours, the rituals, customs, kinship relations, the rules of marriage, methods of cooking, the Totem systems. The constituents are not isolated or as separate sets, but with respect to conflicting relationships between them, relations that structure their phonological similar to the structure of language.


This in short means that each system (affinity, food, political ideology, marriage ritual, cooking, etc.) constitutes an individual expression of the entire culture is ultimately a unique giant tongue.

As in phonological tackling language, emphasis is placed in an arbitrary and systematic nature of individual systems: it is structured systems and building signs, and the manner in which they are expressed as symbolic, self-regulatory and self-sufficient.



 Sections and analytical discrimination



We can start with the basic proposal mentioned just above, that the myth has obvious links with the same natural language. Certainly the analogy between the myth and the language is not precise, and certainly the "mythos" should not be manipulated like language, because in order to distinguish its specificity, we must show that it is the same as the language and also something different from her.

The “mythimata”, the smallest unit of analysis of the myths are the constituent units of the myth in terms of the proposal. If we dispel the myth in smaller proposals we will see that whatever their position is in the chain of narrative, these narrative proposals are associated in metonymy or metaphoric (if they are analyzed), they compose groups that make up a kind of relationship. So if a function (e.g. treason) instead to stay riveted in its place in the narrative chain, and associated with other on the basis of a common characteristic, this may seem notify only if the operation demonstrated the relationship of a subject, the "katigorima". The “mythima” is a structural unit with which the scholar rewrites the essential elements of the myth. It is therefore an analytical unit rather than a narrative drive.

These relationships are structural constituent units of the myth and reveal the symbolic nature only when they are part of a series of relationships that is only as a combination of relations (relations between relations).

The combinations of these relationships which work and are resolved in the legend on two pillars: the modern and timeless. The myth always refers to events which allegedly occurred sometime in the past; the myth as a «historical narrative» is temporal. But it is also sectional, since it is timely reversible- as an instrument for the interpretation of today or of the future. Finally, the structure of the myth is timeless, intercultural and inter-historical.

The key point for structural analysis myths is that not only metonymy and metaphor  (otherwise: the constitutional chain and exemplary link) combined, but its importance depends transforms up from the manner in one another, and viceversa.



The Horizontal And The Myth Of The Endorsement Vertical



The horizontal and vertical view of the myth
The variants of a myth are settled into sets so that the horizontal axis show the sequence of the mythical events and facts, while individual relationships are grouped in vertical axes. The vertical columns form sets of relationships in which, relationships are classified as belonging to a group that transmits a defined and limited information, regardless of the sequence of events in one variant.

The horizontal axis (the Constitutional chain) is required when we are reading a myth. The vertical axis (EXEMPLARY LINK) is required when we try to understand.

Here is the example from the analysis of the ancient Greek myth of Oedipus.

a. Constitutional chain

        1. Kadmos is looking for his sister Europe, which Zeus has grasped.
        2. Kadmos kills the dragon.
        3. The Spartis (which sprang from the broken teeth of the dragon) kill each other.
        4. Oedipus kills his father Laios.
        5. Oedipus kills the Sphinx.
        6. Oedipus gets married to his mother Jocasta.
        7. Eteoklis kills Polynikis.
        8. Antigoni buries her brother Polynikis, despite the ban.
        9. Lavdakos (father of Laios) = lame
            Laios (father of Oedipus) = left
            Oedipus = with hurt legs

b. Exemplary links



  
I = overestimation of kinship ties
II = devaluation of kinship ties
III = depopulation of «abnormal» human beings; denial of indigenous origin and the human relationship with nature
IV = insistence on indigenous origin and relationship with nature: people who have some normality  

Already by this point the triple mention of myth-legend-fairy tail must have been in question. Are they all the same? Of course they are not complete synonyms. The main differences between myth and fairy tail were pictured in a detailed diagram.

As I said, the myth-unlike the fairytale- is built on a basic contradiction which is the current social problems. Contradictions like life/death, we/other, man/woman. With mediation instead of (rather) position and the report of various solutions, the myth is trying to overcome «for the moment» these contradictions.

 


Myth as proved needed more words in order to understand their social function. So after giving some general characteristics of myth we presented some difficulties in de-coding and de-constructing myth. Then we suggested the horizontal and vertical reading of the myth as a solution to the difficulties mentioned before. 



Diet and Myths



The diet is directly related to the survival and the life therefore falls into one of the key pair contraries which constitute the basis of any mythological representation. All societies have a system with special diets cultural rules in each case. And as far as nutrition is concerned we are talking about a social learned and experienced behaviour, but all its members have not always or necessarily access to the material and symbolic content of the diet. Nutrition is an area rich in social meanings since it is related with the basic biological needs – more basic than reproduction. The preparation and the taking of food is a complex cultural activity. Anything we eat and the way we eat is an effective way to declare ourselves and others, not only what we are and what socially but also what we would like to be.

The food summarizes humans’ relation with nature. The cooking, the kitchen, the preparation of food to eat is an activity that mediate between nature and culture. To make a precise nature culture. And indeed complex. The kitchen of a culture classifies:

  • the raw / cooked
  • the-wild / civilized
  • the holy / unholy
  • we-the / other
  • the man / animal
  • the permissible / prohibited
  • daily / official
  • health / disease
  • the life / death
Key words which are associated with the metal, body condition and the mood of the person use the glossary of food, since eating works as a metaphor for both the body and social organization.  


Food piramid




All this oppositional semantics of food, the metaphoric way of her meanings and strength to transform materials and the nature generally confirm her relationship with the world of myth, which distorts the evidence and grade with the truth of life, with the opposites.  



ORFEAS AND HONEY



Initially the Myths of Greeks and Romans regarded by scholars as indications of Wild Thought. Later philologists,in the effort not to remain outside its cultural heritage Greek-roman’s attach the story to the general literature context. After the second half of the 20th century proposed to read again the Myths after the study of South American and with its own data choose. So the myth of Orpheus and the carrying were very strong images (song to captivate the entire nature and of victory over death) but also it was recorded very strongly in literature of the Western world. 







«Aristaios, the inventor of honey bees, was send away from his bees. After he entered into mourning he goes to find his mother, the nymph of Kyrini which in turn sends him to the wise prophet Proteus.  Aristaios captures Proteus and despite his transformations of the latter he is forced to reveal that the bees had left Aristaios to punish a serious misconduct. Aristaios had chase Eurydice, who in order to escape she poured herself on a huge water snake and she died. Desperate Orpheus, her man he searches her in Hades. Persephone was ached by his voice and gave him back   Eurydice on condition not to talk, not to look and not to be touched until they reached home. Orpheus forgot  the ban and turned to look at Eurydice.  He lost her for good this time and then he lost himself from an attack of the women’ s he was rejecting afterwards  disappointed for the lost of his love. Following these revelations Proteus disappears after revealing how the restoration of relations between Aristaios – bees would happen . »

Some questions result directly :

  • Why did Aristaios hunt Eurydice, and not an another woman?
  • Why this prosecution was open to the anger of bees, which seem to have no relationship with her?
  • The relationship of Orpheus with Aristaios was explained only by the common reference to Eurydice? 





HONEY AND WEDDINGS-HONEYBEES


The bees act as symbols of a pure and unspoiled way of life with the characteristic vegetarian diet. Demanding the cleaning , not using perfumes   associated with the self-indulgence,and corruption.

Once   Aristaios wanted Eurydice , he emitted  the scent of corruption so long that  the colonies left. Aristaios had the reputation of the virtuous husband of the daughter of the King of Thebes which he took as a gift  after the good of honey (honey = symbol of marital relations). In another incident, the mythological goddess Demeter mourning her daughter Persephone she visited King Melissea. To thank him for his hospitality when she left she gave the fabric that her daughter was weaving for  Thesmoforia,  celebrations of women in marriage. Since the Thesmophoria were celebrated the future spouses shall be entitled bees.

Another association of honey with the marital relationship we can find in Plutarch where the writer urges the husband to  show to his wife the same interest as  the beekeeper for the cells.
If we take the bride as intermediary between mother and daughter, then the period during which a woman is a bride is probably the first months of her marriage.

Like the bees she is  irritated by the  smell of seductress- competitor to her man. As a nymph   women are dressed provocatively  and perfumes seem to be the wishes of carnivorous. It is the honeymoon, the   official Typhoon, when she has the right to enjoy the ‘’honey’’ since in ancient Greece all the proverbial expressions associate  honey with entertainment and pleasure.

It is the time when the society wants the nymph bee but can not prohibit her also to be lusted as lives her wedding. So the hunting of  Eurydice the nymph is explainable .

But what exactly is the position of Orpheus in the myth? Orpheus, the voice that defeated death , even if  a triple ban was  imposed to him ( touch, speech and vision) he is  not just a protagonist in a story of  love passion, but the husband in a pair unable to establish a spousal relationship in normal distance outside the honeymoon. Orpheus, wrapped in honey is at the same time the legal husband and Eurydice’s charming lover. Nobody can ever find the balance between the two properties.  When  Eurydice died not only was Orpheus’  failure to move in Aristaios’ territory finalized  -the place of the family-but all other women because of the rejection  attacked him as wild beasts and killed him using household accessories. Another    proof of eviction  from the marital institution. The contrast between Orpheus - Aristaios becomes clearer in a triple regimen including also giant Orion. He was rough mean and he had attacked on Peristeres (corresponding category Nymphs as the Bees) and raped them. Then, Orpheus and   Orion   are located at both ends of a model that Aristaios keeps in balance. 


More details:  





Rage  of "bees" for charming , social status of the beekeepers and sociology of the new women in marital status, determination of honey in relation to the institution of marriage, types of men, are some of the meanings that conveys the myth if we do not simply read it as a romantic narrative. The meanings are revealed if we move in combination: vertically to the overall cultural context of honey and horizontal to the study of other relatives with  heroes and myths issues.

There is also, in the first approach and a local feature that defines the level of mythical thinking in this mythology:  the bulk of the mythical speech produced by the ancient societies is enclosed inside the shell of a literary narrative, which often yields from various forms of ideology, without the development of the latter to the myth disfigures or necessarily lead to the disappearance. Feature that can be combined with another that comes to light at the end of a research about all the myths that have for their center the perfume and seduction:  categories and logical relations discovers that the structural analysis into mythology is largely identical to those used by the Greeks and exploited in a rational series of texts, treated the same as literary productions. If these are some conclusions on the type of mythical thinking that witnessed in Greece, calling on us but not to consolidate between the myths of the honey about Aristaio and corresponding mythology of South America very close relations which appear to dictate direct affinities between two sets of mythical, but certainly different dimensions where the one and the other focus on the pathology of the marriage of which as a legendary operator was used the honey. The issue is no longer as in the era  to rediscover the almost erased features of a «wild situation of thought», which would give indications for the archaic societies, but first of all to define actually the grammar of how thoughts are expressed in the myths, without anticipating whether the mythical thinking has the privilege to include a picture of the world inherent in the architecture of the mind-spirit or if certain structural similarities bring to the fore a legacy Stone also attended by the Old and New World. Henceforth the issue is no longer to draw by a mythical narrative an institution, a social practice like having a nut in a broken shell. From the mythological ground comes to the surface the idea of a society, because, as we know the structural analysis can not stand unless it started from an exhaustive knowledge of the ethnographic context of the myth and the relevant myths of each group. Ritual practices, financial techniques, committees of marriage, legal institutions, classification of the animals, showings of plant species, all these are aspects of a society that the storyteller must register in order to define the responsibility of each condition and every sequence in a story where the various codes or semantic levels will allow us to place a mythical group within all more or less importance. And all this ethnographic context, finally, is nothing more but history, a history which its pace, its date, its changes, the "plimmyris" and the "ampotis" are the subject of historical knowledge of ancient societies from the 19th century and afterwards?  The construction of the models which a storyteller uses, needs historical analysis  without which the consistency and logic would be deprived of bases.  This is the first benefit for nowadays history, a benefit that goes along with another one: that the historian of the Greek world, exploring the myths it selves with the unique way they are organized,  he tries in his turn to bring in the surface some general properties of mythical thinking coming mid- confronted with the problems of a society within which the advent of philosophical thinking undoubtedly alter the functioning of the myths without condemn ting them for this reason in direct stagnation.



THE LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD


The story of Little Red Riding Hood in its  current version is summarized in the following conclusion «do not fend off girl from the path because the wolf is lurking to eat you». Exhausted but only in this message that really carries the narrative before the era of civil registration by Perrault and the brothers Grimm. 



To answer this question we will focus on some details missing from the version of the fairytale as we know it today and which we will try to understand rather than simply playful word for small listeners, but in conjunction with ethnographic material composition of the season.

A first overall diversification, however, results from the breakdown of rules of storytelling in the oral versions, which focus mainly on two female forms, is more the story of the grandmother and grandson despite the grandson and wolf. The monster in the history seems to be the little girl and not the wolf, which ultimately brought as a wolf.


A. The path with the needles and the path with the pins.


When the wolf in the forest meets the girl and proposes to choose between the paths to the pins and needles with that. The question seems meaningless, since it is such a sharp metal objects. The designers here simply distinguish some

playful word for small listeners. But it is not. Without the cap, the protagonist is a simple girl of her times. Invited to choose between the pins, which can be dolled, and the needles with which we will have to work or needles with large holes for her grandmother who sees well. From ethnographic studies we learn that the sewing kits played a very important role in physical education and the lives of young girls 17y of the century.

At the age of 15 years they had been going a time near to the seamstress and apprenticed there. Learned not only slavery but also improvement of the general meant to keep them access to the life of the girl, permission to go to dances and have lovers, which was the symbol of the pin. Young girls offered dozen pins to indicate their interest, while the girls were trying to attract interested in throwing pins of the village fountain. Finally, the pins associated with the biological phenomenon of the women period that turns the girl into a woman (fixing, spruce and love are indications of commitment, but at the hole and made a weapon against troublesome boys - just like the menses considered a component of both sexual and barrier filters in sexual contacts. Thus, the epigamos daughter was the one that brings «pins». In areas of narratives, then the message is clear, the girl who chooses the path to the pins is a teenager and goes to her grandmother that having gone through this stage is already on the road with needles and even those with large holes to be able to see and which are open from long use. The pins that decorate contrasts with the needles that damaged the productivity, job-related rather than decoration. The same probably tried to give the Perrault and using a more understandable for this ethnographic material, the red hat. The red beret associated with the pink wreath, which the girl wore in May, the month was devoted to teenage girls. The History therefore played between a young girl at the beginning of puberty and an elderly woman who has passed menopause.

B. The cannibal meal of little red riding hood

In the house of the forest is inviting the wolf girl to dine offering of the flesh and blood of the dead grandmother. The scholars often speak of primitiveness. But this is not so. The atmosphere is warm, family. The wolf watches  the preparation of the bed. She brings out the utensils, make the table, lit a fire Mix the food in the pot. A complete meal of Atreus, to remember some Greek mythology. (Involuntary cannibalism - careful preparation). The wolf meets the duties of the Actor kills, removes blood, keeps the meat like going to kipper. The flesh and blood show that we have a real integration, grandmother of granddaughter. The body parts have absorbed their importance and are the breasts and blood, organs of the female reproductive process. So the macabre meal of little red riding hood can be interpreted in connection with three times the female spine daughter - wife-mother - Grandma. The transition from one phase to another is almost aggressive manner. The elderly are deleted from the latest social; the daughters of mothers, grandmothers are north of girls. Characteristic is continuity where the wolf asks the Little Red Riding Hood to sit in bed with him. In the oral narratives of the small questions have to do with the excellent hairiness wolf-grandmother, a male characteristic attributed to old age. When the woman cannot any more to childbearing period and has not female traits of the body then she becomes almost a man or beast-roughen and thus confirms the hypothesis that our story takes place between two female persons. So Grandma and beast we see that if we had the opportunity to gobble granddaughter so we arrive at a basic element of this reading of the fairytale, competitiveness among women of different ages.

And the wolf? He continually faces behind kindness and women's clothing, until the moment of truth contact in bed. The duplicity is interpreted. The wolf is the nearest animal to man (werewolf- homo homini lupus) with a special relationship with him. It is the only animal in the man hunt not for food, not for his skin, just on the skin. This is an internal enemy (often in the pen) «unveil» the hardness of human relations that makes women to fight until finally and inevitably be thrown into the mouth of the wolf.

A final episode

When Little Red Riding Hood strays from the wolf at home, in many oral versions run to the river, which passes through the help women who wash the sheets. Open for a time, hold it stretched and the cross. When the wolf arrives again leave the four edges and the beast drowning. The narration is directly related to the social role played by laundress - elderly women in the life of the village. Are the same persons «help» children to be born and to die old, who can also use the infancy and the pall that babies and wash the dead.

The picture is now complete. The Little Red Riding Hood learns the future of women through a succession of different experiences: the path is learning dressmaking linked to years of adolescent girl, in her house passed the reproductive properties of the grandmother and placed in the art of cooking necessary for mothers and spouses, followed and sexual initiation itself in the arms of the wolf. Finally the meeting with the laundress taught another female washing technique, technique of elderly women. All passages from one phase to another female spine accompanied by a conquest of knowledge - technical, cultural element after real contrasts on natural methods of wolves. Also revealed the exclusive possession of them women and recalling only a field of autonomous self-female ratio of their destiny.

But what has happened and this is so rich in meanings story ended up concentrated in «girls not trust the wolf» instead of «girls not trust the grandparents and grandparents do not trust the granddaughter»; perhaps the fact that society arrenopoieitai and centre of interest the mysteries of the female body becomes the man and his activities. 










WINE AND MILK







Wine is considered by French people to be one of their own goods as much as the three hundred and sixty kinds of cheese and their culture. It is a drink-totem similar to the cows’ milk in the Netherlands or to the tea that the English Royal family sips with formality. Bachelard made the psychoanalysis of this liquid’s existence at the end of the essay for the reverie of the will showing that wine is a juice of sun and earth, that it’s normal state is not liquid but dry and that according to this opinion, it’s most opposite mythical substance is water.

The truth is that like any long-lived totem wine allows a diverse mythology, which does not worry about contradictions. This galvanic substance is always considered to be, for example, the most effective relief of thirst, or at least thirst serves as an alibi for its consumption («my winedipe has dried»). With its red form its oldest existence is blood, the dense and vital liquid. It does not interest much, indeed, what is the form of its juice; it is above all a transforming substance, able to alter the positions and the situations and to draw from the article its opposite: to turn, for example, something impossible into possible, something garrulous into silent; this is the source of its old alchemistic heredity, its philosophical capacity to transforms or create anything from scratch.

As it is from its very essence a means of connecting things, the conditions of which can change, wine has apparently plastic forces: it can serve as an alibi for the dream as well as for reality. That depends on the users of the myth. For the worker wine is a professional reward, creative power («to love one’s work»). For the intellectual it will have the opposite function: the author’s «white light» or «red» will undertake to distract him from a very natural ways of expensive cocktails and drinks (which may offer him only snobbishness): Wine will redeem him from the myths, will remove a part from him being an intellectual, will equalize him with the proletarian. The intellectual approaches a natural brutality and believes he will escape this way from the curse that one and a half century of romanticism continues to burden net mental ability (we know that one of the legends for the modern intellectual, is the obsession that is «the person who is being constantly hit »)

The difference in France, however, is that the converting power of wine is not given openly as a purpose: other people drink to get drunk, something that all of them admit; the French feel of it as the manifest of a pleasure, not as a necessary cause of a desired result: wine is not only a filter, is it also a constant practice of drinking it: the gesture has a decorative value here and wine’s strength is never separate from its ways of existence (unlike whiskey, for example, drunk for its drunk making, «the most pleasant and with the less unpleasant consequences», which you drink, you refill, and its drinking becomes a practice-cause).

All that is known, said a thousand times from the popular muse, proverbs, discussions and literature. But this same universality hides a conformism: faith in wine is a collective act of coercion, the Frenchman who will take some distance from the myths will face small but concrete problems of integration, the first is that he has to give explanations. The principle of universality works perfectly here. In the sense that society calls sick, handicapped or corrupt, whoever does not believe in wine: does not fill it up (with two meanings, the spatial and mental aspects). Controversially, a good integration diploma is awarded to those who have good relations with wine: to know how to drink is a national technique used to characterize the French, to prove that he has both the strength of performance, self-control and sociability. The wine thus establishes a collective morality, in which everything is purified: the excesses, the disasters, crimes are certainly possible with wine, but never the evil, the perfidy or ugliness; the evil which it can cause is of mutual character, therefore it escapes from the penalty, it is a passionate drama, not a passionate temperament.

Wine is socialised, because it establishes not only a morality but also a decoration, it ornaments even the most trivial rituals of French daily life, from morning snack (the giomatari, the kamamper) to the jamboree, the jabber of the tavern and the speeches at a formal dinner. Wine brightens all climates; whatever they are it accompanies cold with all the myths of heat and hot days with the whole image of the shadow, of fresh and spicy. There is no situation of physical throbbing (fever, hunger, boredom, slavery, readjusting) that does not make you dream of wine. As a basic substance combined with other foods, it can cover all places and all places of the French. Thus a certain detail of everyday life comes to question, the absence of wine as shocking exoticism: when the President of the Republic Coty, at the beginning of his seven-year service, allowed someone to photograph him in a friendly feast, where the bottle Dumesnil seemed to replace, despite habit, the bottle with giomatari, the whole nation was shocked. The thing was so intolerable as a bachelor king. Wine here is part of the national interest.

Bachelard was certainly right to treat wine as the opposite of water: from the mythical point view this is correct, from the social point of view this is less true at least today; economic or historical circumstances assigned this role in milk. Milk is now the anti-wine instead: and not only thanks to the initiatives of Prime Minister Mendes-France (whose behaviour is willingly mythological: he drinks milk in the forum of parliament, like the sailor Popey eats spinach). But also for the reason that in the great topography, milk is the opposite of fire thanks to its molecular density, thanks to the thick and therefore demulcent nature of its crust. Wine is maiming, surgical, translating and birth giving. Milk is aesthetic, binds, heals, restores. In addition, its purity, related to childhood innocence, is a guarantee of power, a power not repulsive, not congestive, but soft, white, calm, completely flushed with reality. Some American films where the hero, gruff and tough, did not scorn a glass of milk before he punitively grabbed the gun, prepared the shaping of this new myth: even today, they sometimes drink in Paris among the hard or roughneck, a odd milk-grenadine, of American origin. However, milk remains an exotic substance; wine is the national drink.

The mythology of wine can also make us understand the usual ambiguity of our daily life. Because it is true that wine is a nice and good substance, but it is equally true that its production is a large weight in French capitalism, either for wine producers, either for big colonists in Algeria that require the Muslim to cultivate on the same land that was taken from him a product he does not need while he has no bread to eat. So, there are myths very pleasant which are not innocent, though. And the characteristic of our present alienation is that wine may not be a completely blissful substance, unless we improperly forget that it is at the same time a product of an expropriation.
 


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