Loudemis Emmanuel
Emmanuel Loudemis (pseudonym of Dimitris Valasiadis) was born in Constantinople in a wealthy family that bankrupt following its establishment in the Greek state. During his childhood, he lived for a short time at the state boarding school in Edessa; however, after a while, he was forced to start working, by taking on different jobs, such as grammatist, choirmaster and labor worker in the technical works at Gallikos River. He was involved in National Resistance and joined EAM, where he served as a secretary of the intellectuals’ organization. During the civil war, he was exiled on Makronisos and Ae Stratis, and, in 1958, he was tried for his book Vourkomenes meres, in which he merely touches upon the tortures of intellectuals. During the period 1958 – 1974, he lived self-exiled in Rumania, while during the dictatorship of Papadopoulos, he was deprived of Greek citizenship. He died in Athens, in 1977, from a heart attack.

Loudemis appeared in Greek letters after 1930 when he started publishing poetry and short stories in the magazine Nea Estia. In 1938, he published the collection of short stories Ta ploia den araxan, for which he was awarded the Great State Prize for Prose. He was also awarded the Prize of the Golden Paneuropean Laurel (Paris 1951). The entirety of his work covers almost all the genres of writing (prose, poetry, essay, theatre, children’s literature, translation and other).

Emmanuel Loudemis is one of the Greek authors of the inter-bellum that turned to social realism. He deliberately chooses an “amateur-like” writing, since, as he supports himself, he is not interested in Art, but in depicting reality and demonstrating social inequalities. In 1943, he actually wrote: “I will remain primitive and wild; I will never make Art, but Truth (in bold letters) and Life (in even more bold letters in blood)”. Until his death, he wrote based on his experience and feelings, putting the story and technical details aside.

His entire work is dominated by his trend to be entirely centred on one principal person-narrator (who usually is the author himself), belonging to the marginal types of oppressed social layers and which gives us his personal perspective on loneliness, the unfulfilled love and the misery of the world. As V. Chatzivasiliou notes “the critical drama in his short-stories or novels is the deprivation experienced by the narrator – hero – writer, who does not get tired to portray in one book after the other his condition and to blame everyone for his misfortune”.

His work is strongly influenced by European literature of the movement of Socialist Realism (Knut Hamsun, Maxim Gorky, Panait Istrati and others): Realistic portray of landscapes and people emotionally exaggerated and at times approaching melodrama; experiential writing, ethnographic and symbolic elements.

In his first two collections of short stories Ta ploia den araxan (1938) and Perimenondas to ouranio toxo (1940) his topics are dominated by social outcasts with intense autobiographical elements, while in the work Kalinihta Zoi, under the subtitle “Istoria mias psyches kai tis psyches mou” he adds a new social type, that of the cosmopolitan of rich people resorts. In works of his, such as Synnefiazei (1947) and Ena paidi metraei ta astra (1956-1957) the technique he uses in portraying people creates complete, live characters who form an entire small society. In his works Odos Avyssou (1962) and Oi iroes koimounde anisiha (1974) he abandons the marginal element and turns to a different category of outcasts: Persecuted fighters of the Left.

Emmanuel Loudemis is among the most prolific Greek writers. Books of his have been translated in several languages, mainly of the former Eastern Bloc, including Poland, Rumania, Buglaria and others. Also, some of them have been translated into Chinese and Vietnamese. In Western Europe, several extracts of his works have been published, mainly in literary magazines and gazettes. His novel Ena paidi metraei ta astra has been translated in German as well; some of his poetry has been used in composing songs.