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“The Circumstance of Poetry, between Aesthetics and Politics: Revisiting the Leivaditis / Anagnostakis Debate”

Dimitris Kargiotis, University of Ioannina and Stanley J. Seeger Visiting Fellow

Fri, 4/12 · 12:00 pm1:30 pm · 103 Scheide Caldwell

Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies

From Aristotle until the present, the relationship between poetry and its circumstances has been a foundational question of poetics and a major problem for literary theory and criticism. Understanding this relationship entails delving into the poem’s origins, context, and functions. Historically, critics have devalued poetry composed for an event. This workshop revisits a famous episode in Modern Greek literary history from the 1960s. In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin journeyed into outer space, inspiring a poem by Tasos Leivaditis, which, in turn, prompted criticism from Manolis Anagnostakis. The Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc hailed Gagarin’s journey as a triumph that underscored their scientific superiority over the West. This workshop will examine a literary debate conjoining aesthetics and politics and will discuss the “circumstances” of poetic creation.

Supported by the Christos G. and Rhoda Papaioannou Modern Greek Studies Fund

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