THE LAST EMPEROR OF BYZANTIUM
The story, however real it may be, is every bit as mythical in the novel. It is interwoven with popular legend, prophecies, the memories and hopes of the nation, and miracles. In this way, the mythical element lends a metaphysical character to the tragedy of the Fall. (...) Everything that occurs is transposed in space and time and moves cyclically. One scene flows through another, time ebbs and flows coherently and every so often events are focused in a silver mirror, the mirror of conscience, which senses the mystery of historical events and the dialectic of history.(...)
In this work, M.L.P. combines narrative grace with poetic and lyrical elements, the inner psychic experience with history, the scenic representation of events with dreaminess of legend.(...) It is a novel-testament to a great and tragic moment of our historical destiny.”
University professor of Philosophy, in the journal “Themata Logotechnias”, Oktober, 1998.
“This novel, The Last Emperor of Byzantium, places her among the more significant figures of contemporary intellectual life. It is a work that is notable for the profound and creative way it links human suffering and existential anguish with the most universal issues of our own time.
(…) The descriptions stir the soul, the heroes rise to the level of heroic and tragic symbols, the language flows vigorously in its emotional and heroic registers, as it attempts parallel approaches to both the external and internal space of events and of their protagonists.
(…) The heroic and tragic event of the Fall is depicted on a large mural brimming with narrative power and passion and anguish of the soul. A novel that takes its place among the most significant of our contemporary literature.”
Literary reviewer, daily newspaper “Elefterotypia, February 26, 1997
“Maria Lampadaridou Pothou studied the primary sources and chose to present the metaphysical aspect of History in her novel.
(…) At any rate (the author) will add her metaphysical dimension or charge, because she does not aspire to rewrite history as it was written, but to represent it through her own participation as subject.
(…) The author is conscious of the fact that she is talking about something that now exists in the sphere of miracle, and that fact intensifies the tragic dimension of her experience.”
Literary critic, author, University professor, in the journal “I Lexi”, March-April, 1998
“It has been a long time since I read the novel ( The Fall of Constantinople ) by Maria Lampadaridou Pothou, yet I am still under the spell of that reading. My critical remarks are a long-owed honor to the author for this very significant literary feat.
(…) Before undertaking the composition of a prose creation on this grand scale, M.L.P was very familiar the prescriptions set forth by Sir Walter Scott for the writing of a historical novel... She succeeds in recreating the epic climate of that deadly clash between two worlds.”
University professor of literature; in the journal “Nea Hestia”, June, 15, 1998
“Much has been written for the purpose of preserving the collective memory, the thousand-year splendor of the City and its tragic Fall. The monumental novel of M.L.P. shines among them like a jewel with its own light. Its six hundred pages are a precious Byzantine embroidery in gold - an offering of patience and knowledge that was created for the glory of God and also for the glory of the “One Conscience”, as the author herself notes”.
Journalist, author, in the journal “Themata Logotechnias”, October, 1998
The author has given us a national epic in prose, which is suffused with poetry and tremor, a work of enduring beauty. Any literary or aesthetic analysis of the novel by third parties, however skillful it may be, cannot convey to the reader that aesthetic tremor, which he himself will experience when he decides to personally approach the text and engage it.”
Literary critic, tribute, August 10, 1997
(THE WOODEN WALL)
“The epic of the ancient world, but also the enigma of human being. The Ybris, the agony for death, the “sacred as it penetrates the soul”, the gods, all human cycle of understanding in this novel remain unaltered in the time. And in that way the writer manages to give a dimension of the eternal.
of human being. And she does this in a way deep, almost corporal, a way revelative.
The revival of the closed and severe society of Sparta – conception and philosophy of life – are of the very strong pages of the novel. But the big speciality of the writer is the human soul. The grief of existence and the long trip into the time.
“An offer to the Letters and to the today reader, specimen (sample) of ethos and high style.
The persons experience the time as historic and at the same time as present, and the conception of Nekyia (place of dead) gives the other dimension to the novel.
A dialectic of passion and katharsis. And between of all this, Aeschylos, Sophocles, Euripides, who are emerging from the events and are coming to meet our times”.
“The historical events unfold before us with a vivid and perceptive language. The human adventure of that distant reality becomes an adventure of the today human being, as the writer with the strength of her writing achieves to “annul the time”.
With her lyric images, her fresh pictures of an unprecedented idyllic Athens, and always focucing at the human being, the writer creates a wonderful scenic, an ambitious and vivid novel, with maps and blueprints. A quality novel, intelligent and erudite.
“The novel has the allure that only Maria L. Pothos can give to her reader. She takes him by the hand and drives him to the thousand years history, which we knew certainly from the historic sources, but we had never felt the warm breathe of a human being or the tear of a real world.
From the confrontation of two so different civilizations, the Greek and the Persian, the novel looks for, at the depth of the soul, the collective memory and the self-knowledge of the today man”.
“The ancient world meets the 21th century. When Alcamenis says at the battle of Salamis that: “a trireme is coming in a hurry in the dark”, the reader lifts his eyes to see the trireme which seems to have escaped from the depths of centuries. So alive is the novel.
I keep in my hands one of the more beautiful novels that I have read. Maria L. Pothos has written a historical novel through an Orphic vision. Warriors who are ready to be sacrificed, are transformed at solar heros, at mortal gods. Her wandering starts from depths of the historic past, with the “Then and Now” to meet and to compose a magical present.
At the unrivaled poetic writing of M P the mortality is the way to surpass the measure of man.
Her hero says: “Today we will give what gods can not: our life”.
And when the time is coming to devour the History, her hero resists: “I am the fragment of eternity, and I contain the entire time” he says.
And when her Alkamenis is fighting at the naval battle of Salamis, he feels that he is identified with History, he says: “This moment will remain indelible, it will be engraved at the depth of the time and after two thousand years I will find it...”
And when another moment, as he was lost at the dance of blood and death, he says “I”, feels that it was an “I” collective, an “I” spartan, a piece of one huge, eternal “we”.
This novel of Maria L. Pothos is built by the same eternal material as our soul.
and “Themes of Literature”
Written by Zoe Samara, University professor of Literature
Published by Bonnier's Publications in Stocholm Swedish
“There are many good poets in Greece today. One of them is Maria
Lampadaridou Pothou, whose collection of poems “The Mystic Passage”
was published in Sweden.
Lampadaridou is an exacting writer of high intellect, at least as seen from the secularized swedish perspective. Seen from a different angle, Lampadaridou is automatically registered in the Modern Greek tradition - the one that includes Kalvos and Sikelianos as main figures.
Lampadaridou wanted to build a bridge to unite the great Greek past, which has been dominant for thousands of years and includes the Pre-socratic philosophers, and the byzantine visionaries.
The closest figures to whom the poet refers us is Odysseas Elytis.
For himself, Rhedin (the translator) very aptly says that “Sappho and Heraklitus seem like good neighbors who a little while ago passed by to borrow some oil”. As far as passion and nostalgia are concerned, the poet has common elements with Gabriela Mistral, who wrote for a child that she never had, whereas the Greek poet writes for a child she lost. The poet has an unattainable dream to pass through into the other dimension.
No matter how vehemently the poet identifies herself with Sibyl “Chewing laurel and wild roots” as well as with Christ’s Mother, whose child is “Evangelizing the world”, here not only the Jew not only the Greek but everyone and everything give flesh and bone for a protest against the convention of existence. This protest is voiced through our history and pre-history.
Certainly, also, in the future which opens before us.
For me, the poet is more fascinating when she vacillates between archangels and Pythia and with the crystalline waters of her paradises. But for her it is an obvious necessity to explore all perspectives.
Only in that way and having those visions can she say: “Drops of blood my marks”.
Nengt HOMQVIST, newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Stockholm, 8, November 1996
The Mystic Passage was translated into Swedish by Ingemar Rhedin
Published by Editions LE TEMPS QU' IL FAIT
“A mystical poem, then, one of initiation, a poem about the pain of the body, of the heart, of the whole being reaching out toward this desire to abolish time and death, to touch this previously untouchable, undemonstrable world that begins just beyond man, just on this side of the angels, with these words and these incantations which have the power to “make the abyss blossom”. Which also have the power, ultimately, to restore the image - out there or above - of the lost child who has become a “tender star”. Rarely will a poem have gathered together and assembled in throbbing written expression so many messages and signs of three thousand years of Greek language.
For it is also an astonishing and living pilgrimage to the sanctuaries of language, from the ancient “propulaea” and “adyton” to the “iconostase” of the Byzantine chapels. A pilgrimage with guideposts of familiar silhouettes such as those of Heraclitus, Anaxagoras, St John, of the unknown author of the Acathistos Ymnos, the most beautiful poem in the Byzantine liturgy, of the contemporary poet Elytis.
Yes, lively portions of Heraclitus, of Plato or of the Apokalypse, like rising up of brand-new images, are these words which helped the author to “dilate her soul”, to “demagnetize the silence” in order to be able to cross over the abysses which separate her from the “adyton” of the world.
But Maria Lampadaridou Pothou is above all a poet, essentially, existentially a poet. Poetry is not a writing game for her, it is a way of being, of breathing, of living. “I write because it is my only way to exist”, she says. “I write because I cannot exist any other way. Each of my poems is a fragment wrested from life”. With her, poetry becomes an act of resistance, a refusal of contemporary nihilism, a rebellion against the widely proclaimed absurdity of the word. For Maria Lampadaridou Pothou, poetry is “the blood of truth”. In the present poem, it is still more than: it is the blood of memory flowing into the words of the poem, which gives it new strength of a continual Genesis.”
French writer, translator of the Mystic Passage
Extract from the Introduction to the French edition
“Lampadaridou, as a poet and writer, is the most sensitive sounding board in Greek writing today. An aeolian harp whose strings are so finely tuned as to vibrate with each change in the cosmic breeze.
Acquaintance with her work constitutes acquaintance with a given of existence.
And that shows that Lampadaridou lives her truth directly.”
Philosopher, literary writer, “Nea Estia” journal
A WOMAN OF LEMNOS
THREE THEATRICAL PLAYS:
THE GLASS BOX
BIDDING YOU FAREWELL
ANTIGONE OR THE NOSTALGIA OF TRAGEDY
For THE GLASS BOX:
“It is a work of very high quality. Both the characters and the language are so deeply evocative and, of course, mysterious. In a way it seems to me to be more of dramatic poem than a play, in the same way as some of Harold Pinter’s later plays are dramatic poems.”
English playwright (letter to the writer)
For THE GLASS BOX:
For the book A WOMAN OF LEMNOS:
For THE GLASS BOX:
“I read your play with great interest and sent it to J.L.Barauld”
( 1979 )
For the book A WOMAN OF LEMNOS:
“In her writing, Maria Lampadaridou Pothou struggles always to get at true reality, that which is hidden “on the other side” of objects, in the invisible world. Movement in her writing is between the visible and supernatural worlds. Images of light in darkness, of fissures in time and space, of restless souls and secret passages, appear recurrently in her work. In these ways, her poetry and prose are reminiscent of work by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabella Alliende, and Salman Rushdie.”
Professor of Drama, California State University Hayward
Editor of the volume “A Woman of lemnos” (Introduction)
For the play ANTIGONE OR THE NOSTALGIA OF TRAGEDY
This production pays homage to all the wonderful aspirations of humanity
“It is an honor to direct a play such as this. Its creation tested the limits of our abilities to match the poetic images and intensities of the text, to find the theatrical equivalents that would create vital and surprising experiences for you, the audience.
I felt that in the play there were powerful surges of passion and I wanted to uncover them and to find poetic 3-dimensional images to reflect them so that the audience could participate in the heroine’s attempts to define herself.
It is very rare these days to find plays that deal with archetypes.
Maria’s characters were archetypes, even icons of universal personalities.(...)
This production pays homage to all the wonderful aspirations of humanity
for a braver more meaningful world.”
Edgardo De La CRUZ
Professor at California State University, Hayward
Program of the performance of “Antigone Or the Nostalgia of Tragedy”
For the novel REMEMBER
“The writer has her own way of approaching people and things. A mystical truth
and tenderness pervades this novel too, as in all her works, elements that are evocatively suggested.
A story which becomes both a trial and a liberation, within shifting feelings, with circle after circle, the present living with the past, loneliness joined with a blinding light, sensation becoming fire and ash, today, yesterday, tomorrow, becoming tied together in a parallel temporal dimension. ...
Vivid descriptions. The recording of the movements of feeling impressive and revealing. And the prose solid and mature, the expression elliptic, imposing, and the atmosphere full of warmth and life.
A significant contribution to contemporary writing.”
Dimitris STAMELOS, literary reviewer,
daily newspaper “Elefterotypia”
FIVE THEATRICAL PLAYS
WICH ARE PERMORMED
The Glass box
Bidding you Farewell
Antigone Or The Nostalgia of Tragedy
For the play: BIDDING YOU FAREWELL
“A wonderful dramatic poetry. Two human beings, of universal stuff, suspended
in a nightmarish void.
(...) The two absurd and tragic heroes, abandoned and trapped in the infinite cobwebs of an inhospitable, technologically armed universe, try to stir up their memory”
Professor of Drama,
Newspaper “The Seventh”
“ The play transports us to an atmosphere of Marguerite Duras, only more fertile and warmer, more Mediterranean, without the intense intellectuality of the French writer.”
Leandros POLENAKIS, theatrical reviewer,
For the play: ANTIGONE OR THE NOSTALGIA OF TRAGEDY
“Beautiful language, powerful acting and wonderful surreal sets are the stars of the CSUH production of the play “Antigone or the Nostalgia of Tragedy. Written by famous Greek author and playwright during the Greek dictatorship, the play is modern interpretation of Sophocles’ ancient tale.”
Newspaper “The Pioneer”, California
THE SIXTH SEAL
“The just published new novel by Maria Lampadaridou Pothou The Sixth Seal, despite its size, has already entered the list of best sellers.
(...) The heroine of the novel lives her love like the primeval woman, the Mother of the Earth. On the other hand, it is the place itself which leads people and things, re-creating the legend of the Stone Woman and reacting as a being full of life to the “anarchy”.
In a parallel level, more essential and clearly transcendental, evolves the adventure of the place, the magical surrealistic adventure, which functions out of our mind but using us....
(...) The Sixth Seal is a prophetic novel for those who have still the ability to feel the undercurrents. For those who experience love as a pre-taste of paradise or the life beyond.
Eleni GKIKA, literary reviewer and writer, newspaper “Ethnos”
“The Sixth Seal carries us to fascinating and mystic worlds. With a language strong and firmly structured, Maria Lampadaridou Pothou leads us into her own ways of thought, ways real and imaginary, which reveal her own truth. A truth engraved by the Creator on the “unknown fields of psyche”.
And that “truth” only the initiated can know, the one who possesses a third, invisible, eye, invisible between the two perishable eyes. The eye which the writer has. And with this she penetrates to the depths of things and souls. With this eye she tried, years ago, to make us participants of her visions and her questions, through her works.
(...)The Sixth Seal, title inspired from the Apokalypse is a novel opening new ways to the thought. Adriani (the heroine) struggles to discover the answer of the ancient site’s mystery.
And for this, she uses the ancient oracles and the coded messages and the symbols.”
Theodoros BELITSOS, literary reviewer,journal “Diavazo”, May 2000