A panel discussion with:
Hon. Tom Cox - British Parliamentarian & member of the European Council
Dr. Van Coufoudakis - Vice Chancellor for acadenic affairs at Indiana-Purdue University
Hon. Eddie O'Hara - British Parliamentarian
Dr. Niazi Kizilgioyrek - Prof. of political science, University of Cyprus
Hon. Robert Torricelli - Member, US House of Representatives, D-NJ
Hon. James A. Williams - Ambassador & Special Coordinator fot Cyprus
Moderator: Dr. Christos Ioannides - Director, Speros Vryonis Center for the study of Hellenism
The event will take place on Monday, May 20, 1996 5:45 pm - 8:30 pm at New York University, Tishman Auditorium, Vanderbilt Hall, 40 Washington Square South, NYC. For further information , call 718-545-7202.
Sponsored by: The Alexander S. Onassis Center for Hellenic Studies, The Justice for Cyprus Committee, The Cyprus Federation of America, The International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus and the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee.
Intensive Elementary Modern Greek M-Th 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.* Intensive Intermediate Modern Greek M-Th 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.* Elementary Modern Greek T & Th 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Intermediate Modern Greek T & Th 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Advanced Modern Greek Language & M & W 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Culture*College credit available
Reviewed by Anna Stavrakopoulou, Bosporus University
For those who are familiar with Kiourtsakis's writings, his book "Like a Novel" comes as a surprise. Born in Athens in 1941, he is the son of a Cretan lawyer and a scion of a well-to-do Athenian family. He studied law in France in the early sixties, and first published in 1979 an essay on "Hellenism and the West in Seferis." The two books that followed dealt with a cultural phenomenon that had also preoccupied the intelligentsia ever since the 1930s: the Greek Shadow Theater. First, in "Oral Tradition and Group Creation" one can find a meticulous analysis of all the social and historical mechanisms that had made Karaghiozis the most popular theatrical form in Greece for over fifty years. While the focus of this book was more on the form and the shape of a performance, "Carnival and Karaghiozis" was more devoted to the content and, in particular, to the carnivalesque aspects of the Karaghiozis perception of the world. This equally lengthy essay, apart from being invaluable for the study of Karaghiozis, included an introduction to Bakhtinian thought. Yannis Kiourtsakis can pride himself not only for writing the two most important books on the Shadow Theater since the time that interest was first generated in that area in the 1930s, but also for being the first in Greek scholarship to bring distinct attention to Bakhtin, a thinker who has deeply permeated the practices of scholarship during the last quarter of the twentieth century.
Following an almost ten year "silence," "Life like a Novel" breaks new paths in different directions. It is not a novel, but like a novel, or, as Kiourtsakis tells us in the opening paragraphs, like an autobiography. But once a few pages into the book, the reader starts reading the volume more like a biography, because it is in fact the life-story of the author's brother that represents the core of this undertaking. At times the narrative also resembles a chronicle, the life and times of their own father, at others an attempt to ponder a few decades in the history of the transformation of an old nation into a modern state. What is it all about and why does it have to be so complicated? If one wants to see the spine of it, "Like a Novel" tells the story of an ordinary upper middle class family from its birth to the suicide of its first offspring. No more no less. The author, in his effort to understand the reasons for this suicide, has to go back in time as far as their father's adolescence in Crete at the end of the nineteenth century; similarly, he has to travel to as distant a setting as Belgium, where the last act of the drama took place. As a result, the space and time-span of the book captures Greece as it leaves behind an Ottoman past and moves ahead to a European future.
There are three basic poles in the narration. First comes the father, and his geographical and social itinerary from the uncompromising district attorney of the 1920s to the tender father of the 1940s who removed himself from the public sphere until his death in November 1955. Then the older son Charis, and his passage from a privileged adolescence in Greece to a tormented adulthood in Gembloux, and then to his brief stay in Greece before committing suicide. Last, the younger son, the narrator, who has survived them both to tell their stories and to choose to illuminate one moment of their existence more than another, thereby telling us about his own journey and attempt to "return to Greece" as well.
In a part entitled "Who was our father?" Kiourtsakis, bringing into play his scholarly qualities, chronicles the first fifty years of his father's life. A life that obliged him continuously to transform himself and adapt from an ardent demoticist law student in the beginning of the century to the incorruptible district attorney who arraigned Kazantzakis and Glinos in 1928 and even incited a personal friend of E. Venizelos in 1930. The historical research Kiourtsakis did proves beyond doubt that the sins of the father tormented the sons, even though the only sin of this particular father was to create, as it were, a history-proof space, the house he built for his family, where nothing would be able to pollute his children's moral integrity. The product of this sterilization was an artificial environment within the house, the city, and even the country, that had no offensive qualities. It is in this unreal wonderland that Charis lived until he went to study in Belgium, and, as one would imagine, he suffered tremendously.
In the part entitled "Charis in Europe" Kioutsakis uses the letters the family exchanged during an eight-year period to piece together the puzzle; these letters had become the real "domicile" of this family, the only shared "space" following the physical separation. The son's cries of help on the one hand, followed by continuous parental advice on the other, stage an act all too familiar to Greeks who went abroad to study: the feeling of being torn between a West that, while visibly superior, nevertheless lacked the flawlessness the imagination had endowed it with, and an undoubtedly inferior Greece, which was more precious from a distance. In purely reflective passages that supplement the narrative sections, the notions of "homeland" and "diaspora," of journey and return, are widened by Kiourtsakis. Just as Cavafy sculpted the concept of Ithaca, so Kiourtsakis carves his own symbolic idea of Greece. While "Ithaca" is the mooring deck after a lifetime of pilgrimages, "Greece" is the paradisiac condition that stirs our life search despite our apprehension that this "homeland" is lost for ever.
When one tries to come to terms with the ambiguous genre of the book another similarly original compilation comes to mind, the "Elements for the 1960s) written by Thanassis Valtinos. There, however, the author tries to convey the feeling of the '60s by creating a blend made of newspaper clips, letters to magazine heart-columns, and letters to the immigration authorities. Both authors play with the notion of fiction as a pie made of raw facts. Valtinos opts to remain absolutely invisible and inaudible, while Kiourtsakis deliberately chooses to personally guide us through the events.
Kiourtsakis manages to render in specific details the "fingerprint" not only of these three men, but also of their generations in a very unusual way. This book could be considered interactive; a passive absorption of the plot would bring very little to the reader. If one takes the trouble to explore further the notions of History, homeland, diaspora, Europe, and Greece, Greece as source of pride and shame, as light and mold, as Europe and as oriental bazaar, the degree of pleasure offered by the book expands to all directions: it is literature and theoretical thinking at the same time, its twists surprise you and its reflexivity soothes you.
It is impossible for the reviewer to put forth all the virtues of this multilayered achievement; I have chosen only to discuss some of its most prominent features. "Like A Novel" gives much more than it ever promises. The biggest reward for the persistent readers is that they will get acquainted with hidden aspects of themselves in the non-space represented within the book.
Written in the third century B.C., it met with derision in the poet's native
city, Alexandria, and the second version was first acclaimed by the Rhodians
before its more widespread success. Though Apollonius used the manner and
matter of epic, he wrote from a personal viewpoint, as a critical observer.
His understanding of human nature, his unerring eye for dramatic moment, and
his quiet sense of humor give reality and spirit to this fantastic story of
high romance and incredible adventure.
Penguin, 215 pages, 5.0x7.7 inches, Paper, $ 9.95
FABLES OF AESOP, translated by S.A. Handford with illustrations by B. Robb
In this collection, the clarity and wisdom of the fables are demonstrated in
a simple and elegant translation by Handford. From the best-known examples -
the dog in the manger, the boy who cried wolf - to much less familiar tales,
here is the complete version of over two hundred stories. Each has its own
sharply pointed moral and its individual cast of characters, some
anthropomorphically animal, others all too recognizably human.
2Penguin, 228 pages, 5.0x7.7 inches, Paper, $ 7.95
NEW VOICES IN THE NATION: Women and the Greek Resistance, 1941-1964, by Janet Hart
In Greece the resistance movement during World War II also involved an unprecedented opportunity for social and political change. Key leaders of the National Liberation Front envisioned postwar Greece as a popular democracy structured to allow a range of new voices to be heard. Believing gender equality to be one of the hallmarks of modernity, they attempted to expand the category of "national citizen" to include women as well as men.
Hart describes how lives were transformed by active participation in the
resistance against the Germans and in the anti-Communist aftermath of the
war. Political action proved exhilarating for women who had grown up in a
prewar world of narrowly constricted gender roles. Hart has interviewed many
survivors, and their testimony transcends local boundaries to capture the
experience of emancipation.
Cornell University, 313 pages, 6x9 inches, Paper, $ 16.95
RUSSIAN SOCIETY AND THE GREEK REVOLUTION, by Theophilus C. Prousis
The Greek War of Independence seized the imagination of Romantics all across Europe. Russians embraced Greek Independence with a passion. Given the historical affinities that stretched from the Middle Ages, they could do no less.
While European currents such as classical Hellenism, romanticism, and humanism all helped to draw the Russians to the side of the Greeks, their common Orthodox faith and shared ties to Byzantium supplied the most powerful impetus. Although reasons of state made military intervention in the Greek revolt against the Ottoman Turks impossible, nearly all sectors of Russian society rallied in support of their fellow Orthodox Christians against the infidel in the south. The Russians' new philhellenism prompted the study of Greek history, culture, and letters.
Prousis' study complements the growing literature on Russian historical
and cultural ties to the Greek East. It will appeal to a broad audience
interested in imperial Russian society, Russia's interaction with the
Orthodox East and the Balkans, and Western philhellenism.
Northern Illinois University, 259 pages, 6.3x9.3 inc., Cloth, $ 31.50
Suvexizovtas tn suggrafikn tns avazntnsn mesa apo mikra peza keimeva, n
Politopoulou, meta tov "Hxo tns Sauras", epavatemvei to poludiastato twv
sxesewv kai tn thesn tns guvaikas s' autes mesa apo eva akomn troposwpo
agngnma. Movo pou edw, movn parousa sto xrovo tns afngnsns eivai n guvaika,
evw ta alla duo proswpa, n avipsia, stnv opoia apeuthuvei to logo, kai o
avtras, apousiazouv. Me evallagn tritoproswpns afngnsns kai prwtoproswpns
epistolografias, n xamnlotovn dingnsn avatrexei stis avamvnseis tns
apomovwmevns se kapoio vnsi guvaikas, tis opoies evisxuei h parateivomevn
apousia tou avtra kai prokalei n agapn pros tnv avipsia pou biwvei evav
prosfato xwrismo, tov povo tou opoiou ta grammata tns theias prospathouv va
apalyvouv. Keimevo pou evswmatovei ta diakeva kai tis siwpes, pou kathista
drastikn tnv apospasmatopoinsn. Apolutn oikovomis dingnsns, thuella xwris
orates ekrnkseis, afngnsh ruthmikn. To biblio kosmouv duo sxedia tou Giavvn
84 selides, 1995, Eksavtas
ES-ES-ES-ER RWSSIA, tou Andrea Empeirikou
Me aformn eva taksidi-proskuvnma stn Rwsia pou pragmatopoinse to Dekembrio
tou 1962, o Empeirikos egrapse eva evthousiastriko poinma, evav umvo stn
megalosuvn kai th lampsn tns rwsikns psuxns. Topos tns paidikns nlikias tou,
n xwra autn askei stov pointn mia idiaitern gonteia. Keimevo autobiografiko
gemato avamnnseis ki avapolnseis, istoriko vtokoumevto, marturia, politiko
sxolio, to "Es-Es-Es-Er Rwssia" kiveitai se polla epipeda kai epitrepei
pollaples proseggiseis. Pleovazei n truferotnta kai o gvnsios thaumasmos gia
to rwsiko nthos kai tnv idiosugkrasia twv nrwwv tou Tolstoi. H ekdosn egive
gia va timnthouv ta eikosi xrovia apo to thavato tou pointn.
20 selides, 1995, Agra
The Alexander S. Onassis Center will present "daydreams", an exhibit of laser prints from the "Landform Series" and recent sculpture by Fotini Vurgaropoulou. An opening reception will be held on May 2 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. 58 West 10th Street. (212) 998-3990.
May 17 * Astoria, NY - LECTURE
The Hellenic American Women's Council and the Soulioteses Society will sponsor a human rights lecture by Kathryn Cameron Porter. Nicholas Gage will introduce the event. The lecture will take place at the Epirotiko Center in Astoria at 7:00 PM. For further information, call (212) 228-2600 or (718) 680-4208.
May 18 * New York, NY - READING
The Alexander S. Onassis Center and the Greek Writers Association will present "Odysseus Elytis: A Celebration" with Olga Broumas, Andonis Decavalles, Petros Hatjopoulos and Gregory Maninakis. Greenberg Lounge, Vanderbilt Hall, 40 Washington Square South, 6:00 to 8:30 PM. For more information, call (212) 998-3990.
May 19 * Cambridge, MA - LECTURE
The Helicon Society is sponsoring a lecture and slideshow by Dr. Constantine Hionides, Boston University School of Medicine, entitled "Ancient Greek Monuments and Temples." The Greek Institute, 1038 Massachusetts Ave., 3:30 PM. Admission is free. For more infornation, call (617) 338-0001.
May 20 * New York, NY - PANEL
The Alexander S. Onassis Center and the justice for Cyprus Committee will present a panel discussion on "Cyprus, Twendy-two Years Later: Toward a Settlement or Continued Division?" with Dr. Van Coufoudakis, Dr. Niazi Kizilyurek, Congressman Robert Menendez and Dr. Christos Ioannides. Tischman Auditorium, Vanderbilt Hall, 40 Washington Square South, 6:30 to 8:30 PM. For more information, call (212) 998-3990.
May 24 * Chicago, IL - LECTURE
Marianne McDonald, Professor of Theater and Classics at the University of California, San Diego will speak on "Ancient Theatre in Modern Times: Japanese and Greek Classical Drama," at Fullerton Hall, The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan Ave. Co-sponsored by the Classical Art Society and The Art Institute of Chicago. For more information call (312) 443-3697.
June 2 * New York, NY - CONCERT
The Hellenic University Club and the Parnassos Greek Cultural Society will present a classical guitar concert featuring Antigoni Goni at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, 319 East 74th Street, at 3:30 PM. Donation is $10. For more information, contact Athanasia Gregoriades, (212) 989-5391.
June 2 * New York, NY - RECEPTION
The Hellenic American Educators Association will hold a reception in honor of Dr. C. G. Hatzidimitriou and Dr. C. A. Costantakos at the Hotel Inter-Continental, 111 E 48th St., 1:30 PM. The donation for the event is $50, or $55 at the door. For information call 718-626-7943.
June 9 * New York, NY - CONCERT
The Metropolitan Greek Chorale, with guest conductor John Baboukis, will perform the New York premiere of Babouki's "God's World" at 3:30 PM at Merkin Hall, Abraham Goodman House, 129 W 67th St. The concert will also feature medieval and baroque music including Handel's "Utrecht Jubilate." For information call 908-735-6856. Ticket donation $20.
June 16 * New York, NY - LECTURE
The Holy Trinity Cathedral Fellowship will host a lecture on "Byzantine Iconography: A Theology in Colors" by Katerina Tsigas. The lecture will begin at 1:00 PM, 319 E 74th St. For information, call 212-627-7813.
June 24-28 * Mexico - CONFERENCE
The International Conference of Modern Greek Language will be held at the National Autonomus University of Mexico.
Australia 20 Italy 3 Brazil 1 Japan 2 Canada 27 Mexico 1 Cyprus 1 Netherlands 3 Denmark 4 New Zealand 2 Finland 1 Norway 1 France 9 Singapore 1 Germany 4 Slovenija 1 Greece 30 Sweden 1 Hong Kong 1 Switzerland 4 Hungary 3 Turkey 2 Ireland 3 United Kingdom 40 Israel 4 United States 380