Probably the great revolution of difference . . . is precisely people's last attempt to grapple, to attach themselves to their earth, before they abandon it, before it abandons them like leftover trash. Small is beautiful. And there's a good chance these three words, the contests of nations, will slowly erode the empire of Europe that is trying to take shape.
-- Mimíka Kranáki, Φιλέλληνες (Philhellenes)
Defining a regional identity was a response to Modernism.
-- Steven S. High, "The Significance of Place"
Some forty years before Europeans--Eastern and Western--were to find themselves again in "the contests of nations," grappling in the 1990s to dig in their roots, "to attach themselves to their earth," Odysseus Elytis's poetry precociously anticipated the passion of reasserting one's regional, ethnic identity. Initially a protoporiakós 'avant- garde' surrealist more interested in literary developments in Paris than in Greece,1 Elytis emerged as a national poet after World War II. In what was becoming an ever more Europeanized Greek world, he campaigned for indigenous art and condemned Greece's subservience to Western Hellenism. Contradictory as this may seem, it was as a national poet that he consolidated his reputation worldwide.2____________________