East, West, Greece


in CORFU, GREECE, 5-9 July 2021

The question of whether Greece “belongs” to the West or to the East has been central to politics, sociology, cultural analysis and economics since the late eighteenth century. In addition to the binary issue of “either/or” is that of both: that Greece continues to exhibit characteristics of both western and eastern persuasions.

The establishment of the state of Greece from 1821 to 1831 featured the introduction, to a society almost exclusively eastward-looking in character, of ideas drawn from western models of statehood. The debate as to the viability and ontology of such a state continues today.

The Durrell Library of Corfu will host an international symposium 5-9 July 2021, in Corfu, Greece, to examine topics including:

  • Greece’s role in the Balkans and the Levant, in matters of culture, geopolitics, and economics;
  • Greece’s relationships with both the West and the East in matters of economics, literature and philosophy;
  • Greece in geopolitics and globalisation;
  • post-colonial experiences in Ireland, India and Greece.

2021 marks the bicentenary of the start of Greece’s war of independence from the Otttoman empire. We will mark this with a visit to the Kapodistrias Museum, set in the family home of Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first President of the Greek state.

Confirmed speakers include:

Roderick Beaton, biographer of George Seferis and author of Greece: biography of a modern nation;

Roy Foster, historian and biographer of W B Yeats;

Gail Holst-Warhaft, author of Road to Rembetika and Theodorakis: myth and politics in modern Greek music;

Kapka Kassabova, author of Border: a journey to the edge of Europe and To the Lake: a Balkan journey of war and peace;

Ian MacNiven, biographer of Lawrence Durrell and James Laughlin;

Harish Trivedi, author of Colonial Transactions: English Literature and India.

Each session will feature a principal speaker and respondent, with provision for group discussion which will be recorded for future publication.

If you wish to participate in “EAST, WEST, GREECE”, or to reserve one of the limited places, please contact us in the first instance at: durrelllibrarycorfu@gmail.com

This symposium will represent a gathering of some of the world’s most distinguished academics and writers in their chosen fields, each of whom has an established interest in the themes of inter-cultural transitions.

Ideally, our venue will be the Solomos Museum*, but, in the event of social distancing remaining a necessity due to health regulations, a suitable outdoor venue will be used. (*courtesy of the Society of Corfiot Studies)

Symposium directors:

Richard Pine (Durrell Library of Corfu),

Vera Konidari (Society of Corfiot Studies)

If you wish to participate in “EAST, WEST, GREECE”, or to reserve one of the limited places, please contact us in the first instance at