Aglaia (Liana) Giannakopoulou

Visiting Fellow, Spring 2024

  • Affiliation
    University of Cambridge
    Research Project:
    Ancient Greek Myth in the Poetry of Zoe Karelli: The Figure of Eurydice
Contact Info

Dr. Liana Giannakopoulou teaches Modern Greek Literature and Film in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics of the University of Cambridge.  She is the author of The Power of Pygmalion. Ancient Greek Sculpture in Modern Greek Poetry (Peter Lang) and of The Parthenon in Poetry. An Anthology (in Greek, ELIA/MIET). She has also co-edited Culture and Society in Crete. From Kornaros to Kazantzakis (Cambridge Scholars), a selection of papers presented at the international conference that she co-organized in Cambridge. She has published extensively on the poetry of major modern Greek writers (Anghelaki-Rooke, Seferis, Cavafy, Ritsos, Kyrtzaki and Engonopoulos among others) and has promoted modern Greek poetry in public events at the British Museum, in Cambridge and at the Hellenic Centre in London. Her current research project focuses on the use of myth in the work of modern Greek women poets. She has been the Chair of the Society for Modern Greek Studies and continues to be a member of its Executive Committee.

About the Research Project

Ancient Greek Myth in the Poetry of Zoe Karelli: The Figure of Eurydice

My research project is part of my ongoing research on modern Greek women poets and their complex relationship with ancient Greek myth. It focuses on the work of the pioneering poet, Zoe Karelli (1901-1998) and her appropriation and revision of the figure of Eurydice. Female mythical characters form an important set of personae in Karelli’s work. Through them, and though the figure of Eurydice especially, she explores female identity and in particular issues relating to creativity, existential anxiety, sexuality and the relationship with a patriarchal society. Karelli’s appropriation of the figure of Eurydice reveals her complex and multi-layered poetics: on the one hand, it is framed by the modern poet’s interest in Existentialism and Christianity; on the other hand, it reveals Karelli’s dialogue with ancient sources (Virgil, Ovid) and with modern reworkings of the motif (Rilke, H.D.). Ultimately, the re-writing of the myth of Eurydice places Karelli’s poetry at the heart of crucial philosophical discussions on female embodiment and the relationship between body and mind or spirit and matter. The study of her work from the perspective of myth gives one the opportunity to reflect on the position and reception of the work of women writers in a patriarchal society and an even more traditional literary establishment.

Current Roles

  • Visiting Research Fellow