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Friday, 5 February 2016

Stories of the Ionian Islands ( Paxos, Zakynthos, Corfu, Lefkada, Kefalonia)


This is a project that's been in and out of the drawer for more than thirty years - a selection of Ionian Island stories in English translation. Needed - an interested publisher, and further encouragement!

The American’s Christmas, by Antonis Travlantonis (1867- 1943) A 1901 story about Paxos from the collection “Kroustallenia”, which evokes the island’s atmosphere and the people’s attitudes very tellingly. It’s a story about a Paxiot who goes to America, and returns as an old man; it’s also a perceptive study of the islanders’ expectations and reactions.

The Form and the Substance, by Grigoris Xenopoulos (1867-1951), a well-known and popular novelist, playwright and critic from Zakynthos. His works have been adapted for film and TV. This story is set after the Union of the Ionian Islands with Greece and encapsulates the differences between the ‘New Greeks’ and the Seven Islanders after the Union in 1864.

Nostimon Imar, by Grigoris Xenopoulos . A story about the Homeric theme of the homecoming, the ‘sweet day’ of the long-awaited return to an island (Zakynthos) of a man after a 14-year absence, only to find that everything has changed. He gradually starts to look at things with fresh eyes. The story is set in 1906.

The Pardon (or The Forgiveness, 1892), by Iakovos Polylas (1825- 1896), a Corfiot admirer of Solomos, involved with cultural, literary, linguistic and political affairs. He was also involved in the struggle for the union of the Ionian Islands with Greece. He translated several key works of Shakespeare. This is perhaps the best of three short stories he wrote.

Father Diabolo: A Story of an Icon of the Virgin Mary, Narrated by the Icon Itself, by Andreas Laskaratos (1811-1901), a Kefalonian satirical poet, prose-writer and dissident (excommunicated by the Orthodox Church), author of “The Mysteries of Kefalonia”. His work was much admired by the British at the time.

Honour and Money (I Timi kai To Chrima), by Konstantinos Theotokis (1872- 1923) A famous Corfiot novelist and short-story writer. This powerful novella, or long short story (100 pages), is set in Mandouki, Corfu, at the end of the nineteenth century. Theotokis was an aristocrat with strong socialist beliefs, much concerned with social problems. His work has often been filmed and televised. This story was made into a feature film, “The Price of Love” (Η τιμή της αγάπης)

Life in the Village (Zoi tou Horiou) by Konstantinos Theotokis . One of the best short stories of village life by this influential Corfiot writer from Karoussades.

The Ball Gown (To Forema tou Chorou) by Irini Dendrinou (1879 - 1976), from Corfu.

The Mad Child, (To Trelo Paidi), by Gerasimos D. Grigoris, from Lefkada

I would also be tempted to include a story by Maria Strani-Potts, possibly "Panorea"

Some other excellent stories (already available in English translation) - are mentioned in my book, TheIonian Islands and Epirus, A Cultural History (US OUP edition) - (see also UK edition):

Pistoma! ("Face Down") by Konstantinos Theotokis, translated by Theodore Sampson

Short film version

A Small Mistake (or The Error), by Iakovos Polylas, translated by Theodore Sampson.

See discussion in my book

About Irini Dendrinou

1 comment:

  1. nice project, stories from all the islands should have a wide appeal....good luck