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164 Reviews DimitrisTziovas.ΔημήτϕηςΤζιόβας,Οιμεταμοϕφώσειςτουεθνισμοϕκαιτο ιδεολόγημα της Ελληνικότητας στο μεσοπόλεμο. Athens: Odysseas Press. 1989. Pp. 170. Tziovas's title is difficult to translate into English. There is no equivalent for ethmsmós, which conveys emotional and mystical necessity (see the author's explanation on p. 60) and is quite different from "nationalism," which is rendered in Greek by ethnifásmós. (In his English writings, Tziovas uses the coinage "nationism" for ethmsmós) Similarly, idelógima is not the same as "ideology " (see pp. 31, 39) even though it does imply something that belongs to ideology. By these twists of language, Tziovas wants to make some fine distinctions that offer a new perspective on this aspect of Greek studies that has received so much attention in recent years. The present work also extends his previous book, The Natio^m of the Demoticists and Its Impact on Their Literary Theory (1880-1930). It is divided into the following sections: "Greekness and Modernity," "The Nationalism of Greekness, and the Dualism of National Identity," "Spiritual Nationalism and the Utopia of Humanism," "The Aesthetics of the Indigene and the Problem of Genre Story," "The Crisis of Greek Identity in Literature," "The Threat of Surrealism and the Ideal of Greekness," and finally "The National State and the Conservative Turn." In short, Tziovas covers the quest for identity of Greek intellectuals from the 18th century onward, paying special attention to the 1930s. He also contrasts Greece with the West, and compares the notion of nationalism to modernism, demoticism, and Marxism. The terms Romiosini (p. 39) and Graikós (p. 43) are also discussed, as are the background of the Greek social structure and how the idea of Greekness has substituted for the lack of a class society. Tziovas deals with well-known thinkers such as Ion Dragoúmis, Theotokás and Seféris as well as with lesser-known critics such as Miliádis, E. Tsirimókos, E. Elioú and Spiéros. His research is based on a variety of sources, but mainly on the literature and the literary periodicals of the 1930s. His emphasis on literature in a book of a socio-historical nature should not be seen as eccentric; literature in Greece has always been related to political activism. Thus the creative writers are justifiably treated alongside Pericles Yannópoulos, Ion Dragoúmis, Delmoúzos, Glinós, Sklirós, and Panayiotis Kanell ópoulos, who were art critics, intellectuals, educators, and politicians. Literature , for Tziovas, becomes a national emblem, a space for intellectuals to test images of nationality (p. 14). On these very grounds national identity and aesthetic ideology are interrelated, bringing to fruition in their union "the organic autonomy"—an indigenous, independent and self-motivated power which constitutes national identity (p. 18). Perhaps Tziovas's most valuable contribution is his examination of a middle-of-the-road nationalism in relation to Theotokás, Seféris, Terzákis, Dimarás, and Melás, in spite of their differences. Along with their individual arguments, he comments on the influence of a particular geopolitical movement , the fatalistic attitude, and the new genre of the short story. He also makes some interesting observations on the concept of tranquility in both Reviews 165 Theotokás and Seféris and on the rise of a kind of populist aesthetic, which led to an interest in the work of Makriyánnis and Theóphilos. Tziovas's study is marked by a broad range of reference and a close re-examination of the original sources. Another positive aspect of his work is his willingness to discuss theoretical matters on both sociological and literary grounds. However it is in my view a serious omission to have ignored the views of Ramas, 'Ermonas, and Alexandres Papanastasiou, who were important precursors of the type of nationalism Tziovas sees as specific to the 1930s. On other occasions, he has not hesitated to go back in time in order to show the roots of his argument. Also in my view he has not paid enough attention to contemporary critics. Mario Vitti, for example, is only mentioned once and then on an issue irrelevant to his main thesis, although Vitti's work has been indisputably of fundamental importance for the study of the literary and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 164-165
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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