Alexandros Papadiamantis

AlexandosPapadiamantisOne of the best Greek writers. Born in early March of 1851, he began his studies at the "peer tutoring" school of Skiathos, continued in Chalkida, Piraeus and Athens.

His work played a major role in Greek literature and his writings became known outside the boundaries of the Greek territory. He died in early 1911, leaving behind a rich literary work.

Born after some on the 3rd and others on the 4th of March 1851 in the small and picturesque island of Skiathos, his mother was from a noble and old family and his father was the priest Adamantios Emmanuel. Thus he grew up in an environment of moral and virtuous life along with four sisters and one brother (the third in a series named after the father's mother). The serene environment of the priesthood and his first years of life were followed by the "peer tutoring" school with his relative Logothetis and a classmate, another (later) known writer, his cousin Alexander Moraitidis. "The two Alexanders, the two great ones", as his teacher used to call them.

With a strong inclination to literature, he graduated from primary school in 1861 and enrolled at the comprehensive Greek school of Skiathos. He followed the second and third grade at the neighboring island of Skopelos, where he earned his diploma in 1864. Modestly and humbly he returned to his island and although his relatives were calling him the "literate priest boy" because he stood out from the rest, he continued to study on his own since the family's finances were not allowing him to directly pursue his studies. He remained close to his father, helping him in his priestly duties, going with him to the churches and among all the candles he witnessed fellow hearted and tormented people, laboring people, sailors and silent women, all of which found solace in praying. The solemn atmosphere of his youth deeply scarred the psyche of Papadiamantis, which later became an inexhaustible source of inspiration for his literary work.

At age 20 he went to Mount Athos (Agio Oros) where, during the 1872 and 1873, he visited the monasteries and libraries there. He studied in peace and next to the nature of this holy place, while attending the functions, sequences and thus was introduced into the religious rituals of the church and the art of chanting.

In the summer of 1873 he returned to the island in the age of 22, but the costs of a big family were unbearable. His visit to Mount Athos and the interaction with his old classmates Sotiris Ekonomou and Alexander Moraitidis, who were now studying at the University, revived his thirst for learning. Ekonomou convinces him to follow him to Athens, where he will be hosting him until he finishes his studies.

He passes the exams of the fourth and last year of the Varvakion High school. He calls upon the help of fellow Skithians who were established in Athens, he sends cosntitutive letters to members of the Parliament in order to be appointed to a public service or assistant in a private school without a degree.

The beginning was difficult and the sensitive Papadiamantis knew the difficult side of life. While his parents are sending clothes and food in order to encourage him, he is sending his mother his first song!

Difficult years full of excitement and distress. Papadiamantis was not giving up though! He works as student tutor and as a translator in newspapers. He never got rich, the opposite. He had an unkempt appearance, he lived without comforts, ate in traditional tavernas and worked in press offices. He believed in himself and devoted himself to the creation of the intellectual project launched publicly in 1879 with his novel "The Metanastis", followed by "Chris Milionis", "The Gypsy Girl", "The Murderess", "The Merchants of Nations", stories such as "The Witches," "The Pentarfanos", "Dead Traveler" and many others.

He wrote in purist Greek, using folk and church expressions. The entire work of Papadiamantis was inspired by the nostalgia of Skiathos island and it describes the beauty and vividness of Skiathos beaches. With affection he recounts the lives, the passions and problems of nameless people, reaching the reader. Humble until his last story "The Impact of the Mind" which began to be published in the journal "Dawn" of Mytilene and was never ended well after 30 years of struggle for survival and nostalgia of the island Skiathos, which he honored and glorified through his work!

On January 3rd 1911, after his return to Skiathos, he died from pneumonia.
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