Athens in the 19th century

In «Life in the Capital: Topics of Urban Fiction from the late Nineteenth Century,» published in Greek by Nefeli, Georgia Gotsi examines the connection between literature and urban maturity. Using examples of prose, mainly from 1880-1900, she elucidates what was then the novel phenomenon of urban life and how it was recorded in writing. It is only in the past 20 years that serious researchers began to study 19th century Greek prose, changing the way we look at our literary past. Gotsi takes us into the heart of the city, revealing the surprise, naivete, affectation, dogmatism and flexibility with which the fledgling urbanites dealt with the experience of living in Athens. They took a little from cities in the West, a little from memories of living in the countryside. There was local competition from Ermoupolis and Patras and from cities abroad such as Paris and Vienna. We see which Athenians used to read and what kind of books they read. Many of them used to write and the mood and ambience of the emerging city is documented in their work. Gotsi focuses on Athens as a narrative site in which «the meanings of the city and the urban experience were shaped, judged or adapted.»

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