Praise to the Athens Academy

It had the reputation of being an arteriosclerotic, obsolete, and rigid foundation. The Athens Academy turned 75 years old in 2001 and, it seems, is getting better by the day; it is opening itself to the fascination of renewal, even to the charm of risk. The Academy’s awards for 2001 revealed a fresh, enriched and modernized face. In previous times, classifying Manolis Anagnostakis, a leftist poet, or Zisimos Loretzatos, a lonely thinker and essayist, among the ranks of the «immortals» would have been exorcised as a heretic idea, almost a blasphemous one. This is even more true in the case of the distinctions of Ioanna Karystianni and Giorgos Rorris, two established but exceptionally modern-minded figures in modern Greek art. Also, Xenia Kalogeropoulou and Spyros Evangelatos, who were distinguished for their consistent and persistent work in theater, could have hardly won a distinction in previous decades. The 2001 Academy awards were thus a pleasant surprise. They renewed interest in an institution which had seemed to succumb – with very few exceptions – to the logic of the seniority list… But not all of Greece was able to begin getting acquainted with the euro. Gale-force winds blowing in the Aegean prevented ships from sailing to remote islands, including the southernmost tip of Europe, the islet of Gavdos off the southwestern coast of Crete.

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