Modern Greece: A Cultural Poetics

Modern Greece: A Cultural Poetics

Modern Greece: A Cultural Poetics

Modern Greece: A Cultural Poetics


The glorious, classical legacy of Greece is universally revered. But this legacy has come at a price. How will Greece ever move beyond its ties with the past? Is there such a thing as modern Greece? This book is the first to present an alternative cultural history of Greece. Beginning with the growth of Greece as a nation-state through to the present, it shows how modern Greece has long been undervalued and neglected. From the compositional process of the first National Poet to the first feminist text, the first sustained Marxist treatise of Greek society to the Athens subway system, this groundbreaking book brings together a fascinating mix of literary texts, maps and aspects of material culture to uncover the identity of modern Greece. In considering these rich cultural landmarks, Calotychos argues that a new relationship with the past must be forged if Greek literature, culture and society are to be truly part of the present and meet the challenges of modernity.

Modern Greece: A Cultural Poetics fills a major gap. Its refreshing approach provides an original insight into the everyday, lived experience of Greece. The intriguing range of case studies, the historical depth, and the engagement with cultural and literary theory will be of great value to literature students, cultural theorists, anthropologists, philologists and historians alike


We are so unwise that we wander about in times that do not belong to us, and do not
think of the only one that does; so vain that we dream of times that are not and blindly
flee the only one that is. the fact is that the present usually hurts. We thrust it out of
sight because it distresses us, and if we find it enjoyable, we are sorry to see it slip
away. We try to give it the support of the future, and think how we are going to
arrange things over which we have no control for a time we can never be sure of

Let each of us examine his thoughts; he will find them wholly concerned with the
past or the future. We almost never think of the present, and if we do think of it, it is
only to see what light it throws on our plans for the future. the present is never our
end. the past and the present are our means, the future alone our end. Thus we never
actually live, but hope to live, and since we are always planning how to be happy, it
is inevitable that we should never be so.

Blaise Pascal, Pensées

Modern Greece was built on the ruins of its modernity. a lead article in the culture section of the Athenian center-right newspaper Kathimerini previewing the Greek government's proposed expenditures for culture from the European Union's muchawaited, and much-coveted, Third Community Support Framework underscores the continuing validity of this assertion. For while the plan, which covers the period 2000–6 and earmarks the impressive sum of 210 billion drachma ($617 million) for the support of cultural initiatives, allots two-thirds of this amount, or 135 billion drachma ($397 million) to the 'Conservation and Promotion of Cultural Heritage' - to 'antiquities,' the article elaborates - modern culture is assigned less than a third, or 69 billion drachma ($202 million), of these initiative funds. of these 69 billion drachma allotted to modern culture, 30 billion go to only two projects - the expansion of the Athens Megaron Music Hall and the creation of a sister institution in Thessaloniki, both works administered by the Lambrakis Cultural Foundation. the patronage of these projects is by no means immaterial for explaining the critical tone of the article, for the corporate interests behind Kathimerini are in competition with those of the Lambrakis Foundation, which owns and runs among many other enterprises - Greece's other paper of record, the center-left To Vima. These competing interests may reveal a subtext for the article; however, this . . .

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