Mikis Theodorakis was a Greek composer famous for writing the sirtaki for the film Zorba the Greek (1964). This piece of music is has become the embodiment of Greece, it is the most archetypal Greek music. More than that, it is definitely one of the most famous melodies of the 20th century, recognized — I think — by the majority of people in the world, wherever they live. On that last point, I have no evidence.
He was an opponent of the Greek junta, which like Salazar in Portugal and Franco in Spain, put Greece under the rule of a fascist military dictatorship until the mid 1970s.
I give also you the trailer of Z (1969), the music you hear is Theodorakis’s. Z is a work of political fiction, an indictment of the then-fascist Greece.
Zeev Sternhell was an Israeli scholar known for his study of fascism, The Birth of Fascist Ideology (1989).
I headed for the university library and found that book.
I read the introduction and the rest of the book ‘by index’.
Doing that, I stumbled upon the grand sweeping statements by T. E. Hulme on his hatred for the Renaissance, Rousseau and Romanticism:
“That is why he [Hulme] was so hostile to romanticism: underlying romanticism and the French Revolution, he believed, was the Rousseauist concept of the individual. Rousseau, he wrote, taught the people of the eighteenth century “that man was by nature good,” that he was “an infinite reservoir of possibilities,” and that the source of all evils was “bad laws.” According to Rousseau, the destruction of the existing oppressive order would open up infinite possibilities of progress. Classicism, wrote Hulme, was defined by an opposite conception, namely, that “man is an extraordinarily fixed and limited animal whose nature is absolutely constant. It is only by tradition and organization that anything decent can be got out of him.””
It is interesting to note that Sternhell locates the origins of fascism within the artistic realm:
“A desire to cleanse the world of the defilements of the eighteenth century and to introduce various forms of discipline such as classicism and nationalism, no less than a rejection of liberal and bourgeois “decadence,” united in a single tide of sentiment some of the most important literary and artistic avant-gardes in Europe.”