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Placing Modern GreeceThe Dynamics of Romantic Hellenism, 1770-1840$
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Constanze Guthenke

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199231850

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231850.001.0001

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Between Idyll and Abyss: The Greek Land, as seen from the Ionian Islands

Between Idyll and Abyss: The Greek Land, as seen from the Ionian Islands

(p.191) 5 Between Idyll and Abyss: The Greek Land, as seen from the Ionian Islands
Placing Modern Greece

Constanze Güthenke (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Here I turn to the vantage point of two writers of the Ionian Islands (until the 1860s outside the territorial confines of the new Greek state). Although both are considered ‘national’ poets in the canon of Greek literary history, they are in this study given a new reading that highlights their conceptual distance from any ‘homeland’. Andreas Kalvos's Odes, rich in allusions to European neoclassicism, were written, much as they should be read, with an eye to European philhellenic discourse. Dionysios Solomos, while silent on classical antiquity, ostensibly treats of specific Greek localities in his highly fragmentary, hybrid poetry (such as the ‘Hymn to Freedom’, or ‘The Free Besieged’); but he does so by relying on a practice of the symbol that renders the representation of the Greek land fractured to the point of absence.

Keywords:   fragment, Free Besieged, Hymn to Freedom, Ionian Islands, Andreas Kalvos, national poet, Neoclassicism, Dionysios Solomos

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