Traces of Hellenism and Perpetual Hope: Religious Faith in Greek American Return Narratives

During the 1960s, Greek American writers were particularly interested in exploring their cultural heritage, leading many to produce “return narratives,” stories of a return to their ethnic, pre-American homeland. These narratives often emphasize religious faith, insisting upon its centrality to Greek identity. My project focuses on the roles of Orthodox Christianity and Hellenic polytheism within two such return narratives: Daphne Athas’s Greece by Prejudice (1963) and Elias Kulukundis’s The Feasts of Memory (1967). Athas and Kulukundis return to Greece within distinct contexts and experience religion in contrasting ways, but both authors ultimately suggest that by reconciling Greece’s hybrid religious landscape, they are in turn able to reconcile their hybrid cultural backgrounds.
Honors Thesis Spring 2022
Greek American literature, Religion, Return in literature, Athas, Daphne, 1923-2020, Kulukundis, Elias, 1937-