The Absence of Critical Reflection from Greek Letters

When Manolis Vasilakis, the Editor of The Athens Review of Books, invited me to contribute an essay on Daniel Mendelsohn, the eminent American man of letters, whose work is well known and highly respected in Greece, I welcomed the opportunity to take a broader view of an intellectual trajectory I have been following for decades, and decided to write not on individual books but on Mendelsohn’s role as a critic and essayist in overlapping domains of public culture. Pantelis Polychronidis and I often reflect (he as a musician, I as a scholar, both as educators) on the positions that the regime of a culture may allow us to claim and negotiate in different institutions and regulatory systems. It is especially interesting to look at a distinguished figure like Mendelsohn from the perspective of the Greek, French, British, or Italian critic function and the respective practices of reflection.  Since I was addressing a Greek-speaking audience, a (schematic, no doubt) parallel discussion of the Greek man of letters seemed in order.                  [in Greek]

October 2014

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