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Mapping Greek Homeland (Leontis, 1995)

Sunday, June 15th, 2008 @ 10:19 pm
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Artemis Leontis – Book Review: Topographies of Hellenism: Mapping the Homeland – Journal of Modern Greek Studies 14:1 Journal of Modern Greek Studies 14.1 (1996) 188-191 Book Review Topographies of Hellenism: Mapping the Homeland Artemis Leontis, Topographies of Hellenism: Mapping the Homeland. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. 1995.

The word topos in Greek reflects the intersection of literature with geography, rhetoric, and space. The negotiation of topos has been central to Greek history and culture for the past two centuries, a number of intellectual battles having been fought over its conflicting conceptions. Greek texts offer abundant material for a genealogy of topos in Greek literary history. Leontis, through careful readings of selected texts and passages, traces the uses of topos and the changing topographies of Hellenism. Caught between logos and topos, Greeks sought incessantly to reconcile the imaginary Hellas with their modern homeland, past with present, discourse with geography, Hellenism with Neohellenism. Leontis’s book sets out to explore this attempt at reconciliation together with the symbolic significance of place. It is a wide-ranging study that takes us from the way Western travelers saw the Acropolis to Makronisos and from Virginia Woolf’s “A Dialogue upon Mount Pentelicus” to Elytis’s Axion Esti. In her introduction, Leontis investigates the Greek sense of place, arguing that literature and…

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