Peter Mackridge, Enlightenment and Entertainment: the Intolerable Lightness of Phanariot Literature, 1750–1800

Peter Mackridge - University of Oxford
TOME IV 1966 1-2
pp. 119-138
Online publication date: 
Phanariots; 18th century Greek literature; Greek Enlightenment; literature as entertainment; Turkish loanwords in Greek; Orthodox millet

In Greece, the second half of the eighteenth century tends to be seen as the beginning of the Greek Enlightenment which paved the way for Greek national independence. Analysing literary texts produced by members of Phanariot circles between 1750 and 1800, I argue that their purpose is predominantly entertainment rather than enlightenment. Finally I argue that these texts, which have been marginalized as being banal and as using an excessive number of Turkish loanwords, allow us to gain important insights into the thought-world of elite members of the Orthodox millet who did not envisage a national revolution against the Ottoman empire.