NEW YORK – On October 25, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Burnaby, Canada, and the UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture in Los Angeles hosted Dr. Artemis Leontis, C.P. Cavafy Professor of Modern Greek and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan, as part of this year's Fall Seminar Series.
Dr. Leontis, the inaugural speaker in the new collaborative programming for SFU and UCLA, presented the lecture, Going after Eva Palmer Sikelianos, online. For more than a decade, Leontis has carried out a recovery project researching and writing the life of Eva Palmer Sikelianos, publishing her biography in 2019. Leontis knew Palmer as a shadowy figure in Greek cultural history, known mostly as the wealthy American wife of the Greek poet Angelos Sikelianos, who spent all her money on his projects. Through intensive detective work, she has uncovered a bigger, more complicated story of a brilliant, beautiful, countercultural, queer woman who may be the most influential philhellene after Lord Byron.
In this talk, Leontis spoke of going “after” Eva Palmer Sikelianos in the double sense of pursuit and succession. She will recount some of her adventures pursuing the hidden archival resources of Palmer’s life, then foreground the stakes of modern encounters with the ancient Greeks in the light of spectrums of meaning found in Palmer’s legacy.
The lecture is now available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/INc-XRNXIw0.
Artemis Leontis is C.P. Cavafy Professor of Modern Greek and Comparative Literature, Chair of the Department of Classical Studies, and Director of the Modern Greek Program at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Eva Palmer Sikelianos: A Life in Ruins (2019), Culture and Customs of Greece (2009), and Topographies of Hellenism: Mapping the Homeland (1995), and coeditor of What these Ithakas mean…: Readings in Cavafy (2002), and editor of Greece: A Traveler's Literary Companion (1997). She is currently creating a digital archive and editing a book of the correspondence of Eva Palmer with Natalie Barney, Colette, Renee Vivien, and others who were players in the cultural scene of early twentieth century Paris.
More information is available online, SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies at SFU: https://www.sfu.ca/hellenic-studies.html and UCLA SNF Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture: https://hellenic.ucla.edu/.
Leontis’ biography, Eva Palmer Sikelianos: A Life in Ruins, is also available online.