From literary criticism to propaganda: intellectuals, culture, and politics during the Metaxas dictatorship (1936-1940)

Stamos, Ioannis (2019). From literary criticism to propaganda: intellectuals, culture, and politics during the Metaxas dictatorship (1936-1940). University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis discusses official discourse in conjunction with discourses produced by pro-regime intellectuals involved in cultural affairs and particularly literary criticism during the Metaxas dictatorship. Its primary sources consist chiefly of periodicals that supported the dictatorship or were published by it. The thesis attempts to place these discourses in a wider context by comparing them with those produced by far-right intellectual and political circles in other European countries in the first half of the twentieth century and by pinpointing their pre-1936 indigenous sources. It is argued that the level of erudition displayed by critics and cultural operators along with the regime’s self-styling as a Kulturstaat enabled such intellectuals to play a significant political (legitimising and propagandistic) role. The structure is thematic and revolves around these four themes: past, nation, authority and hierarchy, and future. The first topic is analysed through the discussion of specific historical periods that were the focus of Metaxist discourse and the modes of historical understanding that characterised it. The second theme is examined based on questions regarding the representation of the essence of Hellenism and the cultural definition of the nation, the emphasis on the homeland and its aesthetic or metaphysical attributes, the promotion of vernacular culture and language, and notions of national unity. The third topic encompasses propaganda related to order, discipline, and absolutism, as well as hierarchy, elitism, and the doctrine of charismatic leadership. The analysis of the fourth topic is pursued by means of discussing propaganda related to new chronotopes, the Third Hellenic Civilisation, and the youth.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology (CAHA)
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Leventis Foundation
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DF Greece
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism


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