Dr Konstantina Zannou (Université Paris-Est Créteil) will introduce the topic: “National Poets Stammering the Nation: Foscolo, Kalvos and Solomos”.
This lecture is about the story of three poets who set off from the same island of the Ionian Sea, Zante, and ended up becoming the “national poets” of two different countries, Italy and Greece. Ugo Foscolo, Andreas Kalvos and Dionysios Solomos were born within years of each other (Foscolo in 1778, Kalvos 1792, and Solomos 1798), but enough to inculcate in them different choices regarding language, poetry and, finally, national identity. Their divergent routes are seen as a metaphor for the dissolving Venetian “cultural continuum” of the Adriatic. Their lives encompass the efforts, successful or not, of a whole generation of intellectuals born within empires to cope with the emerging vocabulary of nationalism. Theirs is a story of intellectuals adjusting to a changing world, of individuals repositioning themselves in a reality of rapidly shifting loyalties between old and new empires and nation-states.