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278 Reviews through textual analysis, also brings into focus the way Greeks both perceived their cultural past and projected themselves into the future with the influential examples of Western secular literature in mind (p. 209). Regarding the novel's aspirations for prestige and legitimacy, it is important to note additionally that the large chronological gap from late antiquity to the twelfth century, with no literary evidence of fiction per se, may reflect the disregard in which fiction was held. The ancient novel offers an analogous history, since it began as a product of the Hellenistic diaspora in the East, but did not rise to literary respectability as a genre until the second century a.D., the period of the Second Sophistic (see B. P. Reardon, "The Second Sophistic and The Novel" in Approaches to the Second Sophistic, ed. G. W. Bowersock [Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1974], p. 25). The ancient novel did not become a respectable genre until the diverse cultural and linguistic elements under the Roman administration of the Empire began to interact in such a way that contact could occur between popular culture and a literary elite, between the marketplace and the palace. Similarly, it may be that the Byzantine novel could not be emancipated until the diverse religious, cultural, and linguistic elements of the Eastern Byzantine Empire were able to produce an interaction between literary and popular culture. The technique of storytelling in the earlier Diyenis Akritas is much more consciously developed in a later novel like LÃ-vütros and Rodámni. Both are products of the East. They highlight points in the development of a worthy, self-conscious art that is an intrinsic part of the blending of the cultures that fostered it. Maria Kotzamanidou University of California, Berkeley Andonis Decavalles. Αντώνης Δεκαβάλλες, O Ελϕτης από το χϕυοό ως το ασημÎ-νιο ποίημα. Athens: Kedros. 1990. Pp. 197. There is a strong tradition of poets writing about poets. T. S. Eliot on Donne or Milton (twice) is a good example. Critics often assume that in such cases the poets are really writing indirectly about themselves, indicating via the supposed subject their own tendencies either toward or away from a particular mode. In Andonis Decavalles's case, the tendency is clearly toward, for he has long been an admirer and disciple of Elytis, at least of that Elytis who is attached to sunlight, the Aegean, and islands—or who, more deeply, constantly observes the interrelation of nature and humanity, as Decavalles himself does, for example, in «Τόσο που σκϕβει» from his latest collection, Av μας πληγώσει ο Ήλιος (Athens: Diatton, 1992): Reviews 279 Τόσοπουσκϕβειοουϕανός ματωσανεταμάτιατουστοχώμα ΤόσοπουπϕκνωσανταδÎ-ντϕα χάθηκε η ψυχή στο πϕάσινο ΤόσοπουμπήκανόλαμÎ-σασου ταχÎ-ϕιαδεντ'αγγίζουνπια ΜυϕιάδεςάφωνεςφωνÎ-Ï‚ σπαϕάζουντηφωνήσου καιτοφωςανάστϕοφο φαίνειτοντήμαπουσεγδϕνει. Decavalles's other studies and/or translations (of Eliot, Ezra Pound, Pandelis Prevelakis, W. H. Auden) no doubt betray additional tendencies, but Elytis remains, I believe, the Sun that definitely does not wound him but, on the contrary, lights the way. The present study begins with a general survey and then proceeds to five more specific examinations: the role of Î-ϕωτας in Elytis's poetry, To Φωτόδεντϕο και το ασημÎ-νιο ποίημα, Μαϕία ΕεφÎ-λη in relation to what is unchanging in Elytis, Elytis's rendering of Sappho, and time in Elytis's mature period. It is important to realize that these chapters are not meant to constitute a coherent whole; each was written at a different period in the author's life (from 1974 to 1987), in English, and each is translated here without substantial change. Furthermore, since the original audience was non-Greek, the essays contain perhaps more explanatory material and more extensive quotation than would be necessary for a Greek audience. On the other hand, these very characteristics will make this volume particularly useful for Greek-speaking students in both Greece itself and the diaspora. Decavalles is at his best in his broadly philosophical appreciation of Elytis's world-view (always backed by meticulous examination of specific passages ). In the concluding essay, for example, the one on time in the mature Elytis, Decavalles singles out the "battle against time and decay" as the recurring leitmotif of Elytis's poetry over five decades. Elytis's oeuvre, he stresses, "kept alive its power to transform . . . negation into affirmation of life. Insistently it repeated its belief in man's potential ... to discover in the world of matter the lasting . . . messages that reveal a superearthly realm abiding within it.. .. The battle...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 278-279
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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