By Gregory Jusdanis
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Extra resources for Belated Modernity and Aesthetic Culture: Inventing National Literature
24 D FROM EMPIRE TO NATION-STATE The scholars Daniil Filippidis (1755-1832) and Grigorios Konstantas (1758-1844) in their influential volume, Yeografia Neoteriki (1791) also addressed the political chaos and economic decay of the empire struggling to maintain authority over a huge territory and multiethnic population. They blamed the discontent of the Greeks on the absence of law and reliable structures for commercial interchange. Many Greeks, particularly the wealthy, they argued, fearing for their lives and property, flee to neighboring countries where "laws are sovereign and rights of life and property are sovereign" (1988: 116).
Modern Greek literature is not minor in this sense, since it was used for constructing a national identity. It does not deterritorialize within its cultural space but actually dominates the writings of other minorities. 12 But it can function as minor in the kingdom reigned over by western criticism, which seeks the transcendence of cultural differences. From the margins of Europe it can activate the critical potential of culture to deterritorialize the integrative tendencies of criticism, deny its authority to represent others, and question its universalist strategies.
The Greek War of Independence, having been regarded by Europeans as a specific struggle in the general conflict between Europe and Asia, democracy against authoritarian empires, contributed, according to Martin Bernal, to the decline of the "ancient model," which had acknowledged the Egyptian and Phoenician heritage in Greek culture (1987). It was replaced by the "Aryan model," a product of German Altertumswissenschaft, which denied Afroasiatic roots in favor of Indoeuropean sources. 6 The newly independent nation also became an instrument of western policy in the Balkans and Near East.