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GR3 Reading List

(c) Benjamin Powell


If you are a beginner in Modern Greek, you are strongly advised to familiarize yourself with the alphabet and pronunciation system, and to study at least the first few chapters of a good coursebook before the start of the academic year. There are several acceptable courses for beginners, some of which we list below. The Dimitra-Papacheimona book is the one we shall be using in class in 2014-15 as our basic textbook. Copies can be borrowed from the Italian/Modern Greek office, on payment of a deposit.

  • D. Dimitra & M. Papacheimona, Ελληνικά Τώρα 1 + 1 (Nostos, 5th ed. Athens 2002). (Grammatical notes in English, but the main text is entirely in Greek. Cassettes and workbook available.) The second volume, Ελληνικά Τώρα 2 + 2, will be used in the Lent and Easter Terms.
  • K. Arnanitakis & F. Arnavitaki, Communicate in Greek 1 (textbook and workbook) (Deltos Publishing, 2002).
  • S. Vogiatzidou, Learning Modern Greek as a foreign/second language: a communicative approach. University Studio Press, Thessaloniki 2002. (A well-illustrated course, with workbook and three cassettes.)
  • Greek language and people (BBC Books, London 2006). (New updated edition, with 2 x 75-minute CDs. Attractively presented material but short on grammar. Can be used for private study.)
  • Niki Watts, Colloquial Greek: a complete language course (Routledge, 1994). (Two 60-minute cassettes available.)
  • Learn Greek - Word Power 101 [Kindle Edition]
  • Hara Garafoulia-Middle & Howard Middle, Build Your Greek Vocabulary, (GW Publishing, Chinnor 2009)

You will also find it useful to equip yourself with a dictionary and a reference grammar:

  • * D.N. Stavropoulos, Oxford Greek-English Learner's Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 1988)
  • D.N. Stavropoulos & A.S. Hornby, Oxford English-Greek Learner's Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 1977). (The two Stavropoulos volumes are probably the best English/Greek dictionary available at present.)
  • J.T. Pring, The Pocket Oxford Greek Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 1995). (Compact and pretty reliable.)
  • * D. Holton, P. Mackridge & I. Philippaki-Warburton, Greek: An essential grammar of the modern language (Routledge, 2004)

Background reading

In addition to making a start on the language, you should also read some introductory works on Modern Greek history and culture, and novels and poetry in translation.

You should also be aware that some of the texts taught in this course, especially Seferis and Fakinou, require good familiarisation with Ancient Greek Myths. A good guide to Classical Mythology should be a compulsory companion to your reading, and you must pay particular attention to the following myths and legends:

  • The Odyssey
  • The Argonauts
  • Persephone
  • Artemis/Hecate
  • Dionysus and Satyrs
  • Uranus and Gaia (Titans)
  • Apollo
  • Heracles
  • Perseus and Andromeda
  • Prometheus

Here is a selection of introductory works:

  • Eleni Bastéa, The creation of modern Athens: planning the myth (Cambridge University Press, 2000)
  • * R. Clogg, A concise history of Greece (Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed. 2002)
  • T. W. Gallant, Modern Greece (Arnold, London 2001)
  • Y. Hamilakis, The nation and its ruins: antiquity, archaeology, and national imagination in Greece (Oxford University Press, 2007)
  • Edmund Keeley, Inventing Paradise: The Greek Journey, 1937-47 (Northwestern University Press; 2002)
  • * J. Koliopoulos & T. Veremis, Modern Greece: a history since 1821 (Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester 2010)
  • M. Llewellyn Smith, Athens: a cultural and literary history (Signal Books, Oxford 2004
  • * P. Mackridge, Language and national identity in Greece, 1766-1976 (Oxford University Press, 2009)
  • M. Mazower, The Balkans (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 2000)
  • Henry Miller, The Colossus of Maroussi (Penguin, many reprints)
  • L. Papadimitriou & Y. Tzioumakis, Greek Cinema: texts, histories, identities (Intellect, Bristol, 2012)
  • Katerina Zacharia (ed.), Hellenisms: culture, identity and ethnicity from Antiquity to Modernity (Ashgate, Aldershot 2008)
  • Sofka Zinovieff, Eurydice Street: a place in Athens (Granta Books, London 2004)
  • * R. Beaton, An Introduction to Modern Greek literature (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2nd ed. 1999)
  • * C. P. Cavafy, The collected poems [with parallel Greek text]. Translated by E. Sachperoglou; Greek text edited by A. Hirst; introduction by P. Mackridge (Oxford University Press, 2007). (There are several other serviceable translations of Cavafy’s poetry into English.)
  • N. Kazantzakis: translations of his novels and travel books are available in Faber paperback editions.
  • Artemis Leontis (ed.), Greece: A Traveler’s Literary Companion (Whereabouts Press, San Francisco 1997). (Translations of short stories and other texts referring to particular parts of Greece.)
  • D. Ricks (ed.), Modern Greek writing: an anthology in English translation (Peter Owen, 2003)
  • G. Seferis, Complete poems. Translated, edited and introduced by E. Keeley and P. Sherrard (Anvil Press Poetry, London 1995). (An older edition, with Greek text en face, was published by Anvil in 1982.)

And if you get a chance to watch any Greek films, even better!

Greek bookshop in London:

The Hellenic Bookservice, 91 Fortess Road, Kentish Town, London NW5 1AG (tel. 0207-267 9499). Website:


*These books, which it will be useful to have access to during the course, are recommended for purchase by college libraries.