Religion and poetry (Doctoral thesis)

Μακρυδήμας, Βασίλειος

In this doctoral thesis my aim is to examine the poetry, the critical work and the critical reception of Takis Papatsonis. Born in the late 19th century, he first appeared in the Greek letters at the age of 15 years old (1910). From then on up until his death (1976), Papatsonis made clear his deep wish to approach Christianity through literature. As far as his published work is concerned, Papatsonis released three poetic collections (Eklogi A΄ in 1934, Ursa Minor in 1944 and Eklogi B΄ in 1962), three books –one about the spiritual, ascetic life on Mount Athos (Askisi ston Atho, 1963), one with cultural issues (Moldovalachica tu mithu, 1965) and one dedicated to the American poet Edgar Allan Poe (O Tetraperatos Cosmos, B΄, 1976)- and two compilations of his critical work during 1927-1972 (O Tetraperatos Cosmos, A΄, 1966 and Opu in kipos, 1972). Despite all these volumes, numerous poems and several of his papers remain unknown to scholars, as they were not included in any of his collections and remained scattered in different types of newspapers and journals of the 20th century. This dissertation enriches Papatsonis’ poetic corpus and attempts to examine some of its aspects. In the first part I attempt to understand the conditions under which he developed his poetics. Papatsonis from his very beginning refused to conform with the traditional poetic norm of the early 20th century and made use of free verse in 1920, while at the same time he tried to align the morphology, expression and style of his poetry with the principles of modernism. In the second part I managed to gather a large number of Papatsonis’ critically acclaimed reviews and studies. All of these writings helped me to examine thoroughly the critical discourse he articulated from the 1910s to his death in 1976 in his attempt to clarify his views on modern greek literature of 19th and first half of the 20th century, as well as to ‘listen’ to the historical changes that influenced its development. Thanks to his broad education, critical sensitivity and insight, Papatsonis expressed his opinions about almost all of the issues of greek literary life, from the ‘hot’ issue of the greek diglossia and the conflict between the admirers of the vernacular language and the archaists to the controversial, as a result of its political attributes, question of ‘ellinikotita’ (greekness) in art. The religious element is never absent from Papatsonis’ vision, and it is very interesting to follow the way in which this aspect is consistent with his thought. His reflection on Christianity plays a crucial role in all of his texts, regardless their main topic. In other words, Papatsonis’ criticism is largely triggered by a Christian ars poetica. Finally, in the third part, I attempt a systematic examination of Papatsonis’ reception by the critics from the second decade of 20th century to the present. In fact, as Papatsonis’ poetry was full of religious components, it often provoked feelings of awkwardness to his critics. His idiosyncratic Christian identity, moving between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, as well as his stormy relationship with the core of “the generation of the 30’s” (George Seferis, Andreas Karantonis and George Theotokas) seemed to have been obstacles to the recognition of his modernism. The latter were vastly attributed to Seferis’ collection Strofi (1931), which made sensation among the critics of the time and was recorded in modern greek letters as the kick-off of greek modernism, the advent of which was formalized with Seferis’ poetic synthesis Mithistorima (1935), written in free verse. This perception prevailed until the 1970s, when Alexander Argiriou laid the foundations for the discovery of the innovative dimensions of Papatsonis’ poetry, which are still being examined by the scholars until today.
Alternative title / Subtitle: η περίπτωση του Τ. Κ. Παπατσώνη
the case of T. C. Papatsonis
Institution and School/Department of submitter: Πανεπιστήμιο Ιωαννίνων. Φιλοσοφική Σχολή. Τμήμα Φιλολογίας
Subject classification: Θρησκευτική ποίηση
Keywords: Παπατσώνης Τάκης,Θρησκευτική ποίηση,Κριτική,Πρόσληψη,Ελληνικός λογοτεχνικός μοντερνισμός,Χριστιανισμός,Papatsonis Takis,Religious poetry,Criticism,Critical reception,Modernism in greek literature
Appears in Collections:Διδακτορικές Διατριβές

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