Literary Reflections October 09 2014

Pile of vintage books

By Constantine Kalogroulis 

How could someone trace the literary and artistic history of a city through a walk, through specific sights and places, especially when literature in particular lies within the sphere of ideas and is, therefore, intangible? Architecture, history, social and even economic evolution can indeed be traced through buildings, avenues and streets, urban planning. But literature is only obliquely visually reflected. The only possible solution to this question is tracing places where ideas were formed through interaction. Even though the actual birth takes place within an artist’s mind, many masterpieces were in fact conceived and even structured within the ideal conditions of discussion and exchange of ideas. Even the entire cultural vibe of a city or country can be compared and contrasted with international ones through such unique meeting places where foreign writers and artists come into contact with the local intelligentsia. Whether buildings and apartments that hosted literary “evenings”, cafes and taverns that were frequented by creative people who felt at ease, or even public places that proved inspirational, literature and the arts can, to an extent of course, be “seen” and experienced within the urban fabric.