The Ionian Islands and Epirus: A Cultural History

The Ionian Islands and Epirus: A Cultural History

by Jim Potts
     
 

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Scattered off the west coast of mainland Greece are the seven Ionian Islands, celebrated for their spectacular landscapes, olive groves and classical associations. Together with the mountainous mainland region of Epirus, the combined populations of Corfu, Paxos, Lefkas, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and Kythira constitute less than a twentieth of the population of

Overview

Scattered off the west coast of mainland Greece are the seven Ionian Islands, celebrated for their spectacular landscapes, olive groves and classical associations. Together with the mountainous mainland region of Epirus, the combined populations of Corfu, Paxos, Lefkas, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and Kythira constitute less than a twentieth of the population of Greece, yet they have made a huge contribution to the culture of the country, before and since becoming part of the Greek state. The unsurpassed beauty of the islands and of the Pindus Mountains has stimulated the imagination of countless writers and artists from Homer to Byron, Edward Lear and the Durrells, Louis de Berniéres and Nicholas Gage, as well as scores of nineteenth-century travellers.

Drawing a mosaic portrait of the Ionian Islands and special places of interest in Epirus, Corfu resident Jim Potts focuses on the landscapes, legends, traditions, and historical events that have appealed most strongly to the imaginations of writers, residents and travellers. Ranging from the mythical leap of Sappho and the mystery of Calypso's island to the impact of tourism on modern-day Corfu, this book reveals the extraordinary cultural legacy of this beautiful part of the world.

ODYSSEUS AND SAPPHO: the landscapes of the poets; Homer's Ithaca and Scheria; Sappho's leap; the identification of Dodona; classic ground; King Pyrrhus.

THE SEVEN ISLANDS: Strategic issues; Corfu v. Kefalonia; Byron and Casanova; Empress Elizabeth of Austria; Greek writers, Solomos, Laskaratos, Theotokis and Valaoritis.

TURKEY, VENICE, BRITAIN, GREECE: conflict and occupation; union and liberation; the Second World War and civil war; nationalism and identity; cultural differences.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"He examines perceptions and preconceived ideas (as well as their historical development up until the present day), Greek Nationalism as well as the chauvinism of foreigners. This presentation makes the book more interesting than a strictly historical narrative. The style is fluent, compact, enjoyable and understandable, and the author exhibits a subtle sense of humour. The author's love for the place and the people is obvious, but he also has an honest, open and evenly directed critical attitude." — To Zagori Mas

"An important book that will kindle new research and thinking on the political and literary history of the region." —Times Literary Supplement

"If evidence is required that Greece can enchant, enthral and engage, then Briton Jim Potts' book is just that... This little gem of a book will provide the discerning traveller with something grossly lacking from other tourist guides: a real cultural history with which he or she can contextualise the wonderful experience that is the Ionian Islands and Epirus." —Athens News

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199754151
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
10/12/2010
Series:
Landscapes of the Imagination Series
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Jim Potts is the author of Corfu Blues (Ars Interpres Publications, Stockholm, April 2006), and co-editor of Swedish Reflections, from Beowulf to Bergman. He worked for The British Council for 35 years in many countries. He now splits his time between Corfu, Epirus, and the UK.

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