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Introduction The 8 essays which follow are a selection from some 35 papers delivered at a conference jointly sponsored by the Modern Greek Studies Association and Anatolia College in July 1985. This was the second collaboration between MGSA and Anatolia in a summer scholarly meeting, and it is the intent that the series should be extended.* The gratifying large number of speakers and listeners and the variety of geographical locations and institutions represented, verified that a summer conclave in Greece offers special advantages of time and place for bringing together scholars of Hellenic topics. Thanks are due to all those who made addresses at the conference . The editors regret that limitations of space allowed only a small number of the papers to be included in this publication, necessitating the omission of some fine studies. It should be noted that Thessaloniki is an especially apt venue for assessing the Greek experience of Asia Minor which has so seared the nation's consciousness. More than any other city of Greece it was Thessaloniki and its Macedonian hinterland, recently liberated from the Sultan, which felt the impact of the Asia Minor debacle and received the waves of involuntary migrants who occupied vacated Moslem properties or concentrated in miserable refugee settlements. Its Asia Minor heritage continues today to exert a strong and palpable influence upon the life of this city. The timing and subject of this conference, however, were more than matters of convenience and scholarly relevance alone. The year 1986 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of Anatolia College , an American sponsored school whose past divides into its Asia Minor and its Greek phases. Anatolia came to Thessaloniki as part of the refugee movement and for many years after its relocation Asia Minor refugees predominated among its students. Anatolia is grateful to MGSA for sharing in the celebration of the College's centennial year through the joint sponsorship of this scholarly endeavor. * Papers from the first conference were published in 1982 as MGSA Occasional Paper no. 1, entitled New Trends in Modern Greek Historiography, edited by A. Lily Macrakis and P. Nikiforos Diamandouros. 71 72 William McGrew Inevitably a discussion about Greece and Asia Minor in the modern era by Greeks and Philhellenes will tend to focus largely upon that event of transcendent importance for Asia Minor Hellenism , the defeat of the Greek forces in 1922 and the subsequent expulsion of Christians from Turkey. The historical record ofthat violent rupture has been fairly well limned. The preoccupation of several of the authors in this collection is rather with the perpetuation and transmutation of those events in the collective Greek memory through fictional recreations. Through artistic transformation rather than actual narrative reenactment the unhealed wounds of the nation 's great loss and humiliation serve as a dark inspiration for writers between the two World Wars. In more or less explicit or subtle ways the works of George Seferis, George Theotokas, Elias Venezis and Kosmas Politis carry the burden of stricken Hellenism's lament expressed in themes of nostalgia, melancholy and pessimism. The generations which experienced the catastrophe cannot overcome their emotional fixation on the lost homeland, but can turn it to creative expression so that it becomes both bondage and liberation. It was not only the victims of the Greek disaster who were transfixed by the uprooting of a centuries-old civilization. Foreign observers were also profoundly moved by the scale ofthat human tragedy. Ernest Hemingway bore witness to the evacuation of Greek soldiers and civilians from Eastern Thrace as a young journalist in 1922. His notes and dispatches on this wartime retreat were refined and reproduced in his later art. The contradictions and ambiquities of the catastrophe are perhaps nowhere more evident than in representations of the Turkish adversary, who ceases to be a mere villain in the more artistic works of Greek "disaster literature," but rather shares the full range of human qualities, as shown by Marianthe Colakis. During the decades before the final cataclysm of 1922 the leaders of the Christian element in Ottoman society were caught up in the contradictions and ambiquities resulting from their dependence upon a weakening imperial authority challenged by the aggressive nationalism of the new...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 71-74
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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