Mario Vitti, leading Greek literature historian passed away aged 96

Mario Vitti

The leading Hellenic Studies historian and translator Mario Vitti has died in the Italian capital of Rome at the age of 96.

Of Greek and Italian descent, Vitti was born in Istanbul and was best known for his seminal book, 'History of Modern Greek Literature', translated into many languages, as well as his translations of Greek poets.

Vitti was acclaimed for introducing the Italian public to modern Greek literature through his work translations, and noted for his critical approach to Greek authors, particularly those belonging to the soc-called '30s Generation - George Seferis, Odysseas Elytis, Angelos Terzakis, Kosmas Politis, and Andreas Embiricos, among others.

He also supported newly appearing authors and poets, and translated among others Nobel laureates Seferis and Elytis, who were close friends.

His work, particularly his ability to convey the deeper meaning of Greek poetry, was recognized by Greek and foreign universities. Vitti had taught modern Greek at the central Italian University of Tuscia in Viterbo for many years, while recently the University of Rome's Chair of Modern Greek Studies had dedicated to him its Observatory of the Greek Language Laboratory.

A mild-mannered and modest man, he also provided generous help to several younger colleagues. In his free time, he enjoyed photographing Greek authors and his photographs were repeatedly shown at universities during literature conferences.

Condolences in Greece were expressed among others by Culture & Sports Minister Lina Mendoni, who called him "the top researcher of modern Greek literature," and listed some of his discoveries of modern Greek texts, and Deputy Culture Minsiter Nicolas Giatromanolakis.

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