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LITERATURE AND ART » Literary essay

A.R. Ragavis: A Politically Committed Writer of the 19th Century

Chatzopoulou Litsa

Pages: 280
Shape: 15,3 x 23,8
ISBN: 978-960-6863-05-9
Price: 20.10 €

::. The Classics

Published: February 2009

Love, exotic adventures, travel, malevolent secrets, dark conspiracies, conflicts and upheavals, recognition and revelation, suicides and tragic deaths, failed and happy marriages – these are all superficial elements of the prose of Alexandros Rizos Ragavis (1809-1902), as the reader of this volume that includes three of his best-known short stories (“Leila”, “The golden whip”, “Gloomymouth”) will immediately discern.

Nonetheless, through his short stories, Ragavis quite cunningly outlines a vision of social reform. It is a vision that steadily combines the Enlightenment’s moral dictates with Romanticism’s aesthetics, as academic Litsa Hatzopoulou illustrates with her excellent comparative criticism that establishes him as the first “politically committed” Greek writer.

In this framework, and from a contemporary perspective, Ragavi’s short stories echo like prophetic warnings. To what degree has the modern world eliminated slavery or child labor, to what degree is power subject to providence, to what degree have women’s rights been firmly entrenched? Ragavis was one of the first Greek intellectuals who perceived the universality of these problems — something that this book proves in a fascinating way.

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