Exile and the (im)possible nostos: Greek autofiction and politics in the 1970s
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This paper considers Vassilikos’ Γλαύκος Θρασάκης (written in 1973–4) and Axioti’s Η Κάδμω (written in 1971–2) as postmodern narratives of exile, against the politics of their time. What is essentially new about my reading is that it is informed by the theoretical discourse of autofiction — a term devised by Serge Doubrovsky in 1977. Αutofiction encompasses fictional texts that are at the crossroads between the autobiography and the novel. Both texts oscillate between the two aforementioned writing tropes and are based on the authors’ experience of exile. I shall investigate why two politically engaged writers produced “autofictions” during the final years of the dictatorship. Building upon existing argumentation suggesting that the political condition in Greece encouraged postmodern literary modes (Papanikolaou, 2005), I shall argue that Axioti and Vassilikos formulated a Greek version of autofiction avant la lettre in order to articulate the identity of the writer in exile.