Mediterranean Modernisms

The Poetic Metaphysics of Odysseus Elytis

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  • Marinos Pourgouris, University of Cyprus, Cyprus.
  • Engaging with the work of Nobel Prize-winning poet Odysseus Elytis within the framework of international modernism, Marinos Pourgouris places the poet's work in the context of other modernist and surrealist writers in Europe. At the same time, Pourgouris puts forward a redefinition of European Modernism that makes the Mediterranean, and Greece in particular, the discursive contact zone and incorporates neglected elements such as national identity and geography. Beginning with an examination of Greek Modernism, Pourgouris's study places Elytis in conversation with Albert Camus; analyzes the influence of Charles Baudelaire, Gaston Bachelard, and Sigmund Freud on Elytis's theory of analogies; traces the symbol of the sun in Elytis's poetry by way of the philosophies of Heraclitus and Plotinus; examines the influence of Le Corbusier on Elytis's theory of architectural poetics; and takes up the subject of Elytis's application of his theory of Solar Metaphysics to poetic form in the context of works by Freud, C. G. Jung, and Michel Foucault. Informed by extensive research in the United States and Europe, Pourgouris's study makes a compelling contribution to the comparative study of Greek modernism, the Mediterranean, and the work of Odysseus Elytis.

  • Contents: Introduction: Odysseus Elytis and the specter of nationalism; Modernism: from Paris to Athens; Towards a new Mediterranean culture; The theory of analogies; Solar metaphysics; Architectural poetics; Appendix: Odysseus Elytis: life and works; Works cited; Index.

  • About the Author: Marinos Pourgouris is Assistant Professor in the Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at the University of Cyprus, Cyprus.

  • Reviews: 'Mediterranean Modernisms is the first comparative study of Odysseus Elytis, the important Greek poet and Nobel Laureate. Marinos Pourgouris analyzes individual poems and draws connections between Elytis’s work and wider literary movements. Along the way, he challenges our understanding of national modernism and world literature while also charting his own theory of Mediterranean poetics. Undaunted in his pursuit of a Greek and a European Elytis, Pourgouris provides a kaleidoscopic look at the place of poetry in the Mediterranean imaginary.'
    Gregory Jusdanis, Distinguished Humanities Professor and Director of the Modern Greek Studies Program at The Ohio State University, USA

    'A continually developed poetics, the various ideas of which are substantiated almost exclusively through language and form, needs powerful tools in theory and method, which Pourgouris does not at all lack. His systematization of Elytis’s poetic thought in a wider postcolonial context, a project only marginally and empirically actualized by previous scholarship and criticism, is well organized and advanced, providing a good example of applying theory in the investigation of an entire oeuvre.' Journal of Modern Greek Studies

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    Extracts from this title are available to view:

    Full contents list

    Introduction

    Index