After discussing some interpretations of myth (Burkert, Jensen, Jaspers, Eliade), the paper deals with the issue of myth’s appearance in literary works. The essential substance of a myth can appear in several treatments, according to the artist’s intention with regard to several interpretations. After a short survey of allegorical interpret
...ations two myths (Orpheus and Eurydice, the golden age) are discussed in their several variations. In connection with the myth of the golden age Vergil’s works are examined to see whether in the Aeneid in particular he created a new myth or rather recreated the myth. In connection with this problem the distinction made between fable and sujet by the Russian formalists is discussed. In answer to the question whether a myth in its artistical appearance can be expressed verbally, Rilke and Hölderlin are cited.
The opening of Juvenal’s longest and maybe the most well-known poem, Satire 6, is based on the ancient concept of the “Ages of Man”, starting from the reign of Saturn and ending with the flight of the two sisters, Pudicitia and Astraea. The first part of this 24-line-long passage depicts the Golden Age by making use of two different sourc
...es: the idealized Golden Age appearing in Vergil’s poetry among others and the prehistoric primitive world from Book 5 of Lucretius. The Juvenalian Golden Age, presented briefly in a naturalistic way, is a curious amalgam of these two traditions, being the only time in human history according to the poet when marital fidelity was unblemished. However, while reading Satire 6, it seems far from obvious that the lack of adultery should be attributed to higher morals.