Inventing Paradise: The Greek Journey, 1937-47

ISBN 10: 0374177171 / ISBN 13: 9780374177171
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Synopsis: The radiant light of Greece-its landscape and poetry-as witnessed in the dark years when it was almost extinguished.

In the looming shadow of an oppressive dictatorship and imminent world war, George Seferis, George Katsimbalis, and other poets and writers from Greece's fabled Generation of the Thirties welcomed Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell to their homeland. Together they explored the Peloponnesus, swam off island beaches, and considered the meaning of Greek life and freedom. They seemed to be inventing paradise. In this evocative synthesis of personal memoir, literary criticism, and interpretative narrative, Edmund Keeley explores the poetry, friendships, and politics that made those extraordinary encounters so vital.

For Miller and Durrell, the journey into Greece transformed their art and their lives, and in response they wrote some of their most important work. For the Greek poets, it reconfirmed their sense of the vitality of their own country and helped to sustain them during the harsh seasons to come. As Keeley shows, their eloquence, courage, and dedication kept the greatness of Greece alive when the German occupation, a violent civil war, and the depredations of mass tourism threatened to destroy it. Other writers later drew on the invented paradise of these good friends and reimagined it for the future. This remarkable work of cultural history and imaginative criticism is a crowning achievement from one of our finest literary interpreters.

From the Back Cover: In the looming shadow of an oppressive dictatorship and imminent world war, George Seferis and George Katsimbalis, along with other poets and writers from Greece's fabled Generation of the 1930s, welcomed Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell to their homeland. Together, as they spent evenings in Athenian tavernas, explored the Peloponnese, swam off island beaches, and considered the meaning of Greek life and freedom and art, they seemed to be inventing paradise. In a lyrical blend of personal memoir, literary criticism, and interpretative storytelling, Edmund Keeley takes readers on a journey into the poetry, friendships, and politics of this extraordinary time. A remarkable work of cultural history and imaginative criticism, his book recreates a lost paradise of immediate charm, literary greatness, and mythic reach.

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Title: Inventing Paradise: The Greek Journey, 1937-...
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