The Other Self: Selfhood and Society in Modern Greek Fiction (Greek Studies)

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The other self : selfhood and society in modern Greek fiction

The Other Self. The Other Self is the first English-language, book-length literary analysis of some of the most celebrated Greek novels of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A must read for anyone interested in Greek literature and culture, it offers both a solid introduction to modern Greek literature and close reading of individual texts.


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Author Dimitris Tziovas focuses on the issues of identity, autobiography, and social determinism raised in these texts, providing a fresh perspective and suggesting new ways of exploring forms of engagement between self and society. Greek narratives of self, Tziovas suggests, are not naked and transparent presentations of existence, but articulations of the relationship between the individual and the social world; they are negotiations of the past through the otherness of the present.

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A compelling demonstration of the richness and complexity of modern Greek fiction, The Other Self provides exciting and challenging interpretations of Greek literature and Greek society. This attempt at self-definition has not been an easy task and has been constantly debated over the years. Would you like to comment on this?


  1. The Other Self.
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  4. The Other Self: Selfhood and Society in Modern Greek Fiction.
  5. On the other hand, some Greeks developed a sense of victimhood, often reinforced by references to history. The combination of victimhood and conspiracy theories is a symptom of a national narcissism and reactivates feelings of ethnocentrism or even racism, pointing to the importance of cultural attitudes in coping with the crisis and the role of the media in promoting such responses. Philhellenism has become an integral part of the modern Greek identity, and the crisis has enhanced a sentimental and romanticized approach to international relations.

    The crisis has also sparked off a debate about Europe and a rethinking of its cultural values, politics and orientation. Harking back to an elusive ideal of European humanism, which has been gradually eroded due to neo-liberal austerity and the shrinking of the welfare state, it is claimed that the crisis precipitated the clash of two visions of Europe: an older and rather idealized Europe of human solidarity and democratic values, and that of the technocrats and managers, leading to social exclusion and restricted access to education.

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    This clash suggests that for many Greeks Europe is gradually moving away from past ideals, and its future unity and identity is increasingly in doubt. The past humanist aspiration of an integrated Europe seems to be contrasted with its uncertain future undermined by nationalism and the South—North divide.

    The Other Self: Selfhood and Society in Modern Greek Fiction - Dēmētrēs Tziovas - Google книги

    References in the international media to the classical Greek past are often deployed in a condescending way. What does this attitude mean for the international perception of Greece?

    During the crisis many foreign commentators and journalists have used ancient Greek mythology or imagery in order to illustrate the dire economic situation of the country and the predicament of its people. It has been claimed that ancient myths lend context to the swirl of acrimony and austerity, bailouts and brinkmanship, and have plenty to say about hubris and ruin, order and chaos, boom and bust.

    It is clear that Greek antiquity functions as a crucial symbolic resource in the annotation of modern Greece. It is a trope through which the western media, and by extension the West, approach and portray Greece in crisis. The Greek crisis is translated against a Hellenic ideal, or even against an antique stereotype. This frequent reference to the ancient Greek world in relation to the crisis is rather surprising considering that in other areas the ties between classical and modern Greece are presented as tenuous.

    Though the notion of a cultural continuity has been promoted by the Greeks, it has been consistently resisted by many westerners. It resurfaces only in periods of crisis and for the purposes of unfavourable reporting or commentary.

    The Other Self: Selfhood and Society in Modern Greek Fiction (Greek Studies)

    Ancient myths might offer journalists and commentators the opportunity to illustrate their stories and perhaps make them more appealing to their audiences, but this deceptive connection aims to draw an implicit criticism by contrasting ancient glory with contemporary failures. In spite the fact that Greece represents around 3 per cent of the European economy, its cultural gravitas in the European project is much greater than its economic weight.

    Another country of similar size might have been forced to leave the eurozone, but Greece still occupies a special place in the European imaginary. Is there an alternative to this mode of thinking and debating?

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    The narratives on the Greek crisis follow the division of the Greek people into supporters and opponents of the bailout agreement. What is interesting is that both narratives have a time dimension in the sense that they see the crisis either as a relatively synchronic event or as a culmination of a long process of incompetence and state failure. Along with the inadequacies of the Greek administration, it is acknowledged that the crisis brought to the surface the imperfections of the EU.

    It has also induced Greek society to rethink its values, to revisit its founding myths and to re-examine its earlier certainties. This involves to a certain extent a narrativization of the traumas of history, an interrogation of past practices and a critical searching for what went wrong, using the past as a guide. As a result the past is destabilized and at the same time acts as a source of strength. What is the significance of such initiatives and can they be useful for the better understanding of Greece by international publics?



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