This comparative analysis of Constantine Cavafy's "Julian" poems and Nikos Kazantzakis's play Julian the Apostate brings the two works into conversation with each other as well as with current debates about the so-called "clash of civilizations," "globalization," and the "war on terror." In light of fanatical religious rhetoric and violent conflict in the two historical periods—the fourth century A.D. and the present—a revisiting of Kazantzakis's heroic vision of Julian and Cavafy's ironic and skeptical treatment may serve to modulate and inform the current discussion by facilitating a more nuanced critique of the assumed manifest destiny of the American polity, the grand narrative of Middle Eastern reformation, the ethical aspirations of and justifications for military action based on religious grounds, as well as the recent employment of rhetoric in political discourse and in what one might call "the theatrics of power."


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pp. 79-103
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