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When it is not hosting mass, the Church of St George on Old Corfu Fortress hosts cultural exhibitions, such as the current exhibition on local writer Constantine Theotokis, who wrote the kind of social realist novel that was all the rage a century ago. I’ve already alluded to him a couple of times.
What struck me most from his novels was that it was possible for the people of Corfu to sing in barbershop quartets for their folk songs, and at the same time be virulently patriarchal. Westernisation is not that kind of panacaea…
The exhibition on Constantine Theotokis was a bit light on, but it did bring back memories. (I used him as a source for Corfu dialect in my thesis.) I have noted that Karkavitsas’ novel The Beggar was a kind of Thessalian Gothic, that I read at an impressionable enough age to make me scared to go to Larisa.
I read him a lot later, but Theotokis was writing in the same frame of mind, a decade later, condemning the rigid patriarchal mores of traditional society, and the collection Corfu Stories is pretty relentless in its repeated depiction of honour killing after honour killing. So yes, Corfiot Gothic.
That aside, his potted biography made him sound like a much too idealistic and annoying socialist. And yet those are the types that tend to get vindicated by history.
Not least in his condemnation of the demolition of the Porto Reale, the Venetian gate between the old town and the new.
…. And that marks the end of the Corfu posts.
There will be even more posts from Zante tomorrow.