Nikos Kazantzakis – Zorba the Greek

He is the author of Zorba the Greek the most famous Greek movie. It has spawned many restaurants of this name and for most people this is in fact all they know about modern Greek culture.

For those that don’t know this is based on a book. It’s an amazing book that puts the movie into the shade. While the movie is very good when you have read the book you can see how much has been missed out a bit like with the LOTRs trilogy.

The prose, philosophy and humour that he injects into his main character Alexis Zorba is astounding. I have a feeling I’ve written this before but a little deja vu is ok here. He makes a very good counterpart to show how much you can know about the world in terms of academic learning yet know nothing about what matters in life. He makes it his mission to teach his rather staid English companion how to loosen up and enjoy life. It’s a rather entertaining jaunt throughout the story learning about the adventures that they get up to together. They make a great partnership and there is also a purpose that they fulfil. I adore the insight into Greek culture and history that you get from this story. I don’t want to repeat myself too much but this really is a must read book.

He has also written many other books but they are not quite as well known so are more difficult to get hold of. I have some of them, but I haven’t read them yet so I can’t comment on there content. I believe they will be just as good.

  • Christ Recrucified
  • Captain Michalis
  • The last Temptation of Christ
  • Freedom and Death
  • This is a sampling of the works that are usually available. Try Amazon if you can’t find him in your local bookstore.

Here is the Wikipedia article on him if you want some background in his life. Nikos Kazantzakis. If you want even more info go here Nikos Kazantzakis.

He ties in nicely with my series on Greek (mainly Lefkadian) poets as he happened to have not only met Angelos Sikelianos, but the 2 became great friends along with Angelos’s wife Eva Palmer-Sikelianos.

This is the first post in the Greek author series.

Panos Kanezis

Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, 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.

Do you have any favourite novelists?

Best wishes

Angela

Lefkada Hearn – Lefkadian poet

Lefkadia Hearn Lefkádian National Gallery
Lefkadia Hearn Lefkádian National Gallery

(Patrick) Lefkáda Hearn or Paddy Hearn as he is also called is another famous Lefkás poet that also made a life for himself that is well documented in an exhibition dedicated to him in the Cultural Centre. It’s free to enter and it’s open 8am-3pm every day.

He lived in many places during his life including Britain, Cincinnati and New York in the United States, the Caribbean and finally settling in Japan. He loved Japan to the extent he also has a Japanese name Iakumi Koizumi.

These pictures are upstairs in a room dedicated to Takis P Efstathiou at the Cultural centre. It’s a part of the floor dedicated to the yearly folklore festival not in his exhibition downstairs. This next image is why.

Lefkáda Hearn taught English and literature while he was living in Japan and wrote many books about Japanese fairytales. He was quite a prolific author and there are copies of all of his work on display when you visit.

He converted to Buddhism while he was over there and married a Japanese wife Setsuo. The couple had 4 children together, 3 boys and 1 girl. He died relatively early in life at 53 having been complaining of heart and chest trouble.

This is a poem dedicated to him inside the Takis P Efstathiou room mentioned earlier.

This is a statue by his Japanese great granddaughter to commemorate his life.

He is another poet that has a statue in the waterfront garden in Lefkás town known as Poets square.

He has a picture of himself in the Lefkádian National Library Here are directions to the Lefkás town museums including the Lefkadia Hearn exhibition.Lefkadia Hearn Lefkás National Gallery

Lefkadia Hearn Lefkás National Gallery

Finally he has a street named after him in Lefkás town completing the trinity of statue, museum and road.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say on the matter which is woefully inadequate once you have absorbed all of the material on offer at the Cultural centre which is what I have now done. Lefkadia Hearn.

This is the third of my posts on famous Greek but mainly Lefkádian poets as I have also covered :-

Aristotle Valaoritis,

C F Cavafy,

Angelos Sikelianos,

The bonus post is one on Sappho by Sententiae Ancientae.

Other series include Greek Authors, Painters, 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

Angelos Sikelianos – Lefkadian poet

I recently went to Lefkás town and while I was there I went to one of its book shops. Inside was a copy of Angelos Sikelianos poems. It’s bilingual so that will be a very useful learning exercise.

Angelos Sikelianos Lefkádian National Gallery
Angelos Sikelianos Lefkádian National Gallery

There is also an Angelos Sikelianos museum dedicated to him.

The museum is signposted on the main street and it’s on tourist maps along with Google maps but considering how close it is; I was completely unaware of its location for many years because the sign on the front is flat to the wall so you can’t see it unless your looking at it. In addition to this, the side that has his signatures on it is in the opposite direction but they might have a new sign outside advertising its location if your lucky but you gotta look up. This covert style of advertising is like how you discover most of the treasures in Lefkás. You have to know they are there to find them. If your just idly looking for something to do then your probably not going to find it as they wish to keep everything for themselves and you can’t blame them as Lefkás is a relatively undiscovered jewel.

To show the Angelos Sikelianos effect here, he has his picture in the Lefkádian National Library, Angelos Sikelianos Lefkádian National Library

Angelos Sikelianos Lefkádian National Library

there is a street in both Lefkás Town and Nidri, which is a nearby village, named after him. In addition there is a square on the entrance to the island called Poets square where there is also a statue of him. Plus he has his own square next door.

With his first wife Eva Palmer-Sikelianos together they organised the 1st and 2nd Delphic festivals in Lefkás in 1927 and 1930. It was so costly despite her American background and connections that they couldn’t afford to do it again. She went back to New York where she was from for a long time to promote awareness and gather funds. She stayed until his death as the US authorities prevented her from leaving. They also didn’t allow the awarding of the Nobel prize in literature to himself on several occasions in the 1950’s.

He was great friends with Nikos Kazantzakis and there are quotes attributed to him inside the museum. The three of them shared a house on the south of the island together. Another compatriot was George Seferis who is also quoted.

For the view of a Greek who isn’t Lefkádian look here Angelos Sikelianos.

This is the third of my posts on famous Greek but mainly Lefkádian poets.

Aristotle Valaoritis,

C F Cavafy

Lefkadia Hearn

The bonus post is by Sententiae Ancientae on Sappho.

Other series include Greek Authors, Painters, 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.

Does your country have any similarly respected poets?

Best wishes

Angela

Victoria Hislop

I love all of her stories Victoria Hislop

  1. The Island
  2. The Return (based in Spain)
  3. The Thread
  4. The Sunrise
  5. Carte Postales
  6. Those that are loved
  7. (Short story – One Cretan evening and other short stories)
  8. (Short story – The last dance and other short stories)
  • Above is a list that I have read so far except Those that are loved as I couldn’t find it when I went looking for it yesterday. I admire the fact that she loved the story of the island of Spinalonga so much that not only did she feel compelled to write a novel about leprosy but also learnt Greek.

I too have learnt Greek as my recent outing to Lefkás town has given me a much needed confidence boost in that I can speak and understand the language in real time as far as shop and restaurant talk goes.

  • I write books too and one day hope to be as successful as she is. Here are my books :-
  1. How to teach autistic children effectively
  1. How I learnt Greek
  2. How to communicate with your autistic child
  3. Greek life
  4. How to improve your Greek
  5. How to learn any language
  6. A life of Halcyon Days
  7. Imagina
  8. A Life of Ice and Fire

I hope you enjoy reading these recommendations

She is part of my foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways series.

Lawrence Durrell

Virginia Woolf

Henry Miller

Lord Byron

Eva Palmer-Sikelianos

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

Best wishes

Angela

On getting the right mindset

I like gardening as it gives me time to think and to be on my own. It enables me to analyse things in the depth that I want. It allows me to think of ideas for this because I was at a loss for a while so I just let it be.

Today’s thoughts included the fact that I’m getting better as Russian without even trying as my mates girlfriend is Russian. I also happened to be fascinated by various aspects of the culture, history, architecture and dystopian novels. Some of my favourite books have there origins in the soviet style of government- 1984 and a Clockwork Orange.

Russian is a distinctive sounding language that is phonetic and if you know Greek then it is much easier because they share some aspects. The grammar is going to be a pain in the ass but it’s going to be like this in any language I want to learn because that’s my nemesis. I used to think that I would be mad if I wanted to learn Russian but it’s all about the motivation and finding out why you feel drawn to certain things and not others.

It’s popular right now to learn Russian but that’s not why I’m doing it. I have wanted to for about 20 years but I was so focused on getting my Greek done that I didn’t have time for anything else. I don’t need to focus so much on that now but I also know the shortcut to learning is conversation. Watching subtitled movies is a close second. So I’m going to evolve into a social butterfly to perfect my language learning skills.

Wish me luck.

Angela

The problem of knowing a language at an intermediate level

Here in Lefkás I can read Greek at a suitable level to get by and this includes some social media posts too. This is a great achievement for me.

However, this does not extend to a cashier wildly gesticulating her arms about in the guise of some kind of transfer. She was pointing in the direction of the cabbages that I had bought but since I’d already paid and they were already in bags I had no clue what she wanted. I said to her that I didn’t understand but my fatal error was that I said this in English. This causes them to lose all interest in you and then the transaction is done after a cursory goodbye.

It’s so sad that this happens after I had been polite by greeting her and even giving her money after she told me the total in Greek. I didn’t know the word for cabbage since you so rarely get them here but those that are interested google says it’s λάχανο.

It’s disappointing that the only time that the young populace lose the power of speech, is when they are confronted by an English person. They (the English) have tried to learn your language (Greek) but you have used something unknown to them. Suddenly being more interested in your colleague doesn’t help the situation as you clearly wanted to communicate something but were too bloody stubborn to explain! It’s called customer service. Just because I’m English does not entitle you to pretend that you don’t understand me. I know you do so please help me out next time. I don’t need to learn your language but I have because I wanted to. Don’t make me regret my decision.

Best wishes

Angela

How to overcome irrational language fears

https://blog.thelinguist.com/the-mind-the-brain-and-language-learning

For the longest time I had an irrational fear of offending people with my language skills. To this day I don’t speak if I can get away with it. This is due to my childhood but also many subsequent incidents. However, this does not mean I am incapable of speech or that I don’t understand other people when they speak. I’m slowly overcoming all of my childhood fears about being inadequate and growing into the adult I’m meant to be. If I can do it then surely everyone else can also accomplish all that they set out to do. It just takes time and patience as well as hard work. These are not always around in a great abundance. Therefore we have to make the most of the resources we have. With the desire to change you can achieve much more than just having the talent for something. Attitude and motivation are key factors here.

This is inspired by one of Bogdan ‘s many questions on the blog over at Pointless Overthinking . You should check out the daily question that turns up about 6pm. It may vary where you are but it’s always at the same time without fail. It’s one of the constants of blogging here on WordPress along with several articles by Cristian Mihai as he does have 4 blogs.

Best wishes

Angela

An essay on the role of education in the future

https://aeon.co/ideas/how-much-can-we-afford-to-forget-if-we-train-machines-to-remember

As we are getting more into the 21st century the need to change our educational style is increasing.

  • No longer do we need so many of the facts that were crammed into our heads as children. We now have Google for that.
  • For the bibliographic details of our friends we have a phone.
  • To find our way from A to B we now have Sat Nav’s.
  • Calculators have replaced the need for mental arithmetic
  • Email has mostly replaced letter writing.
  • Smart watches are replacing our diaries.
  • Fit bits are monitoring our health.
  • Handsfree devices allow us to talk when we cannot use our phones.
  • Hive thermostats can control the heating in our homes.
  • Alexa can control your lighting.
  • Google assistant can control your music collection.
  • Amazon tabs can order your favourite items.
  • Siri knows far more about you than anyone else does (as does Facebook).
  • E readers are possibly replacing books.
  • Netflix are replacing the television stations.
  • Air B and B is changing travel accommodation.
  • Uber is revolutionizing travel transportation.
  • Just Eat is controlling where we get our takeaways from.
  • Cars no longer need keys for the ignition.
  • I)What else are we able to do without in order to increase the time available to ourselves for creative interests?
  • II)Are you scared by how much technology exists in our lives, it’s ability to learn and possibly to go rogue at some point?
  • III)Are we turning into mindless robots being programmed by exposure to so much media and our subsequent consumption of it?
  • IV)What does it mean to be human nowadays as we are relying more and more on technology for our every need?
  • Best wishes
  • Angela
  • A view of Greece from a native

    https://efisoul63.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/aigina-spring-raining-time/

    Efi has some very good posts to read but I thought since it’s the weekend you guys in the blogosphere deserve a respite from the intense intellectual stimulus I have subjected you all to so far. So here is Eli chilling out with a bit of Greek mythology added in for good measure;)

    I am also in Greece right now so the blogging schedule and my ability to contribute to this might change quite drastically. The content may too.

    I will be spending a lot more time outside away from technology and the internet isn’t as reliable over here as it is in the UK. I will also be doing a lot of physical work so I doubt I will have the energy to contribute here either. This is just to let you know that I haven’t forgotten, dropped off the face of the planet or anything else you might think has happened to me.

    Hoping to still keep in contact with you all although on a reduced schedule.

    Angela

    Hope you all are well

    Angela

    A little art to ease you into the weekend

    https://efisoul63.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/francesco-del-cossa-allegory-of-april-triumph-of-venus/

    A post that is a little easier to digest than some of the others that I have posted this week.

    Eli writes some good posts on a variety of topics but I don’t think a lot of people get to see them. Therefore I’m doing my bit so that more people learn from her wisdom.

    Hope you all had a good week

    Angela