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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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9. “Perfidious Albion”: Axis Occupation and Civil War in Sofka Zinovieff’s The House on Paradise Street (Eleni Papargyriou)

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9.  “Perfidious Albion”: Axis Occupation and Civil War in Sofka Zinovieff’s The House on Paradise Street

ELENI PAPARGYRIOU

A recent edition of Anne Michaels’ Fugitive Pieces (first published in 1997) is appended with topics for discussion, intended, presumably, for college students reading the book as part of a syllabus on literary representations of the Holocaust, or for members of book clubs. One such topic reads:

From pages 62–73, Michaels weaves Jacob’s memories through Kostas’ and Daphne’s stories of the German occupation of Athens and the violence orchestrated by the Communist partisans which erupted after their departure. Why do you think that Michaels chose to write the passage in this way? (Michaels 2007: n.p.)

As a seven-year-old boy Jacob Beer was saved by the geologist Athos from a destroyed village in German-occupied Poland and brought over to Axis-occupied Greece. While he was hiding in a cupboard in their home, his parents were killed, and his sister Bella vanished never to be traced again. Jacob’s early memories from Poland are all the more poignant as they are related as fragmentary sensory experiences: smells, touches, and reminiscences of sights manifest a child’s incomplete perception of the world. Jacob recalls not being able to tell his father had been pushed from his chair by the way he fell into the ground or that the fingers of a certain neighbor who made wigs always smelled of hand lotion. These memories...

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