Thanos Vlekas

Trade Paper – $17.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1817-1
Publication Date
July 2001
Page Count
211 pages
Trim Size
5 1/8 x 7 3/4

Thanos Vlekas

A Novel
Pavlos Kalligas, Translated from the Greek by Thomas Doulis

Published in 1855 and considered Greece's first realistic social novel, Thanos Vlekas is a witty and ambitious portrayal of the problems facing the newly established Greek state after its War of Independence. The story of two opposing brothers, it addresses the brigandage, corruption, and bureaucratic bumbling that plagued the newly established Greek state.

Thanos is a young farmer struggling to improve himself despite the derision of his mother, who considers him incapable of bearing arms for his country. She prefers instead her more "heroic" son, the brave and ambitious brigand Tassos, whose courage and resistance to authority embodying the virtues that helped Greece drive out the Turks. While Thanos works his land, his ruthless brother uses the political machinery and wealth gained from robbery and murder to replace the old Ottoman landowners and subjugate the villagers.

About the Author

Pavlos Kalligas was a Greek jurist, author, statesman, University of Athens professor, Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament, cabinet minister for Foreign Affairs, Education, Finance and Justice, and chairman of the National Bank of Greece.

"A vivid, absorbing tale, and an important literary discovery."  —Kirkus Reviews

"Scholars often consider this 1855 title Greece's first social novel. Set during the Greek war of independence, it tells the story of brothers Thanos, a farmer, and Tassos, a soldier. While Tassos's fight for his nation's freedom might seem the nobler cause, he uses his political connections for personal gain, while his nearly anonymous brother serves his country in a less visible but more honest way." —Library Journal

"The protagonist of this novel that was originally published in Greece in 1855 is Thanos Vlekas, a young sharecropper who hopes to improve himself and his land. In following Vlekas' exploits, the author brings to light the problems troubling Greece at that time, including brigandage, corruption, and the endemic inefficiency of the nation. The novel also deals with another failure of the new Greek state: its inability to provide law and security to border provinces and to administer and dispose properly of land to which it had title. The story concludes with the issue of the apportionment of "national lands," the thousands of acres taken from Muslim landowners after liberation. Thanos Vlekas, written more than 145 years ago, is relevant today in a world where conflict and corruption continue to tarnish society." —Booklist