Reading Andreas Kordopatis, Understanding History and Fiction in Thanasis Valtinos
Keywords:Fiction, History, Migration, Potentiality, Valtinos
Beginning with a brief account of the reception of Aristotle’s divide between literature and history, this paper explores a contemporary Greek case of blurring the boundaries between those narrative forms, as exemplified in the work of Thanasis Valtinos. Focussing on one of his early works, it argues that by creatively manipulating textual formats which often do not belong to the realm of literature, Valtinos’s prose constructs a blurry space between fiction and historical reality which challenges ordinary views of perception and representation and tests the boundaries of prose writing. Literature may not be able to restore historical truth, but by exploring how individuals negotiate life through specific historical conditions and circumstances, regardless of whether their understanding of these circumstances is systematic, comprehensive, accurate, or naïve, it can give voice to the experience of anonymity and therefore contribute to our understanding of what history potentially overlooks. Furthermore, it can problematize what is viewed as historical truth and accordingly sharpen our critical approach to the past by cultivating the potent space between history and fiction, between what has happened and what may have happened.
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