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Introduction to the history and literature of Modern Greece

General data

Course ID: 4018-WYK13E Erasmus code / ISCED: 09.202 / (0231) Language acquisition
Course title: Introduction to the history and literature of Modern Greece Name in Polish: Wprowadzenie do historii i literatury Grecji Nowożytnej
Organizational unit: Faculty of "Artes Liberales"
Course groups:
ECTS credit allocation (and other scores): (not available)
view allocation of credits
Language: Polish
Type of course:

obligatory courses

Prerequisites (description):

Open lectures, though addressed mainly to students with some general knowledge on Ancient Greek culture and basic information from the Byzantine period.

Greek language skills on a level allowing students to understand a literary text are desirable (though not essential).

Short description:

The course presents basic knowledge on the history of Greece after the fall of the Byzantine Empire (1453) until the present day, and the most interesting cultural and literary phenomena in modern Greece, illustrated with excerpts from Greek literature.

Full description:

Students will:

- obtain knowledge on watershed events in Greek history (Turkish rule, the 1821 Uprising and its image in memoirs from the period (Makriyannis, Kolokotronis), stages in the formation of the state in its present borders, the collapse of the Great Idea, World War I and II, the civil war and the rule of the “black colonels”)

- learn about the greatest works of Modern Greek literature in the 16th-20th centuries (e.g. Cretan literature, A. Korais, K. Palamas, A. Sikielianos, C. Cavafy, J. Seferis, O. Elitis, N. Kazantzakis, S. Tsirkas, and others)

- learn about selected phenomena of Greek culture (common song, rebetiko, shadow theatre)

- prepare the canon of reading in Polish translations by themselves (see below for the canon of reading)

1. Organizational class: outline of the topics, essential literature of the subject and aids (chronological tables, maps, guides), credit requirements, exam requirements, and canon of reading.

2. Greece in time I: Periodization of the history of modern Greece (Turkish domination, the 1821 Uprising, the formation of the Greek state (Kapodistrias), the period up to the Balkan wars, World War I, the inter-war period (the collapse of the Great Idea), World War II, civil war, the junta of the colonels, Greece today.

3. Greece in time II: periodizations of the literature of modern Greece proposed by literary scholars (Mirambel, Kohler, Dimaras, Politis, Vitti, and others).

4. 3,500 years of existence of the Greek language. Europe’s oldest living language: universality, resistance to foreign influence, reach, continuity and discontinuity of history, the problem of diglossia and “the language issue” (D. Solomos, A. Korais, J. Psicharis) – Katharevousa and Demotic.

5-6. The capture of Constantinople in the eyes of witnesses. The legend of the Marble King. Reading excerpts from N. Kazantzakis’ play Constantine XI Palaeologus and other works by Greek poets.

7. The organization of the Ottoman state; burdens on the Christian population. The Patriarchate’s role. Characteristics of the Turkocracy period (1453-1821). Greeks in the Danubian duchies, Greeks in diaspora. Insurgent movements.

8. Common creative output. Folk song cycles: akritika, klephtic, ballads. Analysis of the structure of songs, motifs, metaphors, qualities of orality.

9. Cretan literature in the Renaissance – under Venetian rule (14th-17th centuries): presentation of excerpts from Sachlikis’ poem and from tragedy, comedy, and Erotokritos – the epic poem of chivalry and romance.

10. The 1821 Uprising. Preparations: the activity of Rigas Feraios (Battle Song and draft constitution), the Filiki Eteria uprising. Ali Pasha’s rebellion (A. Valaoritis’s poem The Escape)

11-12. The uprising of 1821. Stages of the uprising: major events, leaders, political activity; the Philhellenes; the stance of the superpowers. The uprising in Greek literature: Kalvos’ Odes, Solomos’ Hymn to Liberty and The Free Besieged, Makriyannis’ and Kolokotronis’ memoirs.

13. The Greek state in the times of Kapodistrias and Otto I. Poets of the Ionian Islands and the Phanariot School.

14. Charilaos Trikoupis. The achievements of the Greek state up to the end of the 19th century. The Second Athenian School (1860-1890).

15. Greece up to the end of World War I. Eleftherios Venizelos. The New (Second) Athenian School – the age of Palamas (1890-1920).

16. Common song: miroloia.

17. The two great ones: the last Alexandrian – the output of C. Cavafy (1863-1932). The modern Odysseus – N. Kazantzakis.

20-22. Greece in the inter-war period. The failure of the “Great Idea”. Greek literature in the face of national catastrophe. K. Kariotakis (1896-1928) and the catastrophic trend.

22-23. The 1930s generation in prose and poetry (Seferis and Elitis).

24-25. Greece during World War II and the civil war. Georgios Papandreou. World War II and the civil war in the works of selected writers (Tsirkas, Chadzis, Ritsos, Anagnostakis).

26. The rebetika phenomenon.

27. Karangiozis shadow theatre.

28-30. The last half century in the history of Greece (the junta 1967-1974; present-day problems). Images of the junta in literature. Konstandinos Karamanlis and Andreas Papandreou. Literature in recent years (debuts, winners of state prizes and competitions).


Szczegółowa literatura zalecana (polska i obcojęzyczna) podawana jest na wykładach.

Wykorzystywane są materiały własne (fragmenty przekładów, kserokopie, materiał ilustracyjny).

Kanon lektur w przekładzie polskim

(minimum egzaminacyjne: 16 pozycji w tym 6 do wyboru

(* – pozycja obowiązkowa)

*1. J. Słowacki, Lambro – powstańca grecki oraz fragmenty dotyczące Grecji z Podróży do Ziemi Świętej z Neapolu

(zalecane: M. Kalinowska, Juliusza Słowackiego Podróż do Ziemi Świętej z Neapolu. Glosy, Gdańsk 2011).

*2. J. Strasburger, Poeci Nowej Grecji.


K. Kubiak, Antologia poezji nowogreckiej.

3. Od Parnasu do Olimpu. Przegląd Greckiej Literatury współczesnej.

4. N. Chadzinikolau, Poławiacze gąbek.

*5. A. Kalwos, Ody (Arcydzieła Literatury Nowogreckiej t. I).

*6. D. Solomos, Kobieta z Zakintos (Arcydzieła Literatury Nowogreckiej t. I).

*7. Gminna pieśń Greków. Antologia (Arcydzieła Literatury Nowogreckiej t. II).

8. Bajki, baśnie i bajdy ludu greckiego (Arcydzieła Literatury Nowogreckiej t. IV–V).

9. A. Korais, Wybór listów (Arcydzieła Literatury Nowogreckiej t. VI).

10. A. Korais, Papatrechas, (Arcydzieła Literatury Nowogreckiej t. VII).

*11. J. Makrijanis, Topornym piórem. Pamiętniki z powstania... (Arcydzieła Literatury Nowogreckiej, t. VIII).

*12. K. Kawafis, Wiersze zebrane (tł. Z. Kubiak)

*13. N. Kazandzakis, Grek Zorba i 1 powieść (lub dramat – przekład w komputeropisie) do wyboru.

14. M. Ludemis, Czereśnie znów zakwitną.

15. S. Miriwilis – 1 powieść do wyboru.

*16. P. Prewelakis – 1 powieść do wyboru.

17. E. Roidis, Papieżyca Joanna.

18. A. Samarakis, Pęknięcie.

19. K. Tachtsis, Obyś trzech mężów miała.

20. K. Warnalis, Prawdziwa obrona Sokratesa.

*21. W. Wasilikos, Z.

22. M. J. Ritsos, Sonata księżycowa.

23. M. Papatanasopulu, Judasz całował wspaniale.

Learning outcomes:

Learning outcomes:


- basic knowledge on the history of modern Greece (events, ideologies, statesmen)

- basic familiarity with selected Modern Greek literary output (poetry, prose, drama) from the Turkish capture of Constantinople (1453) to contemporary times, also in translations produced by the teacher.

- familiarity with the periodization of Modern Greek literature

- being able to list the main representatives of literary schools and trends

- elementary knowledge on the culture of modern Greece, with a special focus on its originality and special character (e.g. Turkish influences, the heritage of the Great Idea, folk output) compared to the cultures of other Mediterranean peoples.


- using information from the lectures and that found by the students themselves when preparing the canon of reading

- analysing selected works of poetry (lectures) and prose (canon of reading)


- awareness of the limited scope of their knowledge and the need for continual learning

- organizing their own work

Assessment methods and assessment criteria:

Written exam (or oral upon a student’s request) checking basic knowledge from the history, literature and culture of modern Greece and familiarity with a canon of literature prepared by the students.

This course is not currently offered.
Course descriptions are protected by copyright.
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