Xenophon – historian, soldier and politician – becomes the hero of a turbulent transitional era in The Novel of Xenophon, by Takis Theodoropoulos. The setting is classical Athens, Socrates’ circle and the dominating figure of Plato. It is a time when the end of the Peloponnesian War, the defeat of Athens, oligarchs and democrats in conflict, the role of Sicily and the Persians all mark the beginnings of a decline that will eventually put an end to the glory that was Greece.
The era does not embrace Xenophon nor give him any opportunity to play the leading role he seeks.
While tracing his hero’s life, Theodoropoulos constantly reminds us that his story is entirely fabricated, never asking us to believe that we are being transported to the time of the events described.
Neither Socrates nor Plato or even Xenophon himself escapes the narrator’s ironic tone, which, however, never descends to flippancy or self-indulgence.
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