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Thought & Philosophy: A stroll around the intellectual life of free Greece


Hellenic American Union Theater

“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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Pericles S. Vallianos

VALIANOS.jpgPericles S. Vallianos is originally from Kefalonia. After graduating high school from Athens College, he went on to study Sociology and History of Ideas in the United States. He did his doctoral dissertation on Hegel’s social thought and its connection to ancient Greek philosophy. He taught History of Political Ideas at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, of which he is currently a professor emeritus. He has authored numerous books and articles on topics of his specialty.

Takis Theodoropoulos

THEODOROPOULOS-(1).jpgTakis Theodoropoulos is a writer. He has published some twenty novels and essays, and a few thousand articles in newspapers and magazines. For the past nine years, he has been a columnist for the daily newspaper Kathimerini, after about fourteen years with the newspaper Ta Nea. He served as Editor-in-chief of the journal To Tetarto, published by Manos Hadjidakis, and as chairman of the much lamented National Book Center of Greece. Thankfully, he can still write.

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