In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews 153 tions and the misprints. Warhaft notes that her annotations are sparse out of deference to the wishes of Kavadias's sister, who felt that many personal references should remain unexplained. Yet impersonal references often remain equally unexplained. This not only impoverishes the volume for the reader; it also leads occasionally to infelicities in translation, as when the ending to the poem "Salonika," «μάταια θα ψάχνεις το στϕατί που πάει για το Dépôt» is given as "you'll search in vain for the road to the depot" (162-163) whereas proper research would have revealed that the Dépôt in this city is not a depot at all, but the terminus for buses coming from the banlieue—in this case from Kalamariá, where the poem's protagonist once knew a girl who said to him, "I love you." Occasionally, glosses are deftly inserted in the verse itself, as when «Χόϕτο ξανθό τϕίποδο σκÎ-πει μαντικό» becomes helpfully "Pale grass covers the Pythian tripod" (214-215); generally, however, one wishes that this volume had received the scholarly care lavished, for example, on Walter Arndt's translation of The Best of Rilke (Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1989). As for the misprints, these betray an irresponsible publisher. We are confronted with "1943" instead of "1934," «Καβαφικά Αϕοσχόλια», "voputuous spasms," "I've been bord," "killed by ... soul" instead of "killed my . . . soul," "astralobe," and more. Fortunately, the Greek poems are reproduced photographically from the original editions and are letterperfect . These defects are tiny compared to the luxury of a bilingual edition, the excellence of the translations, which won the Columbia University Translation Center's prize in 1984, and, most of all, the chance for anglophone readers to make the full acquaintance of yet one more major poet produced by Greece during its astonishing literary renaissance. Peter Bien Dartmouth College Elisavet Moutzan-Martinengou, My Story. Translated by Helen Dendrinou Kolias. Athens, Georgia & London: The University of Georgia Press. 1989. Pp. xxxiv + 125. $22.50. My Story is the journal of Elisavet Moutzan-Martinengou, a woman and a writer who lived her short life on the island of Zakynthos at the beginning of the 19th century (1801-1832). Although the greater part of her work has been lost, the present volume, which previously was edited by her son and published in Greek, remains. It tells the story of Moutzan-Martinengou's imprisonment within the family estate, her pursuit of learning and her search for teachers, her desire to enter a convent and her family's refusal, and, above all, her attempt to come to terms with a life she found unbearable. Unfortunately , only 64 of the 150 pages of this volume are "her story." Whereas 154 Reviews Moutzan-Martinengou was once cloistered within the walls of a house she hated, she is now enclosed within a preface, introduction, afterword, and footnotes that, much like those other walls, have domesticated her, prescribed her identity, and usurped her voice. While giving us an occasional revelatory glimpse into the life of a 19thcentury housebound woman, My Story is above all a Künstlerroman and a lamentation—two genres which may indeed be inseparable for a 19th-century woman. Moutzan-Martinengou's story, then, is not one of a consummated artistic career; instead, it is an apology for the desire to write and a mourning for lost possibilities. Although she argues that she writes to benefit others, to bring recognition to herself, and to show what nature is capable of doing without the help of art, Moutzan-Martinengou also quite patently writes to change her life, as evidenced, for example, in the letter that she writes to her father and uncle—complete with subtle syllogistic reasoning, cogent examples, and analyses of counter-arguments—begging permission to join a convent. Ironically, it is by way of lamenting her inability to change her life that she does, in fact, change her life—by transforming it into "her story." Hence, she repeatedly scripts her life in familiar literary forms—dialogues, fables, tragedies , and letters that she copies into her journal—and frequently addresses a "reader" who ostensibly functions both as a hypothetical community which commiserates and as a legitimating medium by which her suffering, and her writing, are rendered meaningful. However, while...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 153-155
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.