Axioti, Melpo (c. 1906–c. 1973)

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Axioti, Melpo (c. 1906–c. 1973)

Greek novelist and poet. Name variations: Melpo Axiote. Born around 1906 in Athens, Greece; died around 1973.

Selected novels:

Difficult Nights (1938); Would You Like to Dance, Maria? (1940); Twentieth Century (?); Cadmo (1972). Poetry: Coincidence (1939); Contraband (1959). Non-Fiction: Chronicles (1945).

Melpo Axioti, a Greek author who wrote extensively in both prose and verse, was born around 1906 in Athens, Greece. When she was a young girl, her mother abandoned the family, and Axioti was raised by her father. From 1918–22, she attended school at a Roman Catholic convent on the island of Tinos. While there, Axioti acquired a strong command of French language and literature. By 1930, she returned to Athens. In 1938, she published her first novel, Difficult Nights, which generated mixed reviews. Shortly after, Axioti completed a collection of poems, Coincidence (1939), and another novel, Would You Like to Dance, Maria? (1940). In 1940, she became a member of the Communist Party along with other prominent female writers in Greece. Indeed, her political affiliation is frequently reflected in her work. Sent into exile in 1947, Axioti fled to France and subsequently to East Germany, where, at the Classics Institute of Humboldt University, she taught Modern Greek. She returned to her homeland in 1964. In later years, she continued to publish poetry and fiction. Melpo Axioti died in 1973, and her funeral roused demonstrations in the streets of Athens.

M. C. English , Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts