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Vrasidas Karalis

Sing, O muse, of the rage of the daemons, soulless sons of Hellenes, that have brought countless ills upon the Greeks. Sing, O Vrasidas Karalis of your descent into the Greek inferno and of the quarrels that have plagued our citizens. Sing, O brave soul, sing your reports from the Great Devastation.

Forgive my classicist sentimentality. How else to begin a r ...

I suppose our lives gain intensity through meetings with remarkable men and women. Occasionally, we encounter certain people whose rich inner lives mesmerise us and make us feel awkward and uneasy and out of place. Mr Manoly Lascaris had such an impact: he decentred people, made them lose confidence, made them feel physically uncomfortable, through his silence, his mundane chatter, his eccentric wisdom and the strange way he had of transforming domesticity into an exercise of virtue.

First, though, comes respect and the need to open yourself to your subject. The dialogues recorded in my book Recollections of Mr Manoly Lascaris (2008) are about thoughts underlying, or succeeding, particular events; they present the story of someone’s life at peak moments of mental realisation. The book is neither a biography nor a journalistic account of events and episodes. It records thoughts, ideas and conclusions in retrospect, as the culmination of the act of living and the art of thinking.

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