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Literature – Poetry:
The Novel: An exercise in national self-awareness


Hellenic American Union Theater

“Hellas in Bloom: Creative Greece"

Takis Theodoropoulos talks about literature with Pericles Vallianos.

“One might say that this country was liberated in order to prove that it was incapable of self-government.”

Alexandros Papadiamantis, «Βαρδιάνος στα σπόρκα» (Guardian of the quarantined ships), 1893


Greece never ceased to create poetry throughout its centuries of existence. But the novel, a European art form as Kundera puts it, is the offspring of independence. For Greek novelists, there never was a “Greek language question.” Ragκavis, Papadiamantis, Roidis, Vizyinos—they all wrote in a katharevousa that brings to the fore the rich expressiveness and plasticity of the Greek language, disproving those who consider the form “artificial.” They imbued our national self-awareness with the oblique perspective of irony that characterizes the novel. In the 20th century, from the Generation of the ’30s to Kazantzakis, novelists constructed their own special perception of Hellenism, setting the tone for the other arts but also for social sensibilities. The Greek novel was never destined for mass consumption. One might say it pioneered the creation of Greek middle-class education by processing the two pillars of modern Greek consciousness: the search for the roots of Hellenism and its path towards integration in the Europe and the modern world.

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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.

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 the history of ideas in the United States. His doctoral dissertation was 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.

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