Zissimos Lorenzatos

Aegean Notebooks

Reflections by Sea and Land
in the Archipelago

Translated by Liadain Sherrard

Zissimos Lorenzatos (1915–2004), essayist, thinker and poet, was arguably Greece's most significant man of letters in the twentieth century. In the Aegean Notebooks, a record of his observations and reflections while sailing among the Greek islands in the 1970s and 1980s, the special quality of his literary and philosophical gifts, and of the man himself, are vividly present.

Along with everything a mariner yearns to bring ashore, all he has felt and experienced at sea with the wake of the boat unfurling behind him, Lorenzatos brings us in addition a lifetime's learning and contemplation. For him, life, and the living of it, was of the essence. As he observes in his foreword to these notebooks: '. . . life itself writes nothing, it erases everything that is written about it, and simply, irreplaceably lives, like the inaccessible "well of water springing up".'

‘Zissimos Lorenzatos was the wisest Greek critic of his generation, and he left us a legacy of elegant thinking that extended beyond literature to the broader issues at the center of the human heart.’ Edmund Keeley, Charles Barnwell Straut Professor of English Emeritus, Princeton University.

‘The breadth and depth of Lorenzatos's knowledge is humbling.’ Elizabeth Jeffreys, Bywater and Sotherby Professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek Language and Literature Emerita, University of Oxford.

‘Lorenzatos writes about things that matter in a way that matters.’ David Ricks, Professor of Modern Greek and Comparative Literature, King's College London.


  • 138 pages, 19.3 x 12.0 cm, with a fold-out map of the Aegean, Denise Harvey , 2013
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