This listed (I wasn’t previously aware they was any here) 19th century building was first used as a neo-classical mansion for the Zoulinos family from 1888-1906. It then was used to house the Lefkás branch of the National Bank of Greece before it finally became the National Library. It was founded by Panos Rontogiannis. This library is unusual as not only does it have Greek books but it also has English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Danish and Swedish books. This is indicated on the spine for easy reference and there are labels on the shelves to show what section you are in. There is also a map to assist you..
On the initial staircase there are pictures of what I would call the most famous Lefkadians according to how much you can find out about them, the relative ease and there presence. These are Angelos Sikelianos, Lefkáda Hearn, Aristotle Valaoritis and Ioannis Zampelios. I have written posts about all 4 of them. Series links.
On the staircase between the floors are pictures of 12 apparently Famous Lefkadians but when I tried to ask the lady twice about them but I couldn’t get through to her.
Due to the location of the pictures it’s very difficult to capture them as the walkway was blocked off when I visited. Probably to avoid damage to the pictures as some of them are likely quite old. I’m also going to do a separate post about famous Lefkadians as there are many statues and memorials in which I can only find basic data on but still they deserve to be talked about. They were important enough to have some kind of memorial so I’m going to write about them if only briefly.
The Post Byzantine Art museum upstairs has a room for the Virgin Mary, a room for Christ and a room for the Apostles. It has books in each of these as well as many pictures. There is description about the role this figures have played in island life and how they have been depicted. There are also a bishops costume from Russia along with pictures in a very similar style from there.
This is an artwork by Zois Rombotis that is in the National Gallery in Lefkás town.
1st and 2nd Delphic festivals were held in 1927 and 1930 and they were festivals of the arts. These celebrated art, plays, poetry, music, dance and fashion. Not just Lefkádian styles but they had input from all over Greece as were the patrons who attended.
These were instigated by Angelos Sikelianos and his wife Eva Palmer-Sikelianos. They were however such a huge undertaking in terms of organisation, promotion and financial cost that the burden proved too much for them. Since there was little state funding in those days, that they had to file for bankruptcy after the second one. This is why they have never been reinstated. Considering how popular they were, how well connected they were and with the amount of money that they must have had at their disposal with only have 1 child, you gotta think are there other forces at work here?
Eva had to return home to the United States to try to acquire funding for more festivals due to the bankruptcy but was never permitted to leave again while her husband was alive due to political tensions and her own leanings. There is something slightly dodgy about this yet this is exactly what is written on the wall. There isn’t an explanation so your just left to wonder how such a thing could happen.
It was so painful for the pair to be separated that he got there marriage annulled so he could get married again with her consent yet she never did. Neither had any more children. The family tree is on the wall though. It is through them that some of the exhibits are there.
There is lots more information about both festivals in the Angelos Sikelianos museum situated in their house in Lefkás town. It was their pet project after all. If it wasn’t for the many donors who contributed to the museum, it probably wouldn’t still be there.
Yiannis joined the communist party in the 1930’s and being left wing that means he’s going to clash when the right wing dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas (1936) takes hold in Greece. He responded when they started burning his famous poetry by turning to surrealism as did so many of his colleagues.
He was also imprisoned when Greece suffered a second dictatorship performed by Papadopoulos commonly known as the military junta in 1967.
As a result of this his poetry was frequently banned.
He was rather unlucky when it came to the Nobel prize of Literature because of this censorship. He has been nominated 9 times unsuccessfully and finally he won the Lenin Peace Prize in 1975 which I guess is some form of compensation for continually being passed over because of his beliefs.
As I feel this post is rather lacking since I didn’t find any inspiration here is the view of a native Yiannis Ritsos.
This is the thirteenth post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.
I find it strange that while most people think of him as English, as that is what he became in addition to the fact that he died in England; he was in fact a born and bred American.
He was an author, essayist, critic, playwright and publisher. So he was well versed in the literary arts and as a result of this, influenced the notable Greek poets of the 1920’s. Most notably George Seferis, but as far as I’m aware, he himself (TS Eliot) never went to Greece or met any of the 1930’s generation as they called.
As he was so well connected and liked by the literary establishment, he was awarded the Nobel prize for Literature in 1948.
Here are the details of his personal life TS Eliot
He is part of the foreigners series who are interested in Greece:
He is one of those people that Wikipedia has deemed only important enough to have an article in Greek and not in English. There is also practically nothing online about him. His son Spiridon Zampelios suffers the same fate for some unknown reason.
Yet, dig a little deeper and you find that both father and son were involved in deep linguistical debates about the use of language in prose and life. Which is why he is important enough to have his life discussed here in the above photo talking about the impact his poetry and songs have had on the theatre back in 1818. Its not the kind of thing that the average Wikipedia reader or editor is interested in. Hence the absence of data.
He is famous enough in Lefkás to have not only a street but also a square with a statue of himself named after him in Lefkás town. There is also a sign for his house but I’m yet to find it as directions are hard to come by and it’s non existent on the world’s worst tourist map as it’s so incomplete. It’s free so I can’t complain that much.
This is a picture that is on the stairs going up to the first floor of the building that houses the National Library and Post Byzantine collection of art showcasing how traditional Lefkadian art is different from most other western art because of the Heptanese (7 Ionian islands) style. He is among all of the other famous Lefkadians like Angelos Sikelianos, Lefkáda Hearn, Aristotle Valaoritis who I have already written about at length and lots of others which I will feature but they may have to be mini posts. They is only so many times one can update a post due to new information.
This is the eleventh post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.