skip to content




Date and Time: Friday, 3rd March, 2023 at 18:00h GMT

Venue: Room 1.11, Faculty of Classics, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 9DA and

Online: Access details below

In the fifth seminar in Season 3 of Greek Dialogues, Professor Georgia Gotsi, Professor of Professor of Modern Greek & Comparative Literature at the University of Patras, Greece and Lewis-Gibson Visiting Fellow, examines the extent to which collections of Greek poetic texts reflected prevailing social and political attitudes in 19th century Britain as well as the personal motivations of the anthologists. Professor Gotsi also analyses the impacts of these anthologies on Greek cultural development.

For the most part, nineteenth-century British anthologies and collections of modern Greek poetry were political acts of philhellenic initiatives, aimed to generate sympathy for the Greeks. Simultaneously they promoted ideas of modern Greece’s cultural reformation and political future within the wider context of British public discourse and imperial interests.

Anthologists - men and women, philhellene scholars, classical philologists, folklorists - fashioned diverse receptions of modern Greek literature, which were conditioned by varying preoccupations: a) aspirations of classicists inspired by the renowned scholar John Stuart Blackie to prove that Greek was “a living language”; b) the desire of a handful of women writers to probe gender boundaries during the “New Woman” era by reacting against the dominant intellectual framework of an Hellenic ideal often disdainful of contemporary Greece; c) the view that the ancient pagan spirit inhabited the thought and feelings of the Greek peasantry.

In the course of selection, arrangement, editing and translation of literary texts the value of modern Greek poetry as well as the varied quality of certain poets over others became the subject of a complex ideological conflict between critics, which concerned broader issues such as the post-Byronic evaluation of contemporary Greeks, the appreciation of popular poetry and conceptions of language. Translation choices were to become an area of debate: the demand for faithful rendering of the original based on ethnographic criteria contrasted with the demand for aesthetically refined translations that could reveal modern Greeks’ poetic power and their degree of cultivation. In essence, what was at stake was the question of Greek cultural development and, by extension, the nature of Greek modernity.

Online Access Details

Topic: Greek Dialogues - Anthologising the Muse of the Greeks: Poetry Anthologies and the Cultural Transfer of Modern Greece in Britain (1821-1900)
Time: 3rd March, 2023 at 18:00h GMT

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 946 4132 3464
Passcode: 336716


Livestreaming on:

: The Cambridge Centre for Greek Studies Channel

Facebook: CCGS Cambridge | Facebook


Friday, 3 March, 2023 - 18:00
Event location: 
Room 1.11, Faculty of Classics, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 9DA and Online