Modern Greek literature
Modern Greek literature refers to literature written in common Modern Greek, emerging from late Byzantine times in the 11th century AD. During this period, spoken Greek became more prevalent in the written tradition, as demotic Greek came to be used more and more over the Attic idiom and the katharevousa reforms.
The migration of Byzantine scholars and other émigrés from southern Italy and Byzantium during the decline of the Byzantine Empire (1203–1453) and mainly after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 until the 16th century, is considered by some scholars as key to the revival of Greek and Roman studies and subsequently in the development of the Renaissance humanism and science. These emigres were grammarians, humanists, poets, writers, printers, lecturers, musicians, astronomers, architects, academics, artists, scribes, philosophers, scientists, politicians and theologians. They brought to Western Europe the far greater preserved and accumulated knowledge of their own civilization.
The Cretan Renaissance poem Erotokritos is undoubtedly the masterpiece of this early period of modern Greek literature, and represents one of its supreme achievements. It is a verse romance written around 1600 by Vitsentzos Kornaros (1553–1613). The other major representative of the Cretan literature was Georgios Chortatzis.
Much later, Diafotismos was an ideological, philological, linguistic and philosophical movement among 18th century Greeks that translate the ideas and values of European Enlightenment into the Greek world. Adamantios Korais and Rigas Feraios are two of the most notable figures. In 1819, Korakistika, written by Iakovakis Rizos Neroulos, was a lampoon against the Greek intellectual Adamantios Korais and his linguistic views.
The years before the Greek Independence, the Ionian islands became the center of the Heptanese School (literature). Its main characteristics was the Italian influence, romanticism, nationalism and use of Demotic Greek. Notable representatives were Andreas Laskaratos, Andreas Kalvos, Aristotelis Valaoritis and Dionysios Solomos.
After the independence the intellectual center was transferred in Athens. A major figure of this new era was Kostis Palamas, considered "national poet" of Greece. He was the central figure of the Greek literary generation of the 1880s and one of the cofounders of the so-called New Athenian School (or Palamian School). Its main characteristic was the use of Demotic Greek. He was also the writer of the Olympic Hymn.
Modern Greek literature is usually (but not exclusively) written in polytonic orthography, though the monotonic orthography was made official in 1981 by Andreas Papandreou government. Modern Greek literature is represented by many writers, poets and novelists. Major representatives are Angelos Sikelianos, Emmanuel Rhoides, Athanasios Christopoulos, Kostis Palamas, Penelope Delta, Yannis Ritsos, Alexandros Papadiamantis, Nikos Kazantzakis, Andreas Embeirikos, Kostas Karyotakis, Gregorios Xenopoulos, Constantine P. Cavafy, Demetrius Vikelas, while George Seferis and Odysseas Elytis have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Other writers include Manolis Anagnostakis, Nicolas Calas, Kiki Dimoula, Maro Douka, Nikos Engonopoulos, Nikos Gatsos, Iakovos Kambanelis, Nikos Kavvadias, Andreas Karkavitsas, Kostas Krystallis, Dimitris Lyacos, Petros Markaris, Jean Moréas, Stratis Myrivilis, Dimitris Psathas, Ioannis Psycharis, Alexandros Rizos Rangavis, Miltos Sahtouris, Antonis Samarakis, Giannis Skarimpas, Dido Sotiriou, Alexandros Soutsos, Panagiotis Soutsos, Angelos Terzakis, Kostas Varnalis, Vassilis Vassilikos, Elias Venezis, Nikephoros Vrettakos.
- R. Beaton, "An Introduction to Modern Greek Literature", Oxford University Press, USA, 1999.
- M. Vitti, "Ιστορία της Νεοελληνικής Λογοτεχνίας" (History of Modern Greek Literature), ed. Οδυσσέας, Athens, 2003. (in Greek)
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