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Am I not a Greek? The emergence of the ideal type of "modern Greek" from Thomas Hope's Anastasius (1819) to Percy Shelley's Hellas (1822)

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Title

Am I not a Greek? The emergence of the ideal type of "modern Greek" from Thomas Hope's Anastasius (1819) to Percy Shelley's Hellas (1822)

Spatial Coverage

Date

8 April 2021

Abstract

In early August 1821, Percy Shelley left Mary Shelley in Pisa, to visit Byron in Ravenna. Shelley’s enthusiasm for the Greek Revolution met a very cynical reaction by Byron, who urged him to read Anastasius, or, Memoirs of a Greek; written at the close of the Eighteenth Century, a novel written by an anonymous writer and published in late 1819 (in the second edition, some months later, its author was revealed as Thomas Hope, a 50-year-old Dutch-English merchant). Anastasius was an instant European bestseller; Metternich had already read it and used it against the Greeks in Laibach. Anastasius is a story of a ruthless Greek adventurer and mercenary who becomes a Muslim, and he does not develop a strong national identity like the Greeks who were already fighting against the Turks, since early March 1821. In his debates with Byron over the Greeks, Shelley emphasised that the picture of the Greeks in Anastasius was outdated. There was a new class of Greeks who were ready to bring back glory to the cradle of civilisation and the most important of them was his “friend”, Prince Alexandros Mavrokordatos. This lecture examines the relationship between the three (Percy and Mary Shelley with Mavrokordatos), the evolution of Percy’s ambivalent attitude towards the Greek prince, Mary Shelley’s pivotal role and, most importantly, it will try to assess the influence of this relationship to the image of the Greek Revolution in Europe and the image of Britain in Greece.

(Edited abstract from organiser’s website)

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Format

Text

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Number Of Pages - Duration

01:30:00

Rights

BY-NC-SA Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Position: 5557 (11 views)