Manic Eroticism and Sexual Melancholia: Romos Philyras and the Aesthetics of Madness

Andrew Mellas


Romos Philyras appears early in the twentieth century as one of Greece’s most promisingand yet most tragic poets. In the shadow of Kostes Palamas, the preeminent figure of the era,Philyras develops as a poet whose writing exhibits a marked aloofness from – if notindifference to – his surrounding social climate, preferring an idealism permeated by natureand erotic passion. The fantastical becomes for him a semantic space and, indeed, a type ofrefuge. Georgios Phteres characterised him as a “Don Quixote with a Pegasus”, a “Don Juanof the erotic vision...a tragically sensual man who is never satisfied”.1Kostas Varnalesconsidered Philyras to be one of the greatest lyrical poets of modern Greece followingSolomos. He also was thought to be, thought of himself as – and certainly was – mad.

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