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Inventing Paradiseby Edmund Keeley
Synopses & Reviews
The radiant light of Greece-its landscape and poetry-as witnessed in the dark years when it was almost extinguished.
In the looming shadow of an oppressive dictatorship and imminent world war, George Seferis, George Katsimbalis, and other poets and writers from Greece's fabled Generation of the Thirties welcomed Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell to their homeland. Together they explored the Peloponnesus, swam off island beaches, and considered the meaning of Greek life and freedom. They seemed to be inventing paradise. In this evocative synthesis of personal memoir, literary criticism, and interpretative narrative, Edmund Keeley explores the poetry, friendships, and politics that made those extraordinary encounters so vital.
For Miller and Durrell, the journey into Greece transformed their art and their lives, and in response they wrote some of their most important work. For the Greek poets, it reconfirmed their sense of the vitality of their own country and helped to sustain them during the harsh seasons to come. As Keeley shows, their eloquence, courage, and dedication kept the greatness of Greece alive when the German occupation, a violent civil war, and the depredations of mass tourism threatened to destroy it. Other writers later drew on the invented paradise of these good friends and reimagined it for the future. This remarkable work of cultural history and imaginative criticism is a crowning achievement from one of our finest literary interpreters.
Book News Annotation:
Drawing heavily on the diaries, journals, and correspondence of writers Henry Miller, Lawrence Durrell, and a number of Greek poets, the author synthesizes literary criticism, cultural history, and personal intellectual memoir. Central to his discourse is the effect of the interactions of Greek poets Seferis, Katsimbalis, and others with their foreign visitors on the construction of the meaning of Greek culture and history as it related to their art. The period under question, according to the author, witnessed the rediscovery of the spirit and genius of classical Greece within the language and gestures of a living culture.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Includes bibliographical references (p. -273) and index.
About the Author
Edmund Keeley taught creative writing, English literature, and Hellenic studies at Princeton University (1954-94). The author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, he has translated a number of modern Greek poets. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
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