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Dionysos Solomos is the national poet of Greece who shaped the modern Greek state's founding narrative. Much of his work deals with the Greek War of Independence. Importantly, his poetry gives a central place to the refugee predicament: the traumas of war that displace people and the dynamics of these people with their host societies. This predicament is highlighted in “The Woman of Zakynthos,” an important text written in response to the third siege of Messolonghi (1825-1826). It develops along two storylines. One represents the desperate women who flee Messolonghi to seek food and shelter in Zakynthos. The other follows the aristocratic woman of Zakynthos who refuses to help them, condemns the revolution, and works to preserve the dominance of her social class. In her talk, Artemis Leontis uses tools of refugee studies to explore how Solomos bears witness to the ill treatment of civilian victims of war and the refugee predicament that comes with the rise of the Greek nation.

Artemis Leontis is C.P. Cavafy Professor of Modern Greek and Comparative Literature and Director of the Modern Greek Program at the University of Michigan. A third-generation Greek American, she researches and teaches aspects of Hellenism in modernity. She earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Studies at Ohio State University. Her books are: Topographies of Hellenism: Mapping the Homeland (1995, Greek translation 1998); Culture and Customs of Greece (2009); and Eva Palmer Sikelianos: A Life in Ruins (2019, Greek translation 2022). Edited books are Greece; A Travelers' Literary Companion (1997), an anthology of 24 stories by Greek writers introducing readers to the landscapes of Greece; and “What these Ithakas mean…”  Readings in Cavafy—«Η Ιθάκες τί σημάινουν»: Αναγνώσεις στον Καβάφη (2002). She curated the exhibit “Cavafy's World” at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology in 2002. 

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