Surrealism in Greece: An Anthology (Surrealist Revolution Series)
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In the decades between the two World Wars, Greek writers and artists adopted surrealism both as an avant-garde means of overturning the stifling traditions of their classical heritage and also as a way of responding to the extremely unstable political situation in their country. Despite producing much first-rate work throughout the rest of the twentieth century, Greek surrealists have not been widely read outside of Greece. This volume seeks to remedy that omission by offering authoritative translations of the major works of the most important Greek surrealist writers.
Nikos Stabakis groups the Greek surrealists into three generations: the founders (such as Andreas Embirikos, Nikos Engonopoulos, and Nicolas Calas), the second generation, and the Pali Group, which formed around the magazine Pali. For each generation, he provides a very helpful introduction to the themes and concerns that animate their work, as well as concise biographies of each writer. Stabakis anthologizes translations of all the key surrealist works of each generation—poetry, prose, letters, and other documents—as well as a selection of rarer texts. His introduction to the volume places Greek surrealism within the context of the international movement, showing how Greek writers and artists used surrealism to express their own cultural and political realities.
his hands he holds a phial Full of engine oil. Vision of Morning Hours For Yves Tanguy Natural inclination Spread by the pulses’ dove The tears of rivers flow endlessly They are the tears of homeless joy They are the lakes where snow-white storks once dwelled No southwest wind nestles among the sugarcanes And clouds rise whenever a gunshot sounds Their scattered layers are elevated Where the corvettes are spreading their sails Down on earth a shadow seeks her lost body The climate of the valley
shines in romanticism, but only those aspects of it whose lighting terrifies. And it has a lot to reproach romanticism for, just as many who are now close to surrealism are reproached by it. A romantic stance toward romanticism is today conceivable through surrealism alone, as in Mallarmé’s time it was only conceivable through symbolism. Yet today, Nicolas Calas 6 9 as Julien Green in the novel, Jaloux or Marcel Brion in criticism, live by breathing surrealism, without being surrealists,
latter remains unanswered for too long. This age-old habit of considering real only what we touch, of calling subjective only what we see, expressed as a rule in the first person singular, has created confusion, throwing a deceptive veil over the truth. While those who touch upon the social aspects of intellectual manifestations rightly stress the necessity of our contact with reality, they cannot comprehend that we are on their side, or rather ahead of them; because, to us, surreality means
sun’s duel When within the blond heads of inexperienced adventures it starts Explosions—when the paces of desires are inflamed shaking the angry bridges And all the labor drips in diamonds And all the labor falls from the glory of a day that has known the insatiable unfolding of youth . . . Blood to this act! Blood to our acts—to the burning touches of the earthly world blood! For we have thrown an armful of tree-barks carved with names to the still hopeful beach Odysseus Elytis 1 6 1 For
V. Makris, who would later become a vital member of the Pali group, also participated in those sessions, which extended into meetings at coffeehouses and some publishing activity. It was not, however, to last for long. The aforementioned wartime crisis experienced by Embirikos was not without its counterpart in the upbringing of his younger friends. Greece emerged completely devastated from the Occupation, only to be plunged directly into a catastrophic civil war. The revolutionary Resistance,