He studied Law, Literature and Philosophy in Italy and Paris and when he returned to Lefkas he became the District Attorney of the Ionian Islands. He also joined Filiki Eteria (wiki link) and became known as the preeminent member in Lefkas.
He was a member of the Greek writers society who wrote novels as well as 12 tragedies with national content. He was also on the banned books list because his book While Darkness Lasts had communist content. This was the same fate suffered by fellow author Gerasimos Grigoris. However while Nikos has his picture on display upstairs in the Lefkádian National Library, Gerasimos does not.
Nikos also wrote for the theatre in addition to being a newspaper columnist for Rizospastis for many years.
When researching these people I often get the feeling that they are scraping the bottom of the barrel for any information on them and that they are not as important as there making out. A sense of let’s show the world our history but only the good parts.
Other series of mine include Greek Poets, Painters, Art, Authors, Musicians, Museums, Specialist fields of interest, Conversation, Famous Greeks, Greek islands, and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.
Is there groups of artisans in your country who were considered counter revolutionary with their ideas?
He famously had one of his works banned in Greece because he was a communist. This book was Focus of Resistance.
He also won 2 literary awards in 1958 and 1963. I find this strange though because of the above information yet you find the same information repeated on many websites. If you also think of all the previous people (George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis ) etc who have gained awards for whatever reason, there compliant and help the country in some way. So as usual this makes no sense and no explanation can be found.
There is also an example of his work on display in the Lefkás national gallery but unless your looking at the fact sheet you would never know.
I don’t think the locals thought highly enough of him for there to be a statue, plaque or road named after him. His family can’t have been wealthy, influential or big enough to exert any power on his memory to make a memorial of some kind which is usual here. (See my post on Meganisi for evidence of this).
He does however get mentioned on tourist websites and websites dedicated to famous Lefkádians so he can’t be thought of that badly. As you may be coming to realise, there is a lot of contradictory information out there and I’m unsure which is correct due to the fact I’m writing about dead people whose brief biographical information is online but not much else.
There may be more information in the Nikos Svoronos Library or the Haramoglis Library but I can’t find it despite walking round in circles several times on a couple of occasions.
Do you have any authors in your country that were banned for the political ideals?
He is part of my novelist series :-
Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Art, Authors, Musicians, Museums, Specialist fields of interest, Conversation, Famous Greeks, Greek islands and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.
Was a local historian with Ioannis Stamatelos and Nikos Svoronos. Was involved in research to do with colonialism in the Ionian Islands. Very technical and high brow. The history of historiography and neo-Hellenic studies. So Greeks examining their own culture with a fine tooth comb as we say in the UK.
He was also a philologist so a man who studies words so that makes he the perfect choice to found a library. Specially one that is linguistically diverse as the Lefkadian one.National Library
He wrote a couple of books concerning education in Lefkas and seismology as well. For his troubles the street the Library is on is named after him so it’s easy to remember.
He is part of Famous Greeks series :
George Theotokas was born in Constantinople, moved to Athens in 1922 because of the population exchange, then studied law in Paris, Athens and London so was part of the same crowd as everyone else who was well heeled at that time.
His work is mainly autobiographical in nature with a healthy dose of folklore included for good measure. It inspired some of the work by Nikos Kazantzakis.
As usual this is a Greek whose Wikipedia article in Greek https://el.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Γιώργος_Θεοτοκάς tells you far more information than the English version George Theotokas . He is also a guy that requires you to have the prerequisite books available to research about him. It’s been acknowledged in the research that I have found that is unlikely he will ever find success outside of Greece but he was neither a leftist or involved with the right. He had a centrist view on things which is how he was able to be so successful in his own country.
He is the fourth part of my Greek author series:-
Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Art, Authors, Musicians, Specialist fields of Interest, Conversation, Famous Greeks, Greek islands and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.
He was nominated for the Nobel prize in Literature 3 times in 1960, 1962 and 1963. He was also born in Lesbos and died in Athens. Additionally he followed the route that everyone seemed to follow in those days and that is leaving your initial job to go to Athens and study Law. Then you leave your degree to go fight somewhere since it was an era full of conflict in many places.
It’s astonishing that the background they all have is so mundane but they manage to make some of the greatest poetry of modern times. They lived through tumultuous times in there own country though with the Balkan war of 1912, First World War of 1914-1918, Second World War 1939-1945, military junta 1967-1974. So this shaped the 1930’s generation into what they became.
He was a newspaper columnist and general programme director for the Greek National broadcasting institute in 1936 until 1951 where he inspired the Greek population to resist the occupation of the country by Italians and Germans.
In a brief intermission to his previous job he founded the national society of Greek writers in 1946 and became its first president.
After 6 attempts he was finally allowed to join the Academy in Athens in 1958.
Here are the details of his personal life from Wikipedia Stratis Myrivilis. What will probably be more fulfilling though is the link in the follow up article.
He is part of my Greek authors series
Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Art, Musicians, Museums, Specialist fields of Interest, Famous Greeks, Greek islands, Rural villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways.Series links
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.
For other museums in Lefkás see here:
For my other posts see here: Series links.
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.