Tuesday 30 August 2022
In August, the Cultural Center’s Book Club will be reading Henry Miller’s The Colossus of Maroussi.
On Τuesday 30 August, Reading Club facilitator Krystalli Glyniadaki will meet with book lovers at the Mediterranean Garden, to share experiences, emotions and ideas, as well as to exchange views, based on the book of the month.
A few words about the book for August:
In 1939, as the Nazis launch their attack against Europe, American writer Henry Miller leaves his beloved Paris (where for 9 years he had found refuge from the conservative slums of Brooklyn where he grew up) and travels to Greece, at the invitation of his good friend Lawrence Darell who lives in Corfu with his mother and siblings. By that time, Miller is already a huge literary sensation in Paris, having published books such as the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, which were banned for years in the United States due to the strict laws about censorship and pornography then in force. While in Greece, Miller travels to Athens, Crete, Corfu, Poros, Hydra and Delphi. He is inspired to write the “Colossus” by poet and writer George Katsimbalis, a mythical figure, much like Zorbas of Nikos Kazantzakis. Miller eventually wrote the book in New York, since the outbreak of World War II forced him to return to the US in December 1939. In its pages he captured his nostalgia for the Mediterranean light, the liberal European thought, as well as his resentment at having to return to America and his feeling of isolation there. The Colossus of Maroussi was not only his favorite but also his best book of all time, according to the author himself as well as the literary critics.
Born in 1891, in Brooklyn, New York, Henry Miller became famous for his autobiographical novels that were censured for decades in the United States and Great Britain (and smuggled in from Paris), books that had a huge, liberating influence on western literature of the mid-20th century. He was famous for his authenticity, the straightforwardness and boldness of his ideas, and also for his characteristic sense of humor that allowed him to expose both himself and the decorousness of friends and acquaintances that happened to inspire the characters of his novels. He deeply influenced the so-called Beat Generation (Kerouac, Ginsberg, etc.), and never conformed to the dos and don’ts of those around him, not even when he returned to America: for many years he lived in a hut over the steep slopes of California, in Big Sur; he got married five times; and until the end of his life, in 1980, he lived every day with the excitement of a child. Along with Steinbeck, Hemingway and Faulkner, he is considered one of the leading US writers in the first half of the 20th century—except that Miller got to live two decades longer than his three peers and witness the moral revolution and liberation in his country, which all of them had dreamed of but only he got to experience.
A few words about the facilitator:
Krystalli Glyniadaki was born in Athens in 1979. 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.
Tuesday 30/08 | 19.00-21.00MEDITERRANEAN GARDEN
For adults | Up to 30 participants
Free participation via online pre-registration
Pre-registration starts on Monday 01/08, at 12.00
Coordinator: Krystalli Glyniadaki
To participate in the Reading Club, it is necessary for those who hold a position to have read the book of the month.
Henry Miller’s The Colossus of Maroussi is available in Greek from Metaichmio Publications.
Due to public health measures, there may be changes regarding either the staging of the event, or the maximum number of participants.
As part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center's collaboration with the National Library of Greece, the book for the Reading Club has been chosen by NLG staff members.