The Romantic construction of Greece

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Greece as a modern nation-state is itself a product of European Romanticism. Once revolution broke out in 1821, the conflict was successfully internationalised by mobilising European ‘romantic’ ideas about ancient Greece, in the service of ‘reviving’ a long-suppressed but latent nation – ideas espoused in different ways by the leading English Romantic poets of the time, P.B. Shelley and Lord Byron. Romanticism as a literary and aesthetic movement first makes its appearance in Greek in the 1820s. Its impact is observed in poetry, fiction, public architecture, and language reform. In the mid-nineteenth century historicism arrives in Greece. The projection of the contemporary Greek nation back through three thousand years of history is an essentially Romantic endeavour. In literature, the effects of Romanticism are slow to fade. In the poetry of Kostis Palamas (1859-1943) the uneasy synthesis of the different phases of the Greek past with the present reaches its fullest exploration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of European Romanticism
EditorsPaul Hamilton
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199696383
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2016


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