Write a short note on The Colossus of Maroussi.
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This text is actually the book that Miller himself considered to be his greatest writing. It is an impressionist travelogue written in 1939 when Miller, as a poor writer trying to regain his spirit and passion for his art, travelled to Greece when his friend invited him. The writings in this work are inspired by this trip.
The text interestingly seems to adopt a rather different structure from what we would expect. Instead of giving us a journey that culminates in one revelation, the text features a series of different epiphanies that result in the narrator realising his role as a "citizen of the world... dedicated to the recovery of the divinity of man." These epiphanies emerge from the rather lyrican and passionate responses of the narrator from his visit to such places key to Greek mythology such as Knossus and Phaestos. Each place he visits has its own revelation.
The colossus of the story refers to Katsimbalis, who the narrator meets in Athens. He lives life to excess and is singled out by the narrator as being a truly liberated individual who is able to make even his most simple actions, such as the plucking of a flower from the roadside, into a "great event" that is imbued with meaning. Above all, Miller comes to realise that the real travelling and journeying that we embark upon as human beings is internal:
Voyages are accomplished inwardly, and the most hazardous ones, needless to say, are made without moving from the spot.
The book therefore focuses on the themes of travel and discovery, and uses the setting of Greece as a powerful backdrop to the narrator's ideas on life, living and man.
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