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AMERICAN ROAD® BACK ISSUE Volume 14, Number 1 (Spring 2016)
AMERICAN ROAD® BACK ISSUE


 
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Since ancient times, myths have helped us make sense of our world—where we’re going, where we’ve been. The classic Greek stories—the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Argonautica, and the Oresteia, among them—have endured through the centuries because they speak to archetypal truths.

Myths teach. Myths interpret. And in this issue of American Road, they turn the highway into a labyrinth, and the roadside into a land touched by the golden fingers of Midas.

American Road’s odyssey begins with a trip through time: In 225 BCE, the Greek engineer Philo of Byzantium identified seven wonders of the ancient world that he recommended every good citizen see. We take his list and apply it to the USA, finding our own “Colossus of Roads” and other marvels in “Seven Wonders of the Modern Road.” Did you know that the modern-day Zeus sits at the corner of Woodward and Jefferson avenues in downtown Detroit? No? Well, he does. And he’s green.

“Mythic Proportions,” this issue’s compendium, is the largest we’ve ever assembled. In it, we visit thirty-six sites named for Greek gods, heroes, and monsters—from California’s Hercules Tree to South Carolina’s Mt. Atlanticus Minotaur Goff and Baltimore’s Orpheus with the Awkward Foot. You’ll even find a cyclops in there—a one-eyed giant that serves as a fine introduction to our final feature, “O Brother, Where Art Thou? Revisited.” Fifteen years ago, the Coen brothers brought the songs of the sirens, the winds of Aeolus, and John Goodman’s gluttonous Bible-thumping Polyphemus to Mississippi and the moviegoing masses. We look back at the production and its filming locations in the Magnolia State that managed to capture the magic of ancient Greece and the lands Odysseus visited during his mythic journey.

Life is a poem and a journey—a sonnet and an odyssey. Write it, mythically, on the road.


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