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Greek Literature: Modern  
page: 1  2  3  

Elias Petropoulos

Elias Petropoulos (b. 1928) has been called the enfant terrible of contemporary Greek letters by the French critic Jacques Lacarrière. Petropoulos is a writer consumed with an unquenchable concern for those groups that have been deliberately excluded from acceptable society. He has become the anthropologist of the demimonde, recording the folktales and folksongs of neglected drug addicts, rejected whores, and scorned homosexuals.

For his efforts, in particular for the works The Good Robber's Manual and The Homosexuals' Lexicon, Petropoulos was labeled a pornographer and imprisoned. After his release, he found it preferable to live in the more liberal atmospheres of Paris and Berlin. To date, none of his writings has been translated into English.

Costas Taktsis

Costas Taktsis (b. 1927) is one of the few narrative writers to incorporate homosexuality in his prose. His novel The Third Wedding depicts the harsh realities of life experienced by Greece's lower classes before, during, and after World War II. Taktsis's unromantic prose, written in a colloquial idiom, is reminiscent of the Naturalism of Zola and the Verismo of Verga.

The story is told through the eyes of two women, Nina and Hecuba. As their tales unfold, the reader quickly realizes that these women could survive the hardships of poverty, hunger, provincial prejudice, cultural constraints, and foreign occupation, only through assertiveness, cunning, sarcasm, and heroism, which is related sometimes brutally, sometimes hilariously.

Nina's tale incorporates a series of homosexual episodes. Her first love, Aryiris, was denied to her because he was a known homosexual. Her brother, Dino, suffers from "abnormal tendencies," which she witnesses one early morning as she happens upon him coupling on the veranda with her merchant marine husband, Fotis.

Afterward she exclaims, "will any kind of hole satisfy these beasts?" Homosexuality is never depicted in a positive light, but its persistent appearances, despite the most adverse cultural restrictions, attest to its ubiquitousness.

Women's Voices

In 1994, Rae Dalven published an anthology, entitled Daughters of Sappho, presenting, for the first time in English, twenty-five of the most prominent modern Greek women poets. Although the poems selected and the introductory remarks to each poet are not specifically concerned with lesbian issues, these poets introduce a women's perspective into the traditionally male-dominated world of modern Greek literature.

By producing works concerned with women's consciousness, sensuality, and sexuality, they expand the canon. They also propose a Hellenic feminism and feminize classical myth and contemporary history.

Olga Broumas

To this chorus of Sapphic sisters, one must add the name of Olga Broumas (b. 1949), a Greek-born woman whose American lyric is "steeped in the light of Greek myth." With her powerful songs of women loving women, Broumas has lit the lamp for lesbian lyricists from her motherland to follow. She warns her sisters, "we must find words or burn."

Joseph P. Consoli

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literature >> Baudelaire, Charles

Baudelaire was among the first French poets to include lesbians as subjects.

literature >> Broumas, Olga

Greek-born lesbian poet and translator Olga Broumas writes openly erotic poems that combine ancient Greek echoes and late twentieth-century idiom.

literature >> Cavafy, C. P.

Alexandrian Greek poet C. P. Cavafy has written some of the greatest homoerotic poems of all time.

literature >> Forster, E. M.

One of the finest English novelists of the twentieth century and a tireless defender of humane values, Forster deserves a special place in the gay and lesbian literary heritage.


Bien, Peter. Constantine Cavafy. New York: Columbia University Press, 1964.

Cavafy, Constantine P. The Greek Poems of C.P. Cavafy: As Translated by Memas Kolaitis. New Rochelle, N.Y.: Caratzas, 1989.

Dalven, Rae, ed. and trans. Daughters of Sappho: Contemporary Greek Women Poets. Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1994.

Friar, Kimon. Modern Greek Poetry: From Caváfis to Elýtis. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1973.

_____. "The Poetry of Dinos Christianopoulos: An Introduction." Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 6 (1969): 59-84.

Keeley, Edmund. Cavafy's Alexandria: Study of a Myth in Progress. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976.

Petropoulos, Elias. Corps. Trans. Frédéric Faure. Boulogne: Griot, 1991.

Trypanis, C. A. Greek Poetry: From Homer to Seferis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.


    Citation Information
    Author: Consoli, Joseph P.  
    Entry Title: Greek Literature: Modern  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated November 8, 2002  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates  


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