Alexandros Papadiamandis

The Boundless Garden: Volume II

Selected Short Stories

Edited by Denise Harvey & Lambros Kamperidis

The stories included in this second volume of Alexandros Papadiamandis’s literary work were written during the years 1894–1902, a period regarded as his most creative. As the nineteenth century gives way to the twentieth, in these stories we are presented with an unrivalled gallery of authentic individuals who are emerging out of a past defined by traditional beliefs and practices while moving into a new age shaped by the challenges of modernity. Wandering dervishes, naked witches in the moonlight, a child falling in love with a hamadryad, nymphs inhabiting both sea and land, desperate lovers, graceful adolescents, stalwart rustics, seafarers, outcasts, wild revellers — figures in both country and urban landscapes with their unrequited longings, unrealistic expectations, utopian hopes, daily drudgery, often living on the edge of hope and despair, salvation and damnation, beauty and awfulness. By simply observing life around him and recording it in his unique manner he was able to capture things mysterious, inexplicable, paradoxical and contradictory, namely the inexhaustible richness of existence.

From reviews of Volume I:

‘‘Great post-industrial cities have changed since Papadiamandis’ s time, and theynow possess more than a general potential for alienation, yet for their human inhabitants the story remains much the same: a conscious struggle for survival, that goes with a survival-based suppression of their fragility. Papadiamandis’s stories, as accounts of that fragility, are no mere collection of interesting vignettes of early modern Greek fiction writing. Scrupulously coloured, achieved through the clarity of their tiny details and the author’s compassion for human vulnerability, they enact a world of profoundly contemporary reality, in which one touch of nature still “makes the whole world kin”.’

Julian Evans in The Times Literary Supplement

‘This volume, beautifully produced . . . is the first of three. . . [The stories] have been translated by various hands, and seem to me a triumph. That is no small praise. Some maintain that they are untranslatable. The recently departed Greek literary critic, Zissimos Lorenzatos, remarks in an essay on Papadiamandis: “Greek language in its entirety has surrendered to his hands . . . Reading Papadiamandis, you feel the motion, the surge of the Greek language like the sea, singing to you of things unuttered, confessing things unconfessed, disclosing what lies concealed . . . ”.’

Fr Andrew Louth in Sobornost

  • 390 pages, 24.0 x 15.3 cm, Denise Harvey (Publisher), 2019

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