22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Takis Theodoropoulos

Portrait Takis Theodoropoulos
© Natalia Tsoukalas

Takis Theodoropoulos was born in Athens in 1954. He started his career as a journalist and was the first editor-in-chief of the culture magazine »TO TETARTO,« published by Manos Chatzidakis. He worked for the daily newspaper »TA NEA,« writing for the culture pages and reviewing books. Since 1998, he has been the publishing director at Oceanida publishers. He is the author of numerous novels, many of which have been translated into French and other languages.

In the 17 books he has written to date, he often draws on Greek antiquity, especially life in classical Athens. Yet he uses this background to illuminate characters and make connections from a modern perspective. In doing so, he does not shrink away from anachronisms, for example when he describes a dream taken from Xenophon’s »Anabasis« as having a »double meaning, as did all dreams before psychoanalysis invented the subconscious« or – the other way round – when Aspasia, seeing Pericles’ death, hallucinates the Acropolis as it is today. His works are influenced by a deep knowledge of classical Greek literature, philosophy, and cultural history, from which he builds an arch to modern Greece. Walking with Socrates through Athens (»Die barfüßige Wolke«; tr: The Barefoot Clouds), we arrive in places which, in Theodoropoulos’ words, »stretch into the present like scarred-over wounds of the past.« Often presented in little asides, his characterisation of the »Greek disposition« then and now is particularly incisive. His books that are not set in classical Greece are about the conflicts that Greek artists have with themselves, their world and their work, whether they are painters or theatre directors. In prose that draws its vocabulary from the from the deepest wells of the Greek language and, at the same time, purposefully breaks register by adding bits of slang, several recurring motifs appear and can be traced throughout Theodoropoulos’ Œuvre. All of his works, even those most strongly influenced by cultural history, such as the monograph of discovery and Venus de Milo’s long journey to the Paris Louvre, have been thoroughly researched and laced with an irony that at times rises to the level of Cavafy.

In 1999, his novel »I dynami tou skoteinou theou« (1999; Engl. »The Power of the Dark God,« 2007) won the prize of the Ouranis Foundation of the Academy of Athens. In 2004, the Académie Française awarded the author’s complete works in French the Médaille de Vermeil du Rayonnement de la Langue et de la Littérature Françaises. The author lives in Athens.