Writing Europe: What Is European about the Literatures of Europe? : Essays from 33 European Countries

By Ursula Keller; Ilma Rakusa | Go to book overview

were chroniclers from ancient and Byzantine times, medieval poets, such as Stasinos the mythical father-in-law of Homer, philosophers, such as Zinon Kitieus, the founder of Stoicism, the chroniclers Leontios Mahairas and George Voustronios, the unknown medieval poet, who composed flawless, erotic Petrarchan sonnets, the first in the Greek language, Constantinos Eusevis Anagnostis, who wrote the Circle of Passion, one of the oldest and most important Byzantine mystical works. And there are a lot more, older and contemporary, writers and scholars, who, having produced a significant literary corpus in the Greco-Roman tradition, have marked the cultural map of Europe with a Cypriot stamp.

This long and turbulent history and the recent violent upheaval and attendant sociopolitical changes that we Cypriots have experienced over the past years, especially since the beginning of the liberation struggle and territorial claims of the Turkish Cypriots, have served as an important source for my themes. The plays, Thy Were Killed for the Light, Fotinos, Onisilos, The Ventriloquists, Petros A, Mass/Liturgy For Kyriakos Matsis, as well as the stories contained in the collections In the Aerial Cyprus and Cronaca I and II, all refer to the period I have mentioned. I deal with the a priori doomed efforts of the Cypriots to gain their rights and freedom, either through peaceful means or gunfire. I simultaneously gain comfort from the prosperity and the Sybaritism of our Eastern and Western conquerors and share the misery imposed on the natives: “My daughter, my Arkyri, was exchanged by her master, pornoMostris, for three oxen and a bond, written and sealed, for her new master Count Montolif to give her back to her old master in case she becomes a widow,” complains a common woman, in Petros A, which refers to the Frankish domination of the twelfth century.

The language used by the protagonist in the metrical play Fotinosis different. Being a prisoner of the Turks, the young hero, nailed on a rock like a new Prometheus, advises his fellow prisoners:

We don't beg for what is rightfully ours
to stand up for our own home

-157-

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Writing Europe: What Is European about the Literatures of Europe? : Essays from 33 European Countries
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • Ursula Keller Germany 1
  • Ilma Rakusa Switzerland 21
  • Guðbergur Bergsson Island 29
  • Andrei Bitov Russia 35
  • Hans Maarten Van Den Brink the Netherlands 48
  • Mircea Cărtărescu Romania 58
  • Stefan Chwin Poland 68
  • Aleš Debeljak Slovenia 80
  • Jörn Donner Finnland 96
  • Mario Fortunato Italy 108
  • Eugenio Fuentes Spain 117
  • Jens Christian Grøndahl Denmark 125
  • Durs Grünbein Germany 136
  • Daniela Hodrová Czech Republic 146
  • Panos Ioannides Cyprus 157
  • Mirela Ivanova Bulgaria 169
  • Lídia Jorge Portugal 177
  • Dževad Karahasan Bosnia 188
  • Fatos Lubonja Albania 198
  • Adolf Muschg Switzerland 208
  • Péter Nádas Hungary 216
  • Emine Sevgi Özdamar Turkey 225
  • Geir Pollen Norway 237
  • Jean Rouaud France 249
  • Robert Schindel Austria 258
  • Ivan Štrpka Slovakia 273
  • Richard Swartz Sweden 281
  • Nikos Themelis Greece 289
  • Emil Tode Estonia 299
  • Colm Toíbín Ireland 309
  • Jean-Philippe Toussaint Belgium 317
  • Dubravka Ugrešić Croatia 325
  • Dragan Velikić Serbia 335
  • Tomas Venclova Lithuania 345
  • Māra Zālīte Latvia 355
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