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"His Words Were Nourishment and His Counsel Food"

A Festschrift for David W. Holton

Editor(s): Efrosini Camatsos, Tassos A. Kaplanis, Jocelyn Pye

Book Description

“His Words were Nourishment and his Counsel Food”: A Festschrift for David W. Holton brings together essays on Greek literature from medieval romances to postmodern fiction. It provides an illuminating first insight into the variety of Modern Greek literature for the general reader, while also catering to more specialised students and scholars with new research findings and close studies of individual texts. The editors and authors, all former doctoral students of Professor Holton at Cambridge, conceived this volume as a thanksgiving present to him on the occasion of his retirement and as a collection which reflects the high quality and significance of Modern Greek studies at the University of Cambridge.

The essays explore themes ranging from the erotic gaze and nightingales to cannibalism and dictatorships. Individual contributions discuss the relationship of Greek works with French and Persian medieval romances, the Italian Renaissance and German expressionism, and the influence of Shakespeare on the best-known Modern Greek poet, C. P. Cavafy. Others explore the interrelation of architecture and literature in the Cretan Renaissance masterpiece Erotokritos, the influence of religious texts on Roidis’s Pope Joan, and the assimilation of Byzantium into Greek historiography by intellectuals of Greek Romanticism. On a more personal level, the reader will learn about the experiences of a British Victorian woman translator in 1880s Athens, and the friendship between George Seferis and Sir Steven Runciman. Cretan cities figure in three essays which investigate the literary and historical context of the long Ottoman siege of Chandax in the seventeenth century and issues of identity in the modern-day lives of Chania’s Greek and Turkish inhabitants. Shifting notions of identity are further explored in the contemporary Greek novels of an Albanian immigrant author.

His Words were Nourishment demonstrates the remarkable capacity of Greek literature to thrive within the context of cultural exchange and shifting historical boundaries.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-5543-3
ISBN-10: 1-4438-5543-X
Date of Publication: 01/04/2014
Pages / Size: 330 / A5
Price: £49.99


Dr Efrosini Camatsos has been teaching Modern Greek and English literature at universities in Athens since 2003. Her interests include nineteenth and twentieth-century women writers, feminist theory, and immigrant fiction. Her The Female “I” in Modern Greek Prose Fiction, 1924–1962 was published in 2013, and her first novel in 2010 (Athens: Livanis).

Dr Tassos A. Kaplanis is Assistant Professor of Modern Greek literature at the University of Cyprus. His research interests include early modern Greek language and literature, and comparative and interdisciplinary studies. His latest book is Ioakeim Kyprios’ Struggle: A Narrative Poem on the ‘Cretan War’ of 1645–1669, Editio Princeps (2012).

Dr Jocelyn Pye has taught Modern Greek from the Enlightenment to postmodernism at the University of Cambridge. Her own field of research is avant-garde prose fiction of the 1930s, on which she has published a number of essays. She is an experienced editor and translator.