Dalla generazione letteraria alla narrativa generazionale. La svolta materiale nella letteratura greca degli anni ‘80


Critique recognized in the poetic generation of the 1980s a refusal of the collective myth, an introverted and egocentric spirit and a private indoors setting. With regards to the prose fiction of the same period, critics tend to deny the existence of an actual literary generation; however, they point out in young writers of this period a series of features they seem to share with the poets: a lack of collective goals, common visions and interest in the public sphere and in the community. This understanding forces upon the prose fiction a model created on the basis of poetry, that it’s not confirmed by the texts themselves: on the contrary, the debut novels of six of the authors that are usually included among the most representative of this trend (G.I. Bambasakes, A. Damianide, V. Raptopoulos, E. Sotiropoulos, P. Tatsopoulos, C. Vakalopoulos) reveal a perspective that is anything but individualist or narcissistic. Furthermore, they share common features that prove they belong to a specific transnational literary genre born in the 18th Century and called by Italian critics “narrativa generazionale” (generational prose fiction). The Greek generational fiction of the 1980s features the following specificities: 1) It’s a juvenile writing 2) which interest revolves around the identity of the protagonist and not around facts/stories. 3) Utterance-time and story-time overlap or are extremely close and 4) the protagonist is a group of youth 5) that self-identifies as the representative and bard of their generation. 6) At least one member of the group is an autobiographical character. 7) The protagonist is in conflict with society and refuses maturity, preferring to adopt an alternative lifestyle; 8) their experiences take place in an eternal, post-historical present, 9) their friendship is transitional and 10) their bond revolves around an object.

In these literary texts, the object as a cohesive force replaces the social aggregative power previously exerted by mass historical events. Furthermore, the authors display awareness of the publishing market and its dynamics and they envision their texts as books-products instead of pieces of literature; these two features indicate a “material turn” in this Greek prose fiction of the 1980s, a turn that is linked to the expansion of consumerism in Greece during Metapolitefsi. Far from passively assimilate consumerist culture, however, these young writers seem to negotiate its values and principles; individualism and narcissism are refused and a collective class-cutting bond is maintained, based on autonomy, economic collectivism and gender equality.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v59p441

Keywords: Greek Prose fiction of the 1980s; literary neo-tribes; Maffesoli; Greek consumerism; Greek generational novel; Greek generational prose fiction; Raptopoulos; Sotiropoulos; Tsatsopoulos; Vakalopoulos; Damianide; Bambasakes


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