The dialogue between language and power is a key meeting point between literary and historical studies, one which also links every artist with his or her time. In Greece in the second decade of the 21st century this is more than ever a burning issue – and it is also central to the essays which comprise this volume, published for the first time in English. The author, Kostas Dimadis, is a distinguished scholar in the field of Modern Greek studies and Comparative Literature, with a career spanning the universities of Amsterdam, Groningen and Berlin.
In several of these essays, his penetrating analysis of 20th-century Greek literary texts, enriched with material either unpublished or difficult of access, squarely places major figures of Greek literature in the political and historical context of the years leading up to World War II. Others deal with the first translation of a modern Greek novel into a European language (in 1836), the Royal Theatre’s tour of Great Britain and Germany on the eve of World War II, the travel writings of Nikos Kazantzakis and his engagement with the Spanish intelligentsia (1932-1937). All of these, it hardly needs saying, are given an original treatment in the immediate context of the ongoing dialogue between power and prose fiction at the relevant moment.