Revolutionary Greece in Victorian popular literature


Mitsi E, Despotopoulou A. Revolutionary Greece in Victorian popular literature. Literature CompassLiterature CompassLiterature Compass [Internet]. 2022;n/a(n/a):e12679.


Abstract This article examines the proliferation of popular literary texts about Modern Greece in nineteenth-century British periodicals from the 1860s to the 1890s, texts that reveal the country's appeal to the Victorians, inviting them to imagine the birth and development of the new nation after the War of Independence (1821?1828). Short stories published in popular magazines, such as the New Monthly Magazine, Bow Bells and Sunday at Home, revisit the Greek Revolution and return to the popular allegory of Greece as an enslaved or endangered woman to reflect on the ?Eastern question? and British colonial politics of protectionism in the Eastern Mediterranean. At the same time, women authors like Elizabeth Mayhew Edmonds and Isabella Fyvie Mayo, publishing in women's magazines, write stories and articles about the role of women in the Greek War of Independence, relating the feats of these historical or fictional figures to the ?woman question? and to Victorian debates on femininity and gender, as well as national and imperial politics. In the late Victorians' re-imagining of revolutionary history, Modern Greece is not enslaved to its classical past, as in traditional philhellenist representations, but must discover its modernity through its powerful nationalist agents. Revolutionary Greece re-emerges as a symbolic event through a variety of publications, which often highlight the country's cultural hybridity and construct a transnational network of literary affiliations, creating parallelisms between Greece and Britain.