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Dionysios Solomos and the Fictions of Criticism: Poly las' "Prolegomena" as Künstlerroman Vassilis Lambropoulos εμόϕφωσα την Υπόθεση και εδιάταξα τ' αποσπάσματα —Πολυλάς This paper does not propose a new, more competent reading of Solomos but attempts to destruct the most venerable one ever produced by drawing attention to the literary genre whose conventions support its popular claims to authenticity. My specific aim is to deal with the "Prolegomena" written by Polylas (and prefixed to all editions of Solomos' oeuvre that have come out this century) not as a critical biography but as a Künstlerroman, a short, dense novella of personal education. My main argument is that this text should be read as a literary one—a magnificent literary work which successfully set the standards used in every approach to the poet, and thus effected an interpretative closure and preempted any possible revisionary reading . The authority of the "Prolegomena" has remained virtually unquestioned. Since its first publication in 1859, when it introduced the poet's extant works, it has always been taken at face value as the best biography and critical appreciation of Solomos. Even the standard edition of his Collected Works by Linos Politis (1948, 1955, 1960) begins with it and obeys the principles of its policy. Given the exclusive emphasis (and complete trust) granted to its "content," the text has been treated not as a literary monument but as a critical document : it is read for the value of its information. Therefore, it is unsurprising that Solomic scholarship, after the initial excitement over the publication of the manuscripts by Politis in 1966, has followed a rather pedantic and unproductive path. In fact, I would argue that as long as Polylas is considered a trustworthy guide into the poet's 29 30 Vassilis Lambropoulos workshop, the related exegetical labor will remain a series of humble footnotes to his first editor's masterful interpretation, bereft of any hermeneutic awareness and critical insight. The destruction, then, of Polylas' "Prolegomena" and its powerful influence is a priority for Greek criticism. Its purpose is not, of course, to recover the "real" Solomos, to discover the one hidden behind the well-known portraits, but rather to liberate his work from the limitations imposed by that definitive reading and to render it available to new, fresh approaches. Needless to say, such a destruction , if successful, would entail the destruction of the author "Solomos " too, of the unique literary genius invented and eulogized by patriotic pride. As long as the figure of the national poet constructed out of scattered fragments remains an aesthetic object of romantic admiration, any attempt to look at his manuscripts is doomed to fragmentation and repressed idealization, since we still read them only as if they were the foundations of the canon as well as the origin of the belated anxiety of modern Greek literature: the idealization of his fragments fragments our artistic and/or critical ideals. I would like to propose two strategies for the destruction of the "Prolegomena," and for this particular occasion follow the first. A possible approach could be a literary one, i.e., to read the text as a literary monument, specify the genre to which it belongs, and point to the conventions supporting its functions. Another destructive reading could be written as a genealogical approach that would define the historical (including political, social, and ideological) conditions under which the work was received and consumed so effectively as a critical document by various discourses. The former would concentrate on the artistic conventionality of the work, the latter on the arbitrariness of its ideological uses. Having as a common target the statue of the bard erected by Polylas, both would try to expose that aspect of his writing consistently suppressed by the humanistic tradition of Greek criticism: its textuality—that is, the rhetorical constitution of what still is the supreme romantic semiosis in Modern Greek. This paper, as mentioned before, will attempt to read the "Prolegomena " as a work of literature and place it in a particular genre sub-category, the Künstlerroman—the novel of the artist. But first the genre of fiction to which it belongs, the Bildungsroman, must be introduced . My brief discussion will be based on two broad surveys, the one...


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