The Works of Myrivilis Life in the Tomb (an anti-war novel that caused much stir). His other works are more mainstream The teacher with the golden eyes Vasilis Arvanitis The Blue Book (a collection of short stories) Founder of the Modern Greek Authors Association A librarian, journalist, and free-lance writer A member of the Academy of Athens. His language is artful, skillful and vivid.
The Great Idea (Megale Idea) In the 19th century large sections of Greek populations live outside the borders of the Greek State. The desire to incorporate these populations and expand the State to include many ancestral lands drives Greek Politics
The Balkan Wars In 1912 the Greek State declares war on the Ottoman Empire. The Greeks, along with other Balkan nations, push the Turks almost totally out of Europe and Greece doubles in size
The successive expansions of the Modern Greek State
The Balkan wars were viewed as an epic achievement:
The sacrifice is viewed as the route towards the Great Idea
Heroic Times The Greek Troops who enter Northern Greece are seen as liberators, and their achievement comparable to that of greater achievements in the long history of the nation.
The greatest moment is when the Greek army enters Thessalonike
The other side of the story Life in the Tomb offended many and shocked many more because it told the other side of the story: it removes the glamour and glory from war, by describing its horror and dehumanization.
The Trenches WWI is often called ‘The War of the Trenches’. In Western Europe a stalemate of 4 years in horrific conditions cost 30 million lives.
The Conclusion The war came to an end in 1918. The Austo-Hungarian Empire was defeated and shrank considerably. The Ottoman empire was dissolved to its components. Germany had to accept an uneasy defeat, followed by a financial crisis, which made ground for Nazi propaganda in later years.
In the East The remains of the Ottoman army were re- organized under Kemal Ataturk, fight back the Greek army, and create the modern Turkish state. The Hellenism of Asia Minor is uprooted, along with Turkish presence in most of Europe.
The Mood The 1920’s and 30’s are depressed years : The bitterness for the uprooting of Asiatic Hellenism The World-Wide financial crisis The disillusionment with the Great Idea, and the dreams for a greater Greece
Life in the Tomb The novel captures the horrors of WWI It reflects the disillusionment of the times and poses some critical questions regarding the Great Idea, patriotism, and sacrifice for one’s country. The novel is a celebration of life, and the message is that life is precious. The question is whether anyone, including the state, has the moral authority to infringe upon this fundamental right.