Odysseas Elytis


Biography of Odysseas Elytis

Odysseas Elytis (November 2, 1911 – March 18, 1996) was regarded as a major exponent of romantic modernism in Greece and the world. In 1979 the Nobel Prize in Literature was bestowed on him.

Descendant of the Alepoudellis, an old industrial family from Lesbos, Elytis was born in Heraklion on the island of Crete, on November 2, 1911. His family later moved to Athens, where the poet graduated from high school and later attended courses as an auditor at the Law School at University of Athens.

In 1935 Elytis published his first poem in the journal New Letters at the prompting of such friends as George Seferis. His entry with a distinctively earthy and original form assisted to inaugurate a new era in Greek poetry and its subsequent reform after the Second World War.

From 1969–1972, under the Greek military junta of 1967–1974, Elytis exiled himself to Paris. He was romantically linked to the lyricist and musicologist Mariannina Kriezi, who subsequently produced and hosted the legendary children's radio broadcast "Here Lilliput Land". Elytis was intensely private and vehemently solitary in pursuing his ideals of poetic truth and experience.

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