My dissertation focuses on Nikolaos Loukanes’ 1526 paraphrase of the Iliad, the first rendition of Homer in a modern language. My main research and teaching interests embrace, but are not limited to, the following topics: early Modern Greek literature, reception of the classics in post-Byzantine Literature, Renaissance Hellenism, cultural history of early Modern Europe, translation theory, visual culture, and textual criticism.
What excites me most in the vibrant period of the beginning of the sixteenth century, aside from the fledgling publishing ventures of several idealistic Greeks, the first to be spawned primarily for a Greek clientele, is a burgeoning interest in issues of ethnic identity and “Modern Greek” language that the aforementioned enterprises helped promote. Born in Venetian Zakynthos in the first decade of the sixteenth century, and recruited at approximately the age of eight by the renowned Cretan Hellenist Markos Mousouros, to attend the Greek College of Rome, Gymnasio Mediceo, which founded by Pope Leo X had as its main objective the advancement of Hellenic studies in Italy, Nikolaos Loukanes from the very outset of his educational experience can be unmistakably identified with the ideals of Renaissance humanism. Deeply ensconced in the nurturing humanistic environment of a school directed by no less a figure than Ianos Laskares, the young author of the 1526 Iliad was not, on the other hand, unresponsive to the latent proto-national revivals of Hellenism that were so urgently felt in his own times. Based on the skewed portrayal of the Trojans, who within his work are invariably cast as perfidious “barbarians,” and whose depiction evokes their putative “descendants,” the Ottoman Turks, one can rather safely infer that Loukanes’ neo-Hellenic Iliad redounds in a most meaningful way to the incipient nationalist discourse of the early sixteenth century. Furthermore, the text’s intriguing language, a form of the koinē which is not devoid of various archaizing insertions, through its liminal position on the cusp between the Byzantine and the Modern Greek world, offers a wonderful starting point for a nuanced discussion of the evolution of the Greek language.
The area of historical linguistics, far from being merely tangential to my research activities, is also one that I cherish as an educator. Therefore, a course in the comparative Grammar of Greek entailing a thorough study of representative passages from the archaic, classical, Hellenistic, late antique, Byzantine, and Modern Greek era would be definitely one that I would enjoy teaching. Another engaging course topic could be “The world of Renaissance Hellenism”. This course, in attempting to explore the multifarious interactions between the (post-) Byzantine émigré scholars residing in Italy and their counterparts in the West, would shed light on issues of cultural exchange during the Renaissance period. Courses like “Modern Greek history through the lens of literature,” “Modern Greek cinema and literature,” “Dreams and literature,” and “Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Modern Greek literature,” seeking to establish a fruitful connection with other fields of study, would hopefully attract the interest of students from diverse backgrounds. In addition to these, I would be eager to teach Seminars on Greek Modernism, as well as Seminars on specific authors such as Cavafy, Kazantzakis, and Papadiamantis.
Over the past couple of years I had the opportunity to teach both language (Homer’s Iliad, Elementary Modern Greek, Advanced Modern Greek), and General Education courses (Concepts of the Hero in Classical Greek Civilization, Classical Mythology) at the Department of Classics at Harvard, and to receive five Derek Bok Certificates of Distinction in Teaching. During this academic year, I was happy to participate in the twenty-third Symposium of the Modern Greek Studies Association, held at Indiana University (November 14-16, 2013), and to give a talk at the Mahindra Humanities Center (November 20, 2013). A forthcoming presentation at the fifth European Conference of Modern Greek Studies, which will take place –God willing- in Thessaloniki (October 2-5, 2014), equally fills me with joy. This semester, I am especially honored to have been shortlisted for the William R. Tyler Fellowship (Dumbarton Oaks), the interview having been scheduled for February 18, 2014.