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Petropoulos was born in Athens on 26 June , but spent his early years in Thessaloniki , where his father, a junior civil servant, was transferred when Elias was six. They lived in an Ottoman house that his father transformed by eliminating the more typical Turkish elements. As he later remembered, Thessaloniki was the center of Greek left-wing thought, and as a young man Petropoulos acquired there the leftist political ideas he will keep throughout his life. Although he did not finish high school, he was able to pass the examination and be admitted in the faculty of Law of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki , which he left just before graduation.
He befriended since he was a teenager the songwriter Vassilis Tsitsanis , who led him to a lifelong interest for the popular Greek musical form rebetiko , of which he became the leading historian. In the following ten years, he embarked in a thorough and systematic exploration of Greek marginal subcultures. He befriended homosexuals, prostitutes, rebetiko musicians, hashish smokers, petty thieves, and others who populated the margins of Greek society.
He studied their culture, language and customs, and wrote about them. The publishing of this controversial material that is often irreverent towards the establishment and defies attempts at censorship, earned Petropoulos three different jail sentences during the dictatorship of the colonels.
In , the continuous persecution that outlasted the dictatorship forced him to self-exile in Paris , where he continued writing and publishing ethnographic works. The book was banned in Greece, causing international protests. On September 3, , he died of cancer in Paris at the age of The documentary contains the last interview given by Petropoulos and an overview of his life and work. Petropoulos was the author of a large number of books, most of which have not been translated into English and many of which are out of print.
He also published poetry, both original and in translation. The following select bibliography attempts to list all of his books in English or French, and the major works in Greek.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Elias Petropoulos. The Guardian. Retrieved March 16, Retrieved March 15, Le Monde. Categories : births deaths People from Thessaloniki Greek anarchists Greek atheists Greek musicologists Greek male poets Greek writers Rebetiko 20th-century Greek poets 20th-century Greek male writers 20th-century musicologists Greek People's Liberation Army personnel Democratic Army of Greece personnel Greek communists.
Essentially an anarchist, Petropoulos preferred to remain outside the establishment, the better to launch his occasional attacks on politicians, the police, the church, academics and others he deemed hypocritical or malicious. As well as producing art and literary criticism, poetry and collages, he wrote by hand, designing his own layouts and frequently illustrating his work with his own delightfully crafted drawings. Other books were illustrated by well-known artists. His writing ranged from verbal acrobatics of high style to poems of unpolished simplicity. Petropoulos grew up in Salonika during the German occupation - his father, a volunteer, was killed when he was 16 - and the Greek civil war, and studied law at Salonika University. From this background, he emerged with a sharp eye for the shadow side of human nature, an enduring sympathy for the underdog and outsider, a profound streak of melancholy and a mischievous sense of humour. Several stretches in prison for defying the authorities provided him with further opportunities for research, fuelling such provocative titles as The Good Thief's Guide, On Prison and Holy Hashish.
Elias Petropoulos - An Underground World