TAGS: LITERATURE & BOOKS
This article is more than 5 years old.
Modern Greek literature is sometimes constrained by the greatness of its ancestors, the influence of the classics and the numerous literary genres established by the ancients Greeks. Readers of classic literature around the world would claim to be well-versed in the great works of ancient Greek literature, such as The Odyssey and The Illiad from Homer, the great philosophers Socrates, Aristotle and Plato, as well as the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.
On the other hand – with the exception of very few names, such as Giorgos Seferis andOdysseus Elytis who provided bridges between the cultures of ancient and modern Greece and brought new life to Greek poetry, for which they were both awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (1963 and 1978 respectively) – contemporary Greek literature remains largely unknown outside Greece.
According to the Hellenic Authors’ Society, the appeal of Greek Literature in the international book market is inordinately limited in relation to its quality and dynamics. The key reasons usually cited to account for this are the difficulty of the Greek language and its nuances, the quality of the translations, as well as the lack of a systematic promotion by major publishing houses.
Acknowledging the need for an impetus to contemporary Greek literature, the Hellenic Authors’ Society issued in 2003 “Greek Writers Today – An Anthology, Vol I” edited and introduced by its member, professor and translator David Connolly. That volume, now out of print, included prose, poems and essays by 117 members translated into English. Recently, it was published as an e-anthology including additional material to the first edition (a total of 210 authors), the aim being to acquaint English-speaking audiences with the work of contemporary Greek authors, so as to deepen the knowledge and understanding of Modern Greek literary production.