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2003-2004 Visiting Fellows

Eleni Koutrianou
University of Cyprus

Nicolas Calas and Nanos Valaorites: A Correspondence

Outline of Research Work and Findings:

I undertook scholarly inquiry and evaluation of the Nanos Valaorites archive in its entirety. In doing so I located the letters (mainly in two boxes of the archive, but some scattered elsewhere), compared photocopies with the originals, recorded the paper type (color and dimensions), whether typed or handwritten, and the graphics (typewriter cartridge color, ink), as well as whether there were corrections (and whether in pen or pencil). I recorded the names of sender and receiver, as well as the postal seal of each letter. I made a record of other material included in the letters.

I believe that the outcome of my research is absolutely satisfactory. The comparison between photocopies and originals is complete. Some parts that appeared illegible were identified and deciphered. All of Calas'handwritten letters were read.

I also conducted research at the Firestone Library and at the Alexander Library at Rutgers University. I went to Rutgers for art books, since Marquand Library was not available during my visit. My object was to find and study the books and articles that make reference to the letters, as well as information about persons referred to by the poets. I also wanted to study the bibliography on literary and aesthetic developments (even political to some extent) on which the two poets exchange views in the correspondence. Particular emphasis is given by both poets to the developments of the groups formed after the death of Andre Breton through whom there was an attempt to continue the Surrealist quest. I have also devoted study to Calas's views of American art in his critical texts about it.

Expected Publication:

The aim of my research is to present the correspondence for publication. I believe that such a publication ought to be in English, primarily because the majority of it is written in English but also because the letters include valuable information of interest to a public beyond Greece.

I accepted with pleasure Gretchen Oberfranc's proposal to publish a part of the correspondence together with my introductory remarks in the Princeton University Library Chronicle.

I regret that fact that it was so difficult to make contact with the Princeton faculty during my visit. I am certain that it would have been to my benefit, but I hope to have the opportunity on a future occasion.

I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Committee on Hellenic Studies and the Friends of the Princeton University Library for their most memorable hospitality.

The Library staff were absolutely eager and willing to be of assistance to me-special mention should be made of Margaret Sherry Rich-and the Library was a most pleasurable and inspiring place for my research, thanks to the wonderful collection of books and periodicals. I was impressed by the efficient and quick processing of the Valaorites Archive, only recently acquired by the University, and the meticulous work that went into its classification.

I have only positive remarks to make about your program. The Library staff is always eager and ready to solve any problem faced by the researcher. The only problem was with Marquand Library, which was closed during the month of my stay. Yet that was not a real problem, since Meg Rich provided me with all the information I needed to visit other libraries instead. I congratulate you on your excellent organization of the visiting Fellows Program.


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