In general, 20th-century Greek literature reflects the evolution of European modernism in such various forms as French symbolism and surrealism or British-American experiments in narrative technique. Symbolism appears in the work of George Seferis and George Kostiras, surrealism in that of Odysseus Elytis. Recognized as masters of modern Greek letters, Seferis and Elytis each received the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1963 and 1979, respectively. The poet Maria Polydouri (1902–30) gained renown through her intense, erotic love lyrics. The effort of modern Greek writers to achieve a synthesis of the rich traditions of the Greek heritage is well represented in the work of Nikos Kazantzakis.
Novelists such as Stratis Tsirkas (1911–81), Costas Taktsis (1927–1988), and Vassilis Vassilikos (1934–) have combined formal innovation with a close analysis of postwar Greek society. Meanwhile, a group of women lyric poets gained distinction, including Victoria Theodorou (1928–), Angeliki Paulopoulou (1930–), Eleni Fourtouni (1933–), and Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke (1934–). In 1967 the government of King Constantine II was overthrown in a bloodless coup by a group of army colonels; despite strict censorship, antigovernment works still found their way into print. With the fall of the military government in 1974, civil liberties were restored and censorship ceased.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.