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Biographies (3)


Georgios Vizyinos

, , 1849 - 1896
Short story writer poet. Born in Vyzo (Vizyi) in Eastern Thrace, from where he took his pen name; his real name was Georgios Syrmas. In his youth he preferred to be known as Michailidis, crafting a surname from his father's name. In 1860 he was sent to Constantinople, where he was apprenticed to his uncle in the tailors' quild. Two years later, after his uncle's death, the Cypriot merchant Yiangos Georgiadis took him under his wing and introduced him to his relative, Sophronios II, the archbishop of Cyprus. From 1868 to 1872 he lived in Cyprus as acolyte to the archbishop and at he name time attended school, where he supervised the younger boys and became a psalter, for a salary of fifty groschen per month. In July 1872 he returned to Constantinople, as part of Sophronios' s entrourage, and began studies at the Chalki Theological Seminary, where he met the poet Elias Tantalidis and composed his first collection of poems as well as the epic-lyric work, Kodros.
In the following year he abandoned his vestment and went to Athens with a Georgios Zarifis scholarship; after graduating from the 2nd Boys Gymnasium, he enroled in the Athens University Faculty of Philosophy. 1873 was the year he made his first appearance in the world of literature: his Poetica Protoleia (Juvenile Poems) was printed in Constantinople and Kodros was submitted to the Voutsinaios Literary Competition, where boasting an introduction by A. Rangavis, it won first prize (1874). The poem was printed in Athens, but the award caused aroused considerable coutroversy.
In 1875, with Zarifis's backing, he departed for Germany to further his studies in philosophy. He attended classes in philosophy, classical philology, archaeology, physiology and pyschology at the universities of Gottingen, Leipzig, and Berlin, finally returning to Gottingen, wher he received his doctorate with a thesis on "Children's play with reference to psychology and education" (1881). These studies did not prevent him from continuing his literary endeavours: in 1875 he wrote the lost tragedy, Diamanto; in 1876 the poetry collection, Ares, Mares, Koukounares, which was renamed Vosporides Avra and which won another Voutsinaios competition, again provoking an outcry. Only some of the poems were printed at that time. His first story for children, published in 1879 in Diaplasi ton Paidion, was called "Araps and his Camel". After this his literary output became more and more prolific.
In 1881 he visited Samakovo in Thrace, where he became interested in the mining of iron. This would eventually inspire him to write the story "Moskov Selim", which was first published in Estia journal (1895). The following year, 1882, he traveled to Paris where he met such Greeks as G. Hasiotis and D. Vikelas, who is credited with being the person who "opened the door" to Vizyinos as far as short-story writing is concerned, as well as the neohellenists Queux de Saint Hilaire and Juliette Lamber-Adam. He then went on to London where he met P. Vrailas Armenis. He wrote his first short story, "My mother's sin", which was published in 1883 in French, translated by Queux de Saint Hilaire, and in Greek in the Estia. That year he also published in the same journal his stories "Between Piraeus and Neapolis" and "Who was my brother's murdered?". After the death of his patron Georgios Zarifis (1884), he returned to Athens to live and continued to write ("The only trip of his life" etc.) and published his studies, "The philosophy of the good according to Plotinus" (post-doctoral thesis), "'onks and the worship of Dionysos in Thrace", and "Elements of Psychology". In 1885 he was appointed Reader in History of Philosophy at Athens University, and he also taught psycology and logic at the secondary level and rhythm and playwriting at the Athens Conservatory (1890). In 1889 he visited his birthplace Vyzo for the last time and failed to win a prize in the first Philadelphios Competition. Shortly afterwards he confessed his passion for Bettina Fravasili, but this coincided with the first signs of mental illness. In April 1892 he was committed to the Dromokaiteion hospital where he died in April 1896. He received a public funeral with eulogies given by Aristotelis Kourtidis and Kostis Palamas.
Vizyinos distinguished himself as a prose writer who cultivated the study of mores and psychology in a lively katharevousa (formal Greek), drawing material from every day life in Thace. His works have a autobiographical flavour and are inspired by his family life and surroundings in Vizyi and Constantinople.
This text is cited Aug 2002 from the URL bellow of the Thracian Electronic Thesaurus project, supervized by Democritus University of Thrace.


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