Monday 28 March 2022
Wednesday 30 March 2022
In March, the SNFCC Book Club meetings, facilitated by poet and translator Krystalli Glyniadaki, are staged on-site as well as online!
On the last Monday of the month, March 28, book lovers hold their standing appointment at the SNFCC Book Castle to discuss the book they read during the past month.
On Wednesday, March 23, the meeting will also take place online via Zoom!
The growing circle of readers will once again have the opportunity to share experiences, feelings and ideas, as well as to make new friends and exchange viewpoints, prompted by the book of the month.
Book of the Month for March: The Woman of Zakynthos by Dionysios Solomos
A few words about the book: Dionysios Solomos’s The Woman of Zakynthos is one of the most intriguing texts of modern Greek literature. Something between an apocalyptic rant and a devilish satire (or warning), with multiple processing stages and variations (as many other works by Solomos), it has confused and captivated scholars and readers since it was included in the hitherto “Unknown Works” of Solomos in 1927. Is it a war book, a patriotic text? Is it a sarcastic, vitriolic satire aimed against a relative of Dionysios? Is the protagonist, Dionysios the Hieromonk, the alter ego of the writer-poet? How are the delirious, apocalyptic images this short text conveys related to the bombardment of Missolonghi that echoed from across the sea? And, finally, where does the devil—a phantomlike recurring character—fit in with all this? Solomos’s incomparable ability to accurately render any atmosphere creates a text of supernatural terror and apocalyptic awe.
As Dionysios the Hieromonk, who is cloistered at the chapel of Saint Lypios in Zakynthos, returns to his cell one night, he lingers for a moment over a well and starts to ruminate on how many good and how many bad people he’s known in his life. And he comes to the conclusion that none is worse than the Woman of Zakynthos. Dionysios begins to recall the deeds and doings of this exceptionally ugly, grumpy, venomous woman who shamelessly hates her race, her nation, even her own children, and is very happy to bow down before riches and the conquerors of Greece, be it the Ottomans or the English. Until she loses her mind. Through visions and dreams, Dionysios will “see” the dramatic ending of this horrible woman; but the battle between Good and Evil that Solomos has set up will remain too close to call in the memory of those who read this text, and will haunt readers with the potential threat of Evil looming at all times.
Solomos wrote The Woman of Zakynthos during various intervals between 1826 and 1833, at times radically changing the structure, flow and meaning of the text, influenced not only by the Greek fight for independence but also by his personal legal battles against members of his family, which we will be talking about during the Club’s meeting. Whichever edition of The Woman of Zakynthos you choose to read (ed. Linos Politis, Ikaros Publishing; ed. Stylianos Alexiou, Stigmi Publishing; ed. Eleni Tsantsanoglou, MIET), you will get a good feel of the text. And during our meeting we will also be talking about the differences among the various different editions.
Dionysios Solomos (1798-1857) is, of course, Greece’s “national poet,” but he is also one of the greatest neologists and lovers of the modern Greek (demotic) language. Born in Zakynthos to Zakynthian parents, was sent off to Italy at the age of 10 to get an education, and returned to his home country in 1818 to try to “re-learn” the Greek language (until then he would write primarily in Italian), and to support, in his own way, the national liberation struggle of the Greeks. Writer of the Hymn to Liberty (which was to become the national anthem of Greece), The Free Besieged, Porfyras, Lampros, etc., Solomos is considered the foremost (along with Kalvos) representative of the Ionian School of Literature, a school of genuine, robust Romanticism and Demoticism. He left most of his works incomplete, or with multiple variations, and one of these is The Woman of Zakynthos. He died in Corfu, on February 9, 1857, a date that is now celebrated as the International Greek Language Day.
A few more words about the moderator:Krystalli Glyniadaki was born in 1979 in Athens. She studied Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, and Political Theory in London, and later Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. She has published three collections of poetry in Greek (all published by Polis), the last of which—Τhe Return of the Dead—received the Greek National Literature Award for Poetry in 2018. She has been an officially invited author to the international Istanbul Book Fair and International Izmir Literature Festival; her poems have been translated into English, Turkish, German, Slovenian and Italian; and her first English-language collection of poetry is to be released in the United Kingdom soon. She works as a translator, mostly of Norwegian literature, and as a book editor, and writes pieces for Norwegian online media. Her latest love is online interactive historical documentaries (i-doc), on which she has just finished her dissertation at Bournemouth University.
Monday 28/03 | 18.30-20.30
NLG BOOK CASTLE
For adults | Up to 30 participants
Free participation via online pre-registration
Pre-registration for 28/03, starts on Monday 28/02 at 12.00
Wednesday 30/03 |18.30-20.30
For adults | Up to 50 participants
Free participation via online pre-registration
Pre-registration for 30/03, starts on Monday 28/02 at 12.00
Moderator: Krystalli Glyniadaki
Anyone reserving a seat at the Book Club is required to have read the book of the month.
The Woman of Zakynthos is available from Ikaros Publishing, Stigmi Publishing, and the Publications of the National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation (MIET).
To enter the event space is mandatory to demonstrate a certificate of vaccination or illness.
For all cases of an official document demonstration, a parallel identity check of the holder will be carried out.
Due to public health measures, there may be changes regarding either the staging of the event, or the maximum number of participants.
The use of face mask and social distancing measures are mandatory in indoor and outdoor areas of the SNFCC, in accordance with Hellenic National Public Health Organization regulations.
As part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center's collaboration with the National Library of Greece, the book for December's Reading Club has been chosen by NLG staff members.