Philosophical influences on Angelos Sikelianos’s work (Master thesis)

Καραθανάσης, Δημήτριος Γ.

My aim in this M.A. dissertation is to present and analyze the philosophical influences on the work of Angelos Sikelianos (1884-1951), whose knowledge of philosophy, and philosophical interest in general, is deeper than that in any other Modern Greek poets of the 20th century. My aim is to comprehend the philosophical traditions on which the poet is influenced by, and to demonstrate how these are reflected in his poetic and other literary and non-literary work. More specifically, I analyze Sikelianos’s influences by Heraclitus, Plato, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche and Henri Bergson, all of whom he studied systematically, making frequent references to them in his articles and correspondence and, less often, in his poetry itself. This list of philosophers is by no means extensive of course. The introductory chapter refers to the way in which the Greek poet understands Ancient Greek philosophy. On this issue, Aggelos Sikelianos was influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche’s (1844-1900) books Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks and The Birth of Tragedy. In Sikelianos’s thought, as in Nietzsche's philosophy, the 6th century BC in Greece is an incomparable golden age in which the human spirit flourished in its utmost degree. In the Presocratic period we can see the harmony and unity between ‘Logos’ and ‘Mythos’, and this, according to Sikelianos, is one of the most important characteristics of this period. In the second chapter, I focus on Heraclitus’s philosophical theory on ‘logos’ and ‘harmony’. I analyze the philosophical basis of the “Delphic Idea” which is based on Heraclitus’s ‘logos’ and ‘harmony’. For the Greek poet, there is a “hidden harmony” in the universe (which he calls ‘logos’) and the “Delphic Idea” is the best way to understand Sikelianos’s theory. Furthermore, I analyze some of his poems and examine his perceptions on the nature of the universe. Finally, I argue that Sikelianos believes, in the same way that Heraclitus did, that it is wise to acknowledge that all things are one. In chapter three, I present Plato’s theory of ideas and erôs and the importance that these theories play for the poet's thought. First, I try to interpret the “Delphic Idea” through Plato’s theory of ideas. But, in the greater part of the chapter I refer to the Plato’s theory of erôs which is fleshed out in the Phaedrus and the Symposium. I analyze some of the most important ‘platonic’ poems of Sikelianos such as “Diotima”, “Meleti thanatou”, “Megiston mathima” and other. By loving all beautiful bodies, he learns to appreciate that the beauty of the soul is superior to the beauty of the body, and he begins to love those who are beautiful in soul regardless of whether they are also beautiful in a physical way. Sikelianos’s interpretation of Plato was influenced by the work of others Greek philosophers and philologists, like Ioannis Theodorakopoulos and Ioannis Sikoutris. In the last two chapters, I examine the poet’s influences by modern European philosophy, and especially by Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) and Henri Bergson (1859-1941). Kierkegaard, known as the “father of existentialism”, was one of the favorite philosophers of the Greek poet, mostly, I believe, because they both focused on subjective human experience rather than the objective truths of mathematics and science. Yet there is no mediation between the ‘individual’ Self and God via a logical system. There is only the individual’s own repetition of faith. In order to demonstrate this, I present some religious poems (To Pasxa ton Ellinon, “Lilith”, and others) and articles of Sikelianos. In addition, Sikelianos had studied Henri Bergson’s philosophical work due to his close personal friendship with Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957). Finally, in the last chapter I analyze the notion of συνείδηση/suneidēsē (consciousness), which appears in the poetic composition Prologos sti zoi, deducing that in suneidēsē, in the poetic composition Prologos sti zoi, has the same meaning with that of Bergson's consciousness.
Alternative title / Subtitle: από την αρχαία ελληνική ως τη νεότερη ευρωπαϊκή φιλοσοφία
from ancient greek to modern european philosophy
Institution and School/Department of submitter: Πανεπιστήμιο Ιωαννίνων. Φιλοσοφική Σχολή. Τμήμα Φιλοσοφίας, Παιδαγωγικής και Ψυχολογίας
Subject classification: Σικελιανός, Άγγελος, 1884-1951
Keywords: Σικελιανός Άγγελος,Φιλοσοφία και ποίηση,Νεοελληνική φιλοσοφία
Appears in Collections:Διατριβές Μεταπτυχιακής Έρευνας (Masters)

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