(Click on any of the titles below to go to that section)
"Foreword" by Prof. E. Venizelos, Culture of Minister
"The Story of Modern Greek Literature" by Ch. Lazos, Dir., National Book Centre
"Books and Writers" by the Publication Committee
"Contents" of book
Multipart downloads of publication Greece: Books and Writers
EVEN THE MOST OBSCURE GREEK POET today considers himself to be a member of the same literary and linguistic community as Homer. The history of Greek literature is coextensive with the history of the Greek language, and language is the main field in which the collective memory, the constitution and the self-image of a community are asserted.
The National Book Centre has brought together the wealth, the immense variety and the unbroken continuity of Greek literature in this special volume to mark the 2001 Frankfurt Book Fair, where Greece is to be the Guest of Honour.
Naturally, such a vast corpus is out of proportion for a country of such a relatively small population and a language which numbers fewer than 20 million users worldwide, and obviously difficult to present. The first thing that needs to be done is to restore the great but little-known periods in the history of Greek letters (such as the Mediaeval period) to their rightful position.
Perceptions of Greek literature abroad have, to a great extent, reflected perceptions of ‘Greekness’. If ‘literariness’ is a problem common to all national literatures, it is particularly problematic in the case of Greece. The universality of humankind and of human speech (and by extension of literature) cannot of itself stamp national identity on a literature. No, such an identity can emerge only through history: history as collective experience, history as a subject of writing and history as a source of inspiration. History, language and literature all contribute in equal measure to the constitution of a unified cultural reserve.
In view of this, the central problem of Greek literature can be seen to lie primarily in the relationship between the universality of what it attests and the authenticity of local and particular experience, and secondly in trying to locate a Greek identity between the cultural poles of East and West. Greek identity is perched precariously on many a peripheral front: European, Balkan and Mediterranean. However, this national identity and its relationship with the West cannot be adequately contained by concepts such as the East, or various appropriations of it such as Orientalism; neither is Balkanism sufficient, nor even the wider ethnographic view of the Mediterranean.
The relationship of this ‘Greekness’ with the West is based on the pursuit of authenticity, for the label ‘Greek literature’ embraces as much the ancient texts as the birthplace of Western rationalism as the New Testament writings. This pedigree functions as the magnetic field on the horizons of which Greek literary production is located.
This volume provides a comprehensive introduction to Greek literature and will enable the reader to appreciate all the books and writers it presents in their historical and contemporary contexts. Congratulations are due to all those who have contributed to this publication, and of course to the National Book Centre.
2 July 2001
Professor EVANGELOS VENIZELOS
Minister of Culture
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THE STORY OF MODERN GREEK LITERATURE
FOR THE NON-GREEK-SPEAKING PUBLIC modern Greek literature is probably a somewhat obscure subject. Today it presents a diverse, dynamic countenance that shares many features with European literature in general while at the same time containing other aspects that have yet to be thoroughly explored. Its future appears to hold much promise and looks set to be prolific. Its past extends back many centuries, gradually merging with the Byzantine tradition and, earlier still, with antiquity.
A few writers of the twentieth century Cavafy, Seferis, Kazantzakis, Elytis and Ritsos are familiar names to just a small audience outside Greece. And Greek literature sometimes gives the appearance of being marked by gaps, by omissions, by the impression that continuity has been irrevocably interrupted, that the present lacks a past.
That said, it is generally agreed that the history of modern Greek literature begins in the eleventh century with texts written in a language that is more familiar to the ears of Greeks in the twenty-first century than is the language of the Byzantine literati, the compilers of the Gospels, or, of course, the classical authors of the fifth or fourth centuries BCE. And it is this language that continued to be spoken and fashioned through all subsequent centuries, at times going through years of leaner literary production, at other times producing masterpieces.
The chronicle of Greek literature or, to put it another way, the history of Greece as seen from the perspective of its books and writers is the subject of this work, which seeks to combine scholarly analysis with narrative interest. Its principal aim is to guide the reader through the key moments in this literature and to acquaint him or her with the men and women who moulded the Greek language into literary form. It attempts to describe the special qualities of this literature, its moments of innovation and originality, as well as its place in the European literary tradition and in the major literary and intellectual currents that have shaped the modern world. If the reader acquires a feeling for the historical depth and perspective from which this literature has evolved, and an appreciation for the landmarks in this evolution, then the writers of this volume will not have failed in their purpose.
Greece Books and Writers is the fruit of collective labour. The contributors belong to the younger generation of literary scholars and critics. While each section bears the style and views of the particular contributor it is hoped that a common tone runs throughout, giving the work a uniform character and internal cohesion.
Special care was devoted to providing extensive illustrative material alongside the text: Greek-speaking centres beyond the traditional boundaries of the modern-day Greek state, and the activities of printers and publishers in these regions and their contribution to the making of modern Greek literature are amply represented in the illustrations that supplement the text.
It is hoped that the present work combines pleasure and instruction in such measure as to meet with the reader’s approval. It is hoped, too, that on putting it down the reader will be sufficiently curious as to want to travel further through the landscape of modern Greek literature.
CHRISTOS G. LAZOS
Director of the National Book Centre
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BOOKS AND WRITERS
THIS BOOK introduces the major works and authors in modern Greek literature from the 11th century to the present. The progress of Greek letters through the centuries, like that of the modern nation itself, has been neither smooth nor even. The nation has found itself alternately scaling great creative heights and plumbing the depths of cultural stagnation, with its impulse for creativity almost extinguished. However, this impulse was never entirely smothered, not even during the endless years of enslavement, the dark ages following the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
Modern Greek literature belongs to the wider family of modern European literature. However, there are many features of it which distinguish it from the rest of the group. It is a literature which once featured prominently on the European literary scene, but today is, regrettably, regarded as one of the so-called ‘minor literatures’, and the Greek language itself is a linguistic loner and therefore relatively inaccessible to foreign readers. But however ‘marginal’ it may have been at certain points in its development, it is a literature which has never isolated itself from the centre; indeed, it has been in constant dialogue with the literatures of other European nations. Moreover, the overwhelming Classical literary legacy and the inevitable ‘anxiety of influence’ have at times worked against Greek writers; the separation of history and emotion has proved difficult to sustain. On the other hand, the interaction between Ancient and Modern has often been extraordinarily fruitful, as the poetry of the 2Oth century amply demonstrates.
Naturally, the attempt to trace the long, tortuous course of modern Greek letters and to represent its many facets and manifestations within the confines of a relatively short volume has been no mean task. Practical constraints have led to the inevitable omission of certain writers and works. The central organising principles of this volume have been first of all to trace the relationship between Greek and world literature (especially European) and secondly, to outline the importance of these writers for their times, highlighting the historical context of their literary output and showing how they renew the traditions they work within. The editors have therefore taken care to map out very clearly the main stages in the development of this literature, emphasising certain central aspects common to each: linguistic, thematic and ideological, but never losing sight of the unique features of each period.
The title is self-explanatory: this is a book about books and writers, and thus prominent writers and their works provide the focus throughout. This volume does not aim to serve as a literary history in the conventional academic sense; rather, it seeks to recast the history of Greek letters in a fresher, more personal narrative, supported by a vast array of illustrations and photographic material. So while the various stages in the development of Greek literature are presented in a linear manner in parallel with modern history, Books and Writers regularly sidesteps the main historical narrative to make fascinating literary detours. This is the history of the literature of a modern nation involved in a constant process of enrichment and renewal.
THE PUBLICATION COMMITTEE
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THE EMERGENCE OF MODERN GREEK LITERATURE (11th -15th century)
INTRODUCTORY NOTE 17
THE BEGINNINGS OF GREEK VERNACULAR LITERATURE TINA LENDARI 18
ROMANCES TINA LENDARI 22
TALES SET IN THE CLASSICAL WORLD ULRICH MOENNIG 27
ANIMAL FABLES ULRICH MOENNIG 31
CRETAN LITERATURE (Mid 14th -17th century)
INTRODUCTORY NOTE 39
CRETAN LITERATURE (MID 14TH-17TH CENTURY) STEFANOS KAKLAMANIS 40
THE FIRST CRETAN RENAISSANCE FALTERS STEFANOS KAKLAMANIS 43
A NEW AGE DAWNS STEFANOS KAKLAMANIS 45
THE GOLDEN AGE STEFANOS KAKLAMANIS 48
INTROVERSION AND DECLINE STEFANOS KAKLAMANIS 53
THE ERA OF ENLIGHTENMENT ( Late 17th century - 1821 )
INTRODUCTORY NOTE 59
LIGHT AND SHADE ELISABETH TSIRIMOKOU 60
WITH A SMILE AND A TEAR ELISABETH TSIRIMOKOU 64
RIGAS AND KORA´S ELISABETH TSIRIMOKOU 68
THE BUILDING OF A NATION ( 1821-1880 )
INTRODUCTORY NOTE 77
THE GREEK STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE - THE ROMANTIC ELEMENT VASSILIS PANAYOTOPOULOS 78
GREEK FOLK SONGS ALEXIS POLITIS 82
EUROPEAN TRAVEL WRITINGS ON GREECE AND GREEK LITERATURE EKATERINI KOUMARIANOU 88
DIONYSIOS SOLOMOS KATERINA TIKTOPOULOU 94
ANDREAS KALVOS EURIPIDES GARANTOUDIS 99
MAKRIYANNIS RANIA POLYKANDRIOTI 102
K. PAPARRIGOPOULOS ANTONIS LIAKOS 106
FOLKLORE - A NEW FIELD OF STUDY NORA SKOUTERI 108
GREEK LITERATURE AFTER 1880 MICHALIS CHRYSSANTHOPOULOS 112
STIMULUS AND CREATIVE RESPONSE ( 1880 -1930 )
INTRODUCTORY NOTE 119
GEORGIOS VIZYINOS MICHALIS CHRYSSANTHOPOULOS 121
EMMANUEL ROIDIS ATHENA GEORGANTA 124
ALEXANDROS PAPADIAMANTIS LAKIS PROGUIDIS 128
GRIGORIOS XENOPOULOS - KONSTANTINOS THEOTOKI R. BEATON - V. HADJIVASSILIOU 133
KOSTIS PALAMAS EURIPIDES GARANTOUDIS 134
C.P. CAVAFY DIANA HAAS 140
K.G. KARYOTAKIS CHRISTINA DOUNIA 149
KOSTAS VARNALIS CHRISTINA DOUNIA 153
ANGELOS SIKELIANOS CHRISTINA DOUNIA 154
NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS RODERICK BEATON 158
THE THIRTIES : A TURNING POINT - NEW DIRECTIONS ( 1930-1974)
INTRODUCTORY NOTE 167
GEORGE SEFERIS YORYIS YATROMANOLAKIS 170
SURREALISM YORYIS YATROMANOLAKIS 178
ODYSSEUS ELYTIS ARIS BERLIS 186
YANNIS RITSOS COSTAS PAPAGEORGIOU 191
TAKIS PAPATSONIS YORYIS YATROMANOLAKIS 195
NIKOS KAVVADIAS VANGELIS HADJIVASSILIOU 196
KOSMAS POLITIS MARIO VITTI & YORYIS YATROMANOLAKIS 198
FOTIS KONTOGLOU JOSEPH VIVILAKIS 203
THE SEARCH FOR NATIONAL IDENTITY ELISABETH KOTZIA 204
THE AVANT-GARDE NOVEL THREE INSTANCES ELISABETH TSIRIMOKOU 206
M. KARAGATSIS VANGELIS HADJIVASSILIOU 210
THE PROSE OF WAR G. FARINOU-MALAMATARI 211
LITERARY REVIEWS OF THE THIRTIES AND FORTIES 216
THE PROSE OF COMMITMENT ELISABETH KOTZIA 218
DIMITRIS HATZIS VANGELIS HADJIVASSILIOU 220
POST-WORLD WAR II POETRY VANGELIS HADJIVASSILIOU 221
LITERARY REVIEWS OF THE FIFTIES AND SIXTIES 224
FROM POVERTY TO PROSPERITY IN THE MODERN METROPOLIS: 1960-1975 YORGOS ARAGIS 227
STRATIS TSIRKAS DIMITRIS RAFTOPOULOS 234
ASPECTS OF MODERN GREEK DRAMA ELENI VAROPOULOU 237
SNAPSHOTS OF THE PRESENT VANGELIS HADJIVASSILIOU 242
TRANSLATIONS THE PUBLISHING MARKET AND GREEK SOCIETY NIKOS VATOPOULOS 246
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 249
PHOTOGRAPHS AND ILLUSTRATIONS - SOURCES 250
INDEX OF PROPER NAMES 252
INDEX OF TITLES 256
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Multipart downloads of Greece: Books and Writers
Part One of book, pp1-66 (PDF file, 1.82 MB)
Part Two of book, pp67-132 (PDF file, 2.15 MB)
Part Three of book, pp133-198 (PDF file, 2.01 MB)
Part Four of book, pp (PDF file, 1.53 MB)
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