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Greece in British Women's Literary Imagination, 1913–2013

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Edited By Eleni Papargyriou, Semele Assinder and David Holton

Greece in British Women’s Literary Imagination, 1913–2013 offers a comprehensive overview of British female writing on Greece in the twentieth century and beyond. Contributors cover a vast array of authors: Rose Macaulay, Jane Ellen Harrison, Virginia Woolf, Ann Quin, Dorothy Una Ratcliffe, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Pym, Olivia Manning, Mary Stewart, Victoria Hislop, Loretta Proctor and Sofka Zinovieff formed special ties with Greece and made it the focus of their literary imagination. Moving from Bloomsbury to Mills & Boon, the book offers insight into the ways romantic literature has shaped readers’ perceptions about Greece. Why have female authors of such diverse backgrounds and literary orientations been attracted by a country burdened by its past and troubled by its present? What aspects of the country do they choose to highlight? Are female perceptions of Greece different from male ones? The book examines these and many more exciting questions. Given its focus and diversity, it is addressed to audiences in English and Greek studies, Classical reception, European modernism, cultural studies and popular fiction, as well as to non-academic English-speaking readers who have an interest in Greece.

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8. Victoria Hislop’s The Island (2005): The Reception and Impact of a Publishing Phenomenon in Greece (Keli Daskala)

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8.  Victoria Hislop’s The Island (2005): The Reception and Impact of a Publishing Phenomenon in Greece

KELI DASKALA

Victoria Hislop’s first novel The Island, published in 2005, rocked the boat in the world book market. British critics hailed it as “the new Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” (The Sunday Express) or “a beach book with a heart” (The Observer).1 It has been translated into more than twenty languages; it was selected for the Richard and Judy Summer Read in 2006 and won the “Newcomer of the Year” Award at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2007.

In Greece the impact was no less huge. In 2007, the Greek edition topped the best-seller list for months. It was followed by translations of other novels about leprosy (Jean-Yves Masson, The Isolation); reissues of books written by Greek writers that deal with the life of lepers in the first half of the twentieth century—The Sick City [I arrosti politeia] by Galatia Kazantzaki and Spinalonga: ad vitam by Themos Kornaros; writing attempts by contemporary Greek writers (Pratsinis 2010); two academic works: a PhD by sociologist Manos Savakis The Lepers of Spinalonga. Medicine, Internment, Life Experiences (1903–1957) [Oi leproi tis Spinalongas. Iatriki, engleismos, viomenes empeiries. 1903–1957] in 2008 and my study on the cultural interpretation of leprosy during the past centuries (Daskala 2010). Significantly, at least three books were published with archival material and statements about the life of lepers in Crete...

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