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Reviews 117 as it may have seemed at the time. Even Adams would allow two cheers for Greece, but only as long as America did so from its own sphere. Lawrence S. Kaplan Kent State University Thanos Veremis and John Koliopoulos, eds., Ion Dragoumis, Φνλλα Ήμεϕολογίον,Δ' (1908-12). Athens: Ermis, 1985. Pp. 16 + 251. Ion Dragoumis (1878-1920), the well-known diplomat, author and politician, wrote during his lifetime 1,748 pages of private thoughts on people and places, of reports of conversations, of current gossip. This material was found in 15 notebooks which the publisher Ermis divided into six units: 1895-1902, 1902-05, 1905-08, 190812 , 1913-17, 1917-20. For reasons not clear to me, Ermis has published the fourth set first, spanning the years from 1908 to 1912. These were, indeed, crucial years in the national life of Greece: the revolution of the Young Turks in 1908, the military revolt of 1909, the recall of Eleftherios Venizelos from Crete to Athens in 1910, the beginning of the 'monarchical democracy' (vassilevoméni dimokratia) with the writing of the 1911 Constitution, the military preparations that preceded the Balkan Wars of 1912-13. Yet, Dragoumis writes very little about politics in this volume. Rather, he dwells on his personal feelings, his own inner self—in the style of Maurice Barres' 'Culte du Moi'—his own idealistic visions about the future of the Greek nation (to éthnos). He also writes about his frustrations with the bureaucrats, his supervisors at work (151) and with the politicians for whom he has utter contempt since "everybody, however ignorant, can become a politician" (236). He is the man apart, the elitist: ' ' How beautiful to have always an opposite opinion to that of the mob, the multitude, the country" (159). He views himself as a prophet, as a leader of men: "Trikoupis is a 'public man'; I am an 'apostolic man' " (161). Of course, much of the content of the diary is idiosyncratic and, perhaps, represents the general attitudes of the privileged classes. One feels his paternalistic attitude towards the lower social classes and his resistance to the 'bourgeois' liberal party and its leaders. Remarks on Venizelos—a key figure of the politics of the times—appear rarely and when they do they are condescending and ironic (220). 118 Reviews The only redeeming quality of this volume is the excellent use of the demotic language; the obvious commitment of Dragoumis to it is noteworthy. It is disappointing, though, to see no mention of his activities in the National Language Society and the Educational Society , which he helped establish. Otherwise, the central theme of the volume consists of the infatuation of the author with the celebrated actress Marika Kotopouli, at that time a 21 year old, rather unattractive but 'very experienced' and ambitious starlet. We are, thus, treated to the ups and downs of this socially incompatible young couple. We do know that Dragoumis was the leading nationalist writer of the 'generation of 1897,' a passionate proponent of national revival , a friend and admirer of the Hellenocentric and sui generis Periklis Yiannopoulos, an ideologist who dreamed of a greater Greece that should encompass Eastern Hellenism and inherit the dying Ottoman Empire. (For a good analysis of Dragoumis' work see Gerasimos Augustinus, Consciousness and History: Nationalist Critics of Greek Society 1897-1914 [East European Quarterly: Boulder (distributed by Columbia University Press, New York), 1977]). It is fortunate we are familiar with this background, otherwise we would have been lost in this first installment of the diary. The remaining volumes should give us a more balanced view of Dragoumis' personality . What we have now is only a 'period piece' which, one suspects, may also be the most marketable (because sensational) part. The well-known editors of the volume, Thanos Veremis and John Koliopoulos, do not seem to have been 'taken' by the contents of the diary. Their attitude is lukewarm and their introductory comments ambiguous. In their many footnotes they attempt to provide background information for the reader and, because of the multitude of disparate persons and places that appear, it is admittedly difficult to present a focussed supporting commentary. Yet, the editors could have selected some points for lengthier...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 117-119
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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