Een politiek avontuur De Aithiopika als model voor Soutsos’ De Banneling van 1831



Several recent publications in the field of Modern Greek literature have suggested that the
novels written during the two decades following Greece’s independence in 1830 were in
fact inspired by their Hellenistic and Byzantine predecessors, and therefore generically
are ‘adventure novels of ordeal'. In this paper I put these insights into practice by comparing
Heliodoros’ Aithiopika (ca. 350 A.D.) with Alexandros Soutsos’ The Exile of 1831
(1835) and argue that the connections between these two novels are so close that the
Aithiopikia can be considered as the direct model for Soutsos’ novel. The main
resemblances between the two works can be found in their narrative organisation and in
the presence of similar narrative themes. But Soutsos’ innovations vis-à-vis his model are
also noteworthy. Firstly, The Exile of 1831 has a pessimistic ending whereas in the Aithiopika
contains the stereotypical happy end. Secondly, actions performed in the Aithiopika
by the heroine, are in Soutsos’ novel reversed and experienced by the hero. Taking into
account these 'good-bad’ and 'hero-heroine’ inversions, I furthermore argue that Soutsos
did this consciously in order to add an allegorical layer to his novel. This allowed him to
express an ideological-political message at a time when Greece was developping its
identity as a modern nation-state.