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On the Unhappiness of Being Greek

On the Unhappiness of Being Greek
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If Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal have a Greek analogue, it is Nikos Dimou, one of the most fertile minds of his generation. This book is a series of 193 mostly brief, often cutting and at times satirical aphorisms about Greece and Greeks. In the postscript, Dimou writes: I have tried, simply, to articulate my observations in such a way so that serious people will find them to be serious, while less serious ones will find them less serious. I am now tortured by the possibility that the exact opposite will occur. According to its author, Nikos Dimou: This book is not a humorous collection of aphorisms about the shortcomings of Greeks but a bitter reflection on their tragic destiny (it is) the product of a man who cares deeply for his country, and tries to help his fellow citizens fulfil the Delphic motto: Know thyself. This book has also earned Dimou the label anti-Hellene, and he came to be known as a gadfly at best and a traitor at worst.. While he is at times viciously blunt, and while many of his observations are clearly debatable, Dimou always exudes a love for Greece in his text, a love more pure, many readers have observed, than that of the most ardent (self-proclaimed) patriots. One of his pertinent reflections in the book is "Any race believing itself to be descended from the Ancient Greeks, would be automatically unhappy. Unless it could either forget them or surpass them." First published in 1975, the book became an overnight bestseller in Greece and is currently in its 31st edition having sold over 110,000 copies. An instant bestseller in Germany (Kunstmann, 2012) where it has gone on to sell more than 25,000 copies, the book has also been published in France (Payot, 2012), Italy (Castelvecchi, 2012), Spain (Anagrama, 2012). The Turkish edition (Istos) will be coming out in February, 2013.
John Hunt Publishing; February 2013
58 pages; ISBN 9781780992556
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