Katabatic narratives

(3003 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Katabasis, meaning literally, “a going down”, is the ancient Greek term for the story of a hero’s descent to the underworld. Etymologically, “katabasis” in ancient Greek could refer to a place from which descents are made, such as a cave mouth, or to a military manoeuvre involving a descent. Both of these etymological senses are relevant to twenty-first century political events, such as the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11, for these events have been narrativised in the media, in documentary accounts, and in subsequent literary fiction as descent journeys from the West into an infernal East (Falconer 2005).

Metaphorically, katabasis (or in Latin, descensus ad inferos) was used by …

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Falconer, Rachel. "Katabatic narratives". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 October 2011
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=17641, accessed 03 July 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Comparative Literature, Reception, Influences