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EIGHTEEN TEXTS: WRITINGS BY CONTEMPORARY GREEK AUTHORS
Eighteen Texts: Writings by Contemporary Greek Authors. Edited by Willis Barnstone. Published by Harvard University Press in 1972.
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A collective act of resistance to oppression in Greece, Eighteen Texts is a reaffirmation of faith in certain fundamental human values, chief among them freedom of thought and expression. The right to free artistic and intellectual creation is bound to the dignity of man, insist its authors, who had been silent since the military coup of April 1967 because they had refused to submit their works to the censors. But, taking advantage of the purported relaxation of censorship and putting aside fear of reprisal, they abandoned their silent disapproval to produce this volume.

Published in Athens and sold out overnight, Eighteen Texts is a testimony from within. It operated publicly and directly under the watchful eyes of an oppressive regime. What is more important, it operated successfully. According to the Manchester Guardian, its publication "encouraged other writers who started bringing their work out once more."

This volume and the underground literature that directly preceded it introduced a new era in Greek literature. New writing techniques are evolving as some writers attempt to find lost freedom of expression through freer forms. A variety of genres are here: four poems, including one by George Seferis, ten short stories, and four essays.

In 1831 Alexandros Soustos wrote about freedom of the press. In 1970 Alexandros Arghyriou saw fit to quote him. The press has freedom of expression provided only you don't damage state officials, civil servants, ministers, and high court judges, and the ministers' own cronies. The press has freedom of expression provided only you don't write

"It is a shuddering coincidence," writes Stratis Haviaras in his Introduction to this American edition, "that the oldest author, George Seferis, and the youngest, George Himonas, are both haunted with the same frightening vision: the extinction of the Greek people, or worse, of their humanity."

 

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