A r i s M a r a n g o p o u l o s (more often written as Maragkopoulos, an exact transliteration of the greek Μαραγκόπουλος) is a Greek author, literary critic and translator. Born in Athens, Greece, 1948. He studied History and Archeology at the University of Athens, History of Art and Archeology at the University of Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne.
He is one of the few modernist / postmodernist writers of prose in Greece and has been writing since the early eighties. Some of his older novels deal with the Utopian idea of communal love as a means of civil disobedience but those more widely read refer to a contemporary social context, presented through well-known historic attempts of civil disobedience against state arbitrariness. In seeming contrast to that realist predilection his style, though, should not be defined as realistic. He clearly stands for an elective modernist style which in some books even takes the form of a poème en prose.
Vassilis Vassilikos, author of the novel Z, has commented on Maragkopoulos' political novel Obsession with Spring: «It is the outcome of a difficult journey through the clashing rocks of James Joyce and Jorge Luis Borges, a fruitful journey that made him rediscover Honoré de Balzac’s gold… A fantastic political thriller, an anatomy of the country we call Hellas, a novel that opens a wide discussion amid the reading community since it re-reads our recent history». (We cannot hold with certainty if that critical praise is valid. One has to judge for himself by reading that specific novel).
His more widely read novel so far, as most critics agree, The Slap-tree, is a book that reviews post-war Greece through the eyes of a foreign woman, a Welsh teacher who during WW II fell in love with a young Greek communist and thereafter put every possible effort to free him from an incarceration of 17 years (a true story which made to the first page of international media in the sixties). Apart from its literary merits the story has ignited a certain discussion and dispute in Greece as to the possible ways of narrating historic facts in literature. His latest novel Paul & Laura, a painting after nature (published November 2016) has been reviewed time and again with warm critical appraisal.
Maragkopoulos is considered an authority on James Joyce in Greece. He has written three books and many articles on the matter. His most important study, Ulysses, A reader's guide is principally an attempt to explain James Joyce's Ulysses through affinities to its Homeric counterpart, the Odyssey, – affinities clearly exposed for the reader, in richly documented text. Exegetic suggestions in response to central issues of the Joycean critical literature are also seriously treated in the volume – documented as they are in a thorough textual and intertextual analysis of the original.
Aris M.'s Joycean studies have influenced his critical reading of Greek modern and contemporary prose: his writings over the years ask for a total re-mapping of the reception of prose literature in Greece.
Aris Maragkopoulos has served for two consecutive terms as Secretary Executive of the Hellenic Authors' Society (a painful experience that caused a permanent trauma to his delicate personality).
His novel Love, Gardens, Ingratitude has been translated into Serbian, his Obsession with Spring into Turkish, his short novel Nostalgic Clone into English and various texts and articles into English, French, Turkish and Serbian. Two of his books have been shortlisted for the National Literary Award: Love, Gardens, Ingratitude for the year 2002 and Paul & Laura, a painting after nature, for 2016.
Αn interview on 15.01.2021 (in Reading Greece)