Christ and the Poetic Ego in the Poetry of Palamas, Sikelianos and Elytis

Dr Anthony HIRST BA, MA, PhD
AHRB Centre Research Fellow in Byzantine and Modern Greek Literature free ebook/ english

This volume is largely concerned with the reworking of the heritage of ancient Greece in modern Greek literature and other media. In contrast and as a complement to this, I deal here with the reworking of certain aspects of that other Greek heritage, the Byzantine, Christian Orthodox tradition, in the poetry of Sikelianos and Elytis. In his contribution to this volume, David Ricks, remarks that Elytis sometimes deifies himself in his poetry. I shall show how Elytis, in The Axion Esti, deifies the speaking persona, the poetic ego, through appropriations of Biblical and liturgical language; and indicate that in so doing he follows the lead of Sikelianos. Let me begin, though, at some distance from these Greek poets, with the American critic Harold Bloom and his book Ruin the Sacred Truths. Bloom takes his title from Marvell’s poem “On Paradise Lost.” 1 Marvell had feared that Milton “would ruin f. . .) / The sacred truths to fable and old song.” However, when he actually read Paradise Lost, Marvell was reassured—but mistakenly according to Bloom, (…) free ebook