Portrait of a Greek Imagination: Ethnographic Biography of Andreas Nenedakis

An encounter in a public library led to an enduring intellectual relationship between Andreas Nenedakis and Michael Herzfeld, the author of this study. It prompted Herzfeld to reconsider both the contours of fiction and the nature of anthropology. This book, part biography and part ethnography, is Herzfeld's contextualization of Nenedakis's life, as it was both lived and fictionalized. Herzfeld explores how personal vision intersects with national cultures by examining the Greek author's novels and recollections as historical accounts. Bringing together the methods of the novelist and the anthropologist in their common concern with both social and lived experience, he shows how different perspectives shape the historical record. Nenedakis endured persecution, exile, imprisonment, and torture under Greece's military dictatorship, and his novels an individual version of historical events. As one of his characters ask, For was not his life, and are not the lives of all of us, a novel?