Eva Palmer-Sikelianos

She was born in New York, emigrated to Paris and here she met her future husband Angelos Sikelianos . She then became his wife and moved to Lefkás to live there and learnt weaving of which there are examples of in the museum.

She in fact had learnt this much earlier but she learnt the traditional styles endemic to Lefkás while she lived there.

While reading this post you will have to remember that like all good poets and artists; they like their life to be presented in a certain way which is not necessarily the truth. They have employed artistic license or spin as we might call it now to how there life is displayed for prosperity. As politicians say never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

There is also an element of historical correction/heavy censorship involved to make there lives fit in with what we now deem appropriate for that era. In short they miss out a lot of their social lives because they wish to be remembered purely for their artistic endeavors.

She (Eva), famously said after visiting her ailing mother “I decided that I would never ever wear another thing made by a machine again!” She then proceeds to throw a trunk full of couture clothing from Paris out of the train window.

In truth, she had abandoned wearing western dress long before this moment and it was only her mother that caused her to occasionally wear it so that she would not upset her anymore.

She was also friends with Nikos Kazantzis and George Serefis. Angelos and Eva lived together in a house in the south of Lefkás as well as the one in Lefkás town that houses the museum you see above.

She was responsible along with her husband for the 1st and 2nd Delphic festivals but these were to prove the undoing of the couple as the economic cost was too great.

She also helped to revive and prevent the loss of some of the weaving techniques for her clothing. She taught them to Angelos’s second wife Anna Karameni when she was finally able to return to Lefkás just before her death in 1952. Anna lived to be over a 100 dying in 2006.

This museum is more a testament to the Sikelianos family and Anna rather than an accurate portrayal of the lives of Eva and Angelos as it’s so heavily edited. They didn’t live virtuous lives either of them. It’s probably why there is no museum to Byron that I can think yet he is memorialized everywhere. The Greek memory is highly selective and hypocritical given what we know about the sex lives of classical Greeks.

For some more personal details which are extremely lacking in the museum visit here – Eva Palmer Sikelianos. Or if you want an uncensored version from her point of view as opposed to the Greek masculine dominant view that is presented here read or listen to Eva Palmer-Sikelianos-A Life in Ruins.

After listening to the above book I really felt the need to edit this article as previously it only provided one side of the story. So I felt the heavy bias needed to be corrected. This is despite the fact the museum takes up the entirety of the 3 story house it’s contained in.

She is part of my foreigners who helped Greece series:-

Lawrence Durrell

Virginia Woolf

Henry Miller

Lord Byron

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Do you have any notable power couples from the past in your country?

Best wishes

Angela

Celebrating your name day

Name day talk

https://youtu.be/bVXgLjvcbLc

An important part of Greek culture is the church. So celebrating your name day or saints day is another way to show appreciation for the days gone by. It’s not so important nowadays but the tradition continues. Mine is March 25th but I’ve never celebrated it because it’s too early in the year and I’m never in Greece then.

Do you have any unique celebrations like this in your country?

Best wishes

Angela

Some pictures of Lefkás

As the weather continues to be abysmal here I thought I would share with you some of my art. I know I said that I would cut down on the amount of time that I would spend on here but the weather hasn’t really assisted me here. I have been drawing from photographs in case your wondering why the images don’t match up to what I’m saying. Easter Fireworks charcoal

Easter fireworks charcoal

Nidri bay watercolour pencils

Nidri bay watercolour pencils

Kathesma beach watercolour

Kathesma beach watercolour

Princess Islands pastel

Princess Islands pastel

Nidri bay watercolour pencil

Nidri bay watercolour pencil

Nidri bay pastel

Nidri bay pastel

Nidri bay watercolour paint

Nidri bay watercolour paint

Agias Nikitas watercolour

Agias Nikitas watercolour

Yes I have painted the same image in watercolour paint, pastel and water colour pencil. Just in case you were curious about what you were viewing. I’m rather scientific in my approach to art as I like to see what works best. I also like to look at my progress in blogging and art.

Best wishes

Angela

Mikis Theodorakis

Since he is such an influential figure in Greek musical history I decided he needed his own post. Here is the link to the Rebetika post that I did earlier which inspired this.

Mikis Theodorakis wrote the musical score for the most famous Greek movie Zorba the Greek and as soon as you hear it you know what it is. For those that don’t know it’s called Syrtaki and it’s based on old Cretan dances. It’s that kind of recognition that Mikros Theodorakis has that makes him such a legend.

He has the most extraordinary collection of music, theatre productions, books, ballets, film scores and operas that he was coordinated on with such famous names as Angelos Sikelianos and Nikos Kazantzakis leading there expertise to assist him. I could go on but then this article would never end.

His personal details are here Mikis Theodorakis.

It seems to me that these series of posts are documenting the history of British involvement in Greece during the 1930’s and afterwards. I am featuring all the major players and since this is a critical part of Greece’s history just after the war of independence in 1922; it’s rather fitting as all of my interests are coming together. Literature, language, history, culture, the arts.

Yes you could say I have slight bourgeois tastes in things. Except my interest in Russian things but Greece and Russia are more connected than most people realise due to shared religious history, language and culture.

As a result of that idea I have decided to allow my hyper connected brain to link everything together to its heart’s content. Yes its a bit of a mixed metaphor but it brings colour into my writing I believe.

Mikros Theodorakis is part of the Music and Musicians series.

The music of Ancient Greece

Rebetika

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

6th Baron, Lord (George Gordon) Byron 1788-1824 English poet

By T Philips in English National Gallery
By T Philips, English National Gallery

No article on Brits that had an interest in Greek matters would be complete without a reference to Lord Byron. He assisted greatly with the Greek war of independence by financing a lot of it and is buried at Missolonghi, Greece after he became ill while living there.

He was another flamboyant, eccentric English gentleman who travelled widely, wrote romantic poetry and was a bit of a dandy. He also indulged in all manner of sexual pursuits. This was pretty standard behaviour for an aristocrat in the 19th century. He lived fast and died young at only 36. There are many busts and statues across Greece dedicated to him and there are also many streets bearing his name like here in Lefkás.

Now that the introduction is over, time for the real information.

Byron first visited Greece in his Balkan tour for his coming of age tour starting in 1809. He met the most important man in the area at the time, Ali Pascha first in Albania. He had journeyed from Ioannina or Janinina as he writes via Missolonghi, Delphi, Parnassus and Patras finally to Athens. He left in March to visit Smyrna for a month and then continued on to Constantinople. He next sojourn was to Troy. By this time it was May and warm enough for him to swim the Hellespont.

Byron had by this point fallen in love with Greece as he abandoned his well made and intentioned plans to visit Persia and India to return to Athens. He even left his traveling companion who wished to return home to England. Byron was to spend the next year touring the country, staying in a monastery at the foot of the Acropolis or studying Italian and Greek. By November he had arrived in Preveza.

When in the Spring of 1811 he left to visit Malta he was filled with a great sadness and a great many STD’s as he had rather overindulged in all manner of sexual escapades. Within 3 months he had returned to the UK.

Here is the Wikipedia article on his personal life Lord Byron.

He is the fourth part of my series of articles on writers that are connected in some way to Greece.

  1. Lawrence Durrell
  1. Virginia Woolf
  1. Henry Miller

Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

Henry Miller

He was friends with Lawrence Durrell and an inspiration to him. They had a life long friendship upon meeting and he was also another prolific writer. He wrote novels, poetry and plays of the slightly scandalous variety. At least by 1930’s standards anyway.

His most famous works are Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn and The Colossus of Maroussi which was written about the couple of years he spent in Greece with Lawrence Durrell in the 1930’s.

I haven’t actually read any of his work nor do I have any copies of it. However for a man who had to publish in France because his work was banned in the USA and England until at least the 1960’s due to the provocative content. With some not even being published until after his death in 1980; this isn’t surprising. His work isn’t in circulation as much due to its risqué content and his first novel has never been published.

For details by someone who is more familiar with his work read Cristian Milai’s article here Henry Miller.

Here are the details of Miller’s personal life.Henry Miller.

He is part of my series of articles on writers that are connected in some way to Greece.

Lawrence Durrell

Virginia Woolf

Lord Byron

Eva Palmer-Sikelianos

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

Virginia Woolf

She was a well known society lady who was well connected and widely read. She also wrote many books. She fought for the right of ladies to study Greek as previously this was a subject that only men were able to study. It was thought not right that women should be so educated as they wouldn’t know there proper place in the world. A very patriarchal attitude that was extraordinarily prevalent in the Victorian era.

Victoria Woolf was flamboyant in the way that only the landed gentry could be in those days. She also indulged in various sexual aspects which may be why she was interested in Sappho. She was said to be a lesbian also but who knows. She did come from the island of Lesbos (sometimes now known as mytliene) though and she apparently died on the island of Lefkáda hence there is a place called Sappho’s leap here.

Here is her Wikipedia article for the background details of her life. Virginia Woolf.

  • This is a new series I have started on writers who have an interest or have written about Greece.

Lawrence Durrell

Virginia Woolf

Henry Miller

Lord Byron

Eva Palmer-Sikelianos

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Are there are any similarly notorious characters in your culture that you can think of?

Best wishes

Angela