Odysseas Elytis

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Odysseas Elytis, 1974

Odysseas Elytis ( Greek Οδυσσέας Ελύτης , actually Greek Οδυσσέας Αλεπουδέλης Odysseas Alepoudelis ; born November 2, 1911 in Heraklion on Crete ; † March 18, 1996 in Athens ) was a Greek poet and Nobel Prize for Literature .


Elytis' family, originally from Lesbos , moved to Athens in 1914, where he began studying law at the University of Athens in 1930 . However, he later interrupted his studies in order to devote himself entirely to his literary and artistic interests. During this time Elytis met the poet Andreas Embirikos , one of the first defenders of surrealism in Greece. A strong friendship developed between the two of them.

In 1935 he published his first poems in the magazine Néa Grámmata (“New Literature”) and in the same year took part - with collages - at the first international surrealism exhibition in Athens. In the next few years Prosanatolismí (“Orientations”) was published in Makedonikés iméres (“Macedonian Days”) , which was published in 1939 as a book under the title I klepsýdres tou agnóstou (“Hourglass of the Unknown”) , followed by Ílios o prótos ( "Sun, the first") . Elytis thus became one of the most important representatives of the generation of the 1930s . During World War II , Elytis was an advocate for Greek independence and took part in the Greek resistance struggle. At that time he wrote the work Ásma iroikó ke pénthimo giá ton chaméno anthipolochagó tis Alvanías ("Heroic and elegiac song for the lieutenant who was lost in the Albania campaign ") .

After the war, Elytis first became program director on Greek radio and during this time published little apart from literary and art reviews. The hymn poem To áxion estí , begun in 1948 and generally considered to be his main work, did not appear until 1959. It was arranged by Mikis Theodorakis as the folk oratorio Axion esti . Elytis stayed abroad for a while, for example in Paris from 1948 to 1952 . There he made friends with poets such as André Breton , Paul Éluard , René Char , Pierre Jean Jouve and Henri Michaux , but also with artists such as Matisse , Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti .

In the fertile years between 1960 and 1980 Elytis published a large number of collections of poetry and poetry. In 1979 Elytis was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature .



  • 1940 Greek Προσανατολισμοί ( Prosanatolismí, "orientations")
  • 1943 Greek Ηλιος ο πρώτος, παραλλαγές πάνω σε μιαν αχτίδα ( Ílios o prótos, "sun, the first")
  • 1945 Greek Άσμα ηρωικό και πένθιμο για το χαμένο ανθυπολοχαγό της Αλβανίας ( ASMA iroikó ke pénthimo giá ton chaméno anthipolochagó tis Alvanías, "Heroic and Elegiac Song for the lieutenant in Albania campaign was lost")
  • 1959 Greek Το Άξιον Εστί (To Axion esti, "praised be")
  • 1960 Greek Έξι και μία τύψεις για τον ουρανό (Éxi ke mía típsis giá ton uranó, "Six and a remorse for heaven")
  • 1971 Greek Το φωτόδεντρο και Η δέκατη τέταρτη ομορφιά ( "The tree of light and the fourteenth beauty")
  • 1971 Greek Ο ήλιος ο ηλιάτορας (O ílios o iliátoras, "ruler of the sun")
  • 1972 Greek Το μονόγραμμα (To Monógramma, "monogram")
  • 1972 Greek Τα ρώ του έρωτα (Ta ro tou érota, "The Rhos of Eros")
  • 1974 Greek Τα Ετεροθαλή ("The half-siblings")
  • 1977 Greek Σηματολόγιον ("The Signal Book")
  • 1978 Greek Μαρία Νεφέλη ("María Neféli")
  • 1982 Greek Τρία ποιήματα με σημαία ευκαιρίας ("Three poems under the flag of convenience ")
  • 1984 Greek Ημερολόγιο ενός αθέατου Απριλίου ("Diary of an unseen April")
  • 1985 Greek Ο Μικρός Ναυτίλος ("The Little Sailor")
  • 1991 Greek Τα Ελεγεία της Οξώπετρας ("The Elegies of Oxopetra")
  • 1991 Greek Η ποδηλάτισσα
  • 1995 Greek Δυτικά της λύπης ("In the west of mourning")
  • 1998 Greek Εκ του πλησίον


  • 1973 The painter Theophilos
  • 1974 Open Cards (Essays)
  • 1976 The magic of Papadiamandis
  • 1979 About Andreas Embirikos
  • 1990 The public and the private
  • 1990 private road


Translations into German

  • Body of summer. Selected poems. Modern Greek and German. Transmission: Antigone Kasolea and Barbara Schlörb . Tschudy Verlag, St. Gallen 1960.
  • Seven seven-liners at night. Orion . Greek-German. Transferred by Günter Dietz . JG Blaschke Verlag, Darmstadt 1966. That., Bilingual edition. Transferred by Günter Dietz. 2nd edition, Bläschke Verlag, St. Michael 1981.
  • To Axion Esti - Praised Be . Transmission and afterword by Günter Dietz. Claassen Verlag, Hamburg 1969. Dass., Bilingual edition. Translated from the Greek and provided with afterwords. Revised and edited by Günter Dietz. 4th edition, Elfenbein Verlag, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-932245-36-7 .
  • Selected poems. Greek-German. Selection and transfer: Barbara Vierneisel-Schlörb and Antigone Kasolea. Epilogue: Hans Rudolf Hilty. Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt / M. 1979.
  • Songs of love. Modern Greek and German. Transferred from Hans Eideneier . With eight collages by the author. Library Suhrkamp; 745. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt a. M. 1981.
  • Maria Nepheli. A scenic poem. Transmission: Barbara Vierneisel-Schlörb with the assistance of Antigone Kasolea. Epilogue: Danae Coulmas . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt / M. 1981.
  • Shining day, shell of the voice. Ed. And commentary: Thomas Nicolaou. Refinements: Günter Dietz , Thomas Nicolaou, Barbara Vierneisel-Schlörb and Antigone Kasolea. Volk und Welt publishing house, Berlin (GDR) 1982.
  • New poems. Greek-German. Transmission: Barbara Vierneisel-Schlörb with the assistance of Antigone Kasolea. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt / M. 1984.
  • Diary of an unseen April . German-Greek. With five collages by the author. Transferred from Asteris Kutulas . Romiosini Verlag, Cologne 1991.
  • The smell of the midday meal . Transferred from Asteris Kutulas . With illustrations by Fränz Dasbourg. editions phi, Luxembourg 1993.
  • Bait for nobody . With original illustrations by Gottfried Bräunling and Fränz Dasbourg. Transferred by Asteris and Ina Kutulas . editions phi, Echternach 1996.
  • Oxópetra, Elegies, West of Mourning. Late poems. Greek-German. Transferred by Barbara Vierneisel-Schlörb and others. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2001.
  • The dreams. Words - people - places . With an essay by Ioulita Iliopoulou. From the Greek and with an afterword by Günter Dietz. Elfenbein Verlag, Berlin 2004, ISBN 978-3-932245-58-9 .
  • O Ilios O Iliatoras - The sun the sun ruler . Translated and appended by Günter Dietz and Maria Mavropoulou. Elfenbein Verlag, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-941184-33-6 .
  • Every beginning is poetry - essays on culture and poetry . Translation, notes and epilogue by Giorgis Fotopoulos. Aphaia Verlag, Berlin and Munich 2019, ISBN 978-3-946574-09-5 .


  • 1976: Mousiki vradya (TV series - poem: Tou mikrou voria )
  • 1979: O zografos Theofilos - texts
  • 2001: S 'agapo - M' agapas (TV series - poem: Ena to helidoni )


  • Vincenzo Rotolo : The 'Heroic and Elegiac Song for the Lost Second Lieutenant of the Albanian Campaign'. The Transition from the Early to the Later Elytis, in: Odysseus Elytis. Analogies of Light. Edited by Ivar Ivask. University of Oklahoma Press, 1975, pp. 75-79; also in: Books Abroad , Vol. 49, No. 4 (Autumn, 1975), pp. 690-695.


  1. ^ Nobel Prize for Literature '79, Zeit Online
  2. Jan Wagner, 'Do I wake up or do I dream? 30 years of sleep: Elytis 'Dream Protocols', in: Tagesspiegel (Berlin), June 15, 2004.
  3. ^ Franz Schneider, 'Die Träume des Odysseas Elytis', in: Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung (Heidelberg), June 26, 2004.
  4. ^ Andreas Dorschel, 'Wortschäumerei. The poet Odysseas Elytis in his dream protocols', in: Süddeutsche Zeitung No. 198 (August 27, 2004), p. 16.
  5. Johannes Thiele, '21 Dreams'. Review of 'Odysseas Elytis: The Dreams', in: die Drei . Journal for Anthroposophy, No. 10, 2005, p. 97 (diedrei.org/hefte-verbindungen).
  6. Brigitte Romankiewicz, Review 'Odysseas Elytis: Die Träume', in: Jung Journal . Forum for Analytical Psychology, Issue 15, February 2006, p. 34 (www.cgjung.org).
  7. Stefan Berkholz, discussion 'All beginnings are poetry', in: WDR 3 Mosaik , July 11, 2019 (www1.wdr.de/mediathek/audio/wdr3/wdr3-mosaik/audio-aller-anfang-ist-poesie-100 .html).
  8. Cornelia Jentzsch, 'Enigmatic Miracles of Creation', in: Deutschlandfunk , September 3, 2019 (deutschlandfunk.de/essays-des-nobelpreistraegers-odysseas-elytis-raetselhaft.700.de.html?dram:article_id=457884).

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