“Hellas in Bloom: Creative Greece”
Pericles Vallianos talks about thought and philosophy with Takis Theodoropoulos.
The main challenge of the 19th century was to shape the Greek national identity and language at a time when the idea of the nation defined Europe’s political and cultural life. Adamantios Korais laid the theoretical foundations for this work from the perspective of the Enlightenment. The influence of Romanticism is seen in the work of M. Renieris, S. Zampelios and, above all, K. Paparrigopoulos, all of whom, however, had different views on the historical destiny of the Greek nation. The beginnings of the 20th century marked the heroic era of the national idea, which found its most iconic representation in Ion Dragoumis. But then came the disaster of 1922, which called for the cultivation of a new kind of self-awareness, a process which foregrounded the question of the relationship between modern Greek identity and European civilization. This inquiry revealed something about this coexistence that was not visible during the 19th century, namely, its friction and contradictions. It was this revelation that led to a detachment of the idea of Greekness from the cultural models of the West. Milestones in this journey include Kazantzakis, Theotokas, the “Heidelbergians” (Tsatsos, Kanellopoulos, Theodorakopoulos), as well as the theory of Greek culture proposed by the “Generation of the ’30s,” with its theoretical underpinnings in the ideas of Lorentzatos. The debate on Greekness between Tsatsos and Seferis summarized these dilemmas.
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