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Andreas Empeirikos or Andreas Embirikos (Greek: Ανδρέας Εμπειρίκος) (Brăila, 2 September 1901 – Athens, 3 August 1975) was a Greek surrealist poet and the first Greek psychoanalyst.


Embirikos came from a wealthy family as his father was an important ship-owner. He was born in Brăila, Romania, but his family soon moved to Ermoupolis in Syros. When Embirikos was only seven years old they moved to Athens. While he was still a teenager his parents divorced; he started studying at the Faculty of Philosophy of the National and Capodistrian University of Athens, but he decided to move to Lausanne to stay with his mother.

The following years Embirikos studied a variety of subjects both in France and in the United Kingdom where he studies at King's College London; however it was in Paris where he decided to study psychanalysis together with René Laforgue.


1929 Meets with the surrealists and is interested in automatic writing.
1931 Returns to Greece and works for some time at the shipdocks.
1934 Develops an intermittent companionship to Marguerite Yourcenar.
1940 Gets married with poetess Matsi Hatzilazarou; nevertheless, they divorce four years later. The same year he divorced his wife, he was arrested by the communist organization OPLA[1] and was treated in a humiliating way.
1935 Gives the famous lecture On surrealism (Περί σουρρεαλισμού) in Athens and publishes Blast furnace; a pure surrealist text.
1947 Gets married for the second time with Vivika Zisi. A year later, his father, with whom Embeirikos' relationship was rather normal, dies in Geneva.
1962 Together with Yorgos Theotokas and Odysseas Elytis, he was invited to travel to the USSR by the "Greco-Soviet" Union; the trip inspired him to write the poem ES ES ES ER Rossia.
1975 He dies in Kifissia; his mother preceded him by only two years.


His poetry can be defined by two major tendencies. On the one hand, he was one of the major representatives of surrealism in Greece. His first poetic collection, Ipsikaminos, was a heretic book, characterized by the lack of the punctuation and the peculiarity of the language. As the poet himself admitted it was precisely the originality and extravagance of his work that contributed to his relative commercial success.

On the other hand, together with Yorgos Seferis, Embirikos was the most important representative of the generation of the 1930s. He contributed greatly to the introduction of modernism in Greek letters and he helped change once and for all the poetic atmosphere of Greece.

Megas Anatolikos

Arguably, the most significant and influential work by Embirikos is Megas Anatolikos. The poet dedicated many years of work to this particularly long novel, that consists of more than one hundred chapters. In this work, Embirikos narrates the first trip of the ocean liner Great Eastern (Μέγας Ἀνατολικός) from England to America. Embirikos describes the Great Eastern as a hedonic vessel, where the multitude of the passengers enjoy love without and beyond limits. During the ten-day trip (an allusion to the Decameron) they discover a new form of happiness and innocence. For this work, Odysseas Elytis called Embirikos "a visionary and a prophet".

Literary critic

Embirikos also wrote articles of literary criticism; at least two of them are worth-mentioning. The first is "The hidden necrophilia in the works of Edgar Allan Poe"; the second, "Nikos Engonopoulos or the miracle of Elbassan and Bosphorus".

Selected works

Blast furnace (Ὑψικάμινος), 1935
Hinterland (Ἐνδοχώρα), 1945
Writings or Personal Mythology (Γραπτά ἤ Προσωπική Μυθολογία), 1960
ES ES ES ER Rossia (ΕΣ ΕΣ ΕΣ ΕΡ Ρωσσία), 1962
Argo or Aerostat Flight (Ἄργώ ἤ Πλούς Αεροστάτου), 1964
Oktana (Ὀκτάνα), 1980
Every Generation or Today as Tomorrow and as Yesterday (Αἱ Γενεαί Πᾶσαι ἤ Ἡ Σήμερον ὡς Αὔριον καί ὡς Χθές), 1985
Armala or Introduction to a city (Ἄρμαλα ἤ Εἰσαγωγή σέ μία πόλι), 1985
The Great Eastern (Ό Μέγας Ἀνατολικός), 1990
Zemphyra or The Secret of Pasiphae (Ζεμφύρα ή Το Μυστικόν της Πασιφάης), 1997
Nikos Engonopoulos or the miracle of Elbassan and Bosphorus, 2000
Lecture 1963, 2000
prologue in Marie Bonaparte's book The hidden necrophilia in the work of Edgar Poe, (Η λανθάνουσα νεκροφιλία στο έργο του Έδγαρ Πόε, 2000)
A Case of Obsessive-Compulsive Neurosis with Premature Ejaculations and Other Psychoanalytic Texts (Μια Περίπτωσις Ιδεοψυχαναγκαστικής Νευρώσεως με Πρόωρες Εκσπερματώσεις και Άλλα Ψυχαναλυτικά Κείμενα, 2005)
a translation of Picasso's The four little girls, 1980
Amour, Amour: writings or personal mythology, tr. N. Stangos, A. Ross (1966).


^ O.P.L.A – Organization for the Protection of the People's Fighters. The secret police division of ELAS in charge of executing its real or alleged enemies.


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