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Enkyklopaideia tou Hellēnikou typou 1784-1974: ephēmerides, periodika, dēmosiographoi, ekdotes [Encyclopedia of the Greek Press 1784-1974: Newspapers, Periodicals, Journalists, Publishers]. Ed. Loukia Droulia and Gioula Koutsopanagou. 4 vols. Athēna: Institouto Neoellēnikōn Ereunōn / Ethniko Hidryma Ereunōn, 2008. ill. 30 cm. (Kentro Neoellēnikōn Ereunōn, 103). ISBN 978-960-7916-52-5 (set): EUR 160 (Vasileōs Kōnstantinou 48, 116 35 Athēna, fax [30] 210 72 46 212, [30] 210 72 73 554)

An RREA Original Review by George I. Paganelis (California State University, Sacramento)

The lengthy editorial project of the Institouto Neoellēnikōn Ereunōn [Institute for Neohellenic Research] within the Ethniko Hidryma Ereunōn [National Hellenic Research Foundation], which began in 1995 and came to fruition in this landmark publication, has filled a long-standing lacuna in the ample and growing bibliographical record on the Greek press in Greece, Cyprus, and throughout the diaspora.

Modeled on Dennis Griffiths’s Encyclopedia of the British Press, 1422-1922 (New York, 1992), this comprehensive encyclopedia is a pioneering work that spans the first two centuries of the Greek press. Coverage begins with the first Greek newspaper (of which no extant copies survive), published in Vienna in 1784 by Geōrgios Ventotēs—part of the nascent Greek press that emerged outside Greece decades before the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence, due in part to the influence of Greek intellectuals abroad— and extends to the end of the junta period in 1974 and the ensuing transformation of media production and publishing in Greece.

The history of the Greek press and, to a lesser extent, the Greek Cypriot press, has been well documented in Greek sources, with precious little in other languages. Georgia Eglezou’s The Greek Media in World War I and Its Aftermath: The Athenian Press and the Asia Minor Crisis (London; New York, 2009) is a notable example of a recent monograph published in English. Scholarly monographs and journals on not only the mainstream Greek press as a whole but also the presses of ethnic and political minorities, microhistories of individual publications, and a variety of reference bibliographies and directories of Greek newspapers and periodicals all dot the bibliographical landscape on the subject. This encyclopedia, however, represents the first reference work of its kind to synthesize the representative figures (journalists, publishers, illustrators, et al.) and publications (newspapers and periodicals) of the presses in Greece, Cyprus, and other countries with significant Greek-speaking populations into an informative, well-documented resource, one that admirably fulfills its purpose. For a broad overview of the current scholarly issues and research methodologies on the Greek press that informed the work of the Enkyklopaideia, readers are directed to the proceedings of a conference organized by the same editorial project and also edited by Loukia Droulia, Ho Hellēnikos typos 1784 hōs sēmera: historikes kai theōrētikes prosengiseis: praktika diethnous synedriou, Athēna, 23-25 Maΐou 2002 [The Greek Press, 1784 to Today: Historical and Theoretical Approaches. Proceedings of an International Conference, Athens, May 23-25, 2002] (Athēna, 2005).

A series of six essays by various contributors comprises the extensive introduction to the encyclopedia, which chronicles the major phases in the history of the Greek press between 1784 and 1974, including a separate treatment of the diaspora press (not limited to the terminal date of the main body of the work) and an epilogue on the period since 1974. Even for a small country like Greece, an exhaustive treatment of all persons and publications would have been impossible; still, the Enkyklopaideia profiles individuals not listed in other biographical sources as well as a host of ephemeral or obscure publications. The criteria for the selection of publications (and, correspondingly, of individuals connected with them) include one or more of the following: political or cultural significance; long duration; size of circulation; geographical reach; groundbreaking nature of the work. Smaller publications of more local import also appear for an overall balance in geographical representation.

The Enkyklopaideia contains over 2,300 signed entries ranging in length from half a column to about five columns (2.5 pages), complete with cross-references to other main entries, select bibliographies, and, for certain publications, basic notes on holding institutions. Though the scope of the work is clearly limited to individuals and publications, the inclusion of some well-chosen thematic entries (e.g., censorship, advertising, women in the press) would have enhanced the publication even further. An assortment of portraits of selected individuals and front pages or covers of publications profiled adds visual interest to the entries. Several appendices provide historical details about various press-related trade unions and other professional bodies, excerpts from important laws pertaining to the press dating between 1833 and 1969, a useful bibliographical essay for further research, an index of places of publication showing the wide diffusion of Greek-language print media, and a concluding photographic montage drawn from various archival sources.

This encyclopedia is both timely and enormously useful as a reference tool to support research on the Greek press and a host of other areas, particularly in light of the increased access to Greek newspapers and periodicals made possible by the ongoing microfilming and more recent digitization efforts of the Hellenic Parliament, as well as related digital collections emerging in Greece and searchable through such interfaces as the metasearch engine at http://openarchives.gr. Despite the minor criticism regarding thematic entries, Enkyklopaideia tou Hellēnikou typou 1784-1974 is a comprehensive publication that should be considered essential for Modern Greek and Balkan studies collections, as well as recommended for institutions with holdings in the fields of journalism and communications.

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Last update: April 2011 [LC]
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