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174 Reviews Dionysios Solomos, La Vüion prophétique du moine Dionysios ou La femme de Zante. Essai d' anastylose de l'oeuvre. Introduction, translation and commentary by Octave Merlier. Paris: Société d'Edition Les Belles Lettres. 1987. Athens: Center of Asia Minor Studies, Archives Melpo and Octave Merlier, I. Pp. 284. H γυναίκα της Ζάκυνθος is a milestone in demotic Greek literature . The second prose work of the poet Dionysios Solomos (1798— 1857), following the Diálogos (1823-1825), its first draft was completed in Zákynthos in 1826. It was subsequently reworked from the start in Corfu in 1828-1829, but then abandoned—perhaps because the author had spiritually outgrown it (see Emmanuel Kriarás, Σολωμός. O βίος—To épyo. Athens: Estia, 1970:66. 2nd Edition). Untitled, the work is included in Zákynthos holograph notebook no. 13. In addition, a transcription prepared by Iákovos Polylás (1826-1896) is extant in the National Library of Greece. The pages of the holograph, in large 4° format, are divided into two columns. The left-hand column contains the Greek text, clearly written and easily legible, with only a few cancellations and corrections. Later additions and corrections to the original draft, as well as the poet's notations in Italian, are recorded in the right-hand column. The notations are extremely improvisatory ; presumably they were meant to be consulted during a subsequent reworking of the text—something that never took place. Polylás' edition of Solomos' Τα ευϕισκόμενα (1859) did not include the entire text of The Woman of Zákynthos but only its third chapter, inserted among his prolegomena. The entire work was published for the first time by K. Kairofylas in 1927 (Σολωμοϕ ΑνÎ-κδοτα Î-ϕγα. Αθήνα: Στοχαστή) and was reissued in 1944 by Linos Politis in a self-contained edition based on Polylás' transcription. In 1955 Politis reissued the text as Volume 2 of Solomos' Απαντα (Athens: Ikaros), this time employing as well the Zákynthos holograph. Starting in 1927, scholars concerned with Solomos' work began to consider the textual problems arising from The Woman of Zákynthos' mode of publication, as well as problems of interpretation. Preeminent among these works is that of the late French neohellenist Octave Merlier (1897—1976), who devoted approximately twenty years to the preparation of a new edition of The Woman of Zákynthos. We may now enjoy the results of this labor thanks to the affectionate efforts of the Center of Asia Minor Studies, and in particular to philologists Eléni Papanikoláou and Odysséas Dimitrakópoulos. In his Introduction (pp. 11-13), Merlier discusses Polylás' suppression of parts of the work and investigates the identity of the person concealed behind the woman of Zákynthos. Regarding the latter, he Reviews 175 concludes that this mysterious person is not "equal" merely to one of Solomos' relatives; rather, she coalesces traits of other women whom Solomos detested. Nor does she symbolize English rule. Merlier concludes , furthermore, that it was the poet's brother, Dimitrios Solomos, who forbade the work's publication after recognizing in it several ladies from his circle. In the "Introductory Note" that follows (pp. 15-21), Merlier discusses the work's subject matter (as we noted above, the work is untitled; the current title was invented by the first publisher because the woman answers frequently throughout the work). The subject matter includes the prophecies of the holy monk Dionysios, his adventures, description of the woman of Zákynthos, prophecies regarding the siege of Missolónghi, the woman's behavior vis-à -vis the female refugees from Missolónghi, the scene with the mirror, and death. Afterwards, Merlier refers to the Italian notes by Solomos that enrich the Greek text. Readers of Greek are confronted by two versions —the Greek of the principal text and the Italian of the notessomething that inhibits them from registering the unity of Solomos' thought. It is precisely this unity that Merlier seeks. Extracting from the notes whatever can be incorporated in the principal text, he senses that he has "reassembled" a new text that, compared to the text in its exclusively Greek form, displays a greater integrity and a more logical construction that is easier to interpret—even though it, too, remains incomplete...


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