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Rethinking the Greek legacy: Dorians in modern Greek fiction

Book Contribution - Chapter

The West has come to consider Greek Antiquity as the cradle of Western civilisation. In fact, this Greek legacy is largely an Athenian legacy only. Enlightenment never considered the Spartan/Dorian side of the Greek legacy as universally relevant. This makes it possible for Greek writers to claim it as a part of their national heritage, and to use it as a vehicle to express resistance against Western civilisation in its hegemonic dimension. In two novels by leading modernist authors, Kazantzakis and Karagatsis, the Dorians play the typical role of the U+2018primitivesU+2019 of modernist literature. In both cases, the Dorians offer a possibility to describe aristocratic forces, working against, in KazantzakisU+2019 novel, a civilisation without ideals, and, in KaragatsisU+2019 novel, an equalising society. Moreover, in KazantzakisU+2019 novel their power and violence are shown to form a prerequisite for the U+2018Greek miracleU+2019.
Book: Re-imagining the past : antiquity and modern Greek culture
Series: Classical Presences
Pages: 266 - 281
Publication year:2014