Andreas Kalvos (Greek: Ἀνδρέας Κάλβος; 1792 - November 3, 1869) was a contemporary of Dionysios Solomos and one of the greatest Greek writers of the 19th century. Paradoxically enough, no known portrait of his survives today.
Andreas Kalvos was born in 1792 in Zakynthos, Venetian Republic (modern-day Greece) to an upper-class mother (Andriani Roukani) and a middle-class adventurer father (Ioannis Kalvos). In 1802 his father took the two children, Andreas and younger Nikolaos, but not his wife, to Livorno (Leghorn), to provide to his son Andreas possibilities for better education. There, Andreas first read Greek literature and Greek and Latin antiquity.
In Livorno he wrote his first work, Hymn to Napoleon; an antiwar poem, that he later repudiated (this is how we know of its existence, as the poem itself was not saved). Around the same time he lived for a few months in Pisa, where he worked as a secretary; and then moved to Florence, the centre of intellectual and artistic life of the time. His father died in 1812, and Kalvos's finances were deeply strained. However, during that year he also met Ugo Foscolo, the most honoured Italian poet and scholar of the era. Foscolo accepted him as his copyist, and put him to teaching a protégé of Foscolo's. Foscolo himself would teach Kalvos neoclassicism, archaizing ideals, and political liberalism. In 1813 Kalvos wrote three tragedies in Italian: Theramenes, Danaides and Hippias. He also completed four dramatic monologues, in the neoclassical style. In the end of 1813, Foscolo self-exiled himself at Zurich. Kalvos met him again there on 1816, when he also learned about the death of his mother, a thing that saddened him deeply as seen in his Ode to Death. Meanwhile he was composing, from 1814, the Ode to the Ionians.
By the end of 1816 the two poets travelled together to England and their interaction continued up to February 1817, when the irritable and bitter character of both dissolved their friendship. Kalvos earned a living by giving Italian language lessons and paid translations of religious books, both Italitan and Greek. In 1818–1819 he gave lectures on the correct pronunciation of ancient Greek. He composed and published a modern Greek grammar, an Italian learning method in 4 volumes and dealt with the syntax of an English-Greek dictionary.
In May 1819 he married Theresa Thomas who died one year later. His simultaneous love affair with his student Susan Ridout was a failure, as well. During that time it is speculated that he attempted to commit suicide. He left England at the beginning of 1820.
On September 1820, while returning to Florence, he stopped a short while in Paris. He became involved in the movement of the Carbonari and he is arrested and expelled on April 23, 1821. He retreated to Geneva, finding support in the philhellene circle of the city. He worked again as a teacher of foreign languages, while publishing of a manuscript of the Iliad, that however was not successful. Carried away in the enthusiasm of the outbreak of the Greek revolution he published, in 1824, the first part of his Greek poems, The Lyre, a collection of ten odes. Almost immediately, the odes were translated into French and found a most favourable reception. In the beginning of 1825, Kalvos returned to Paris where one year later he published ten more odes, Lyrics, with financial aid of philhellenes.
In the end of July 1826 he travelled to Nauplion. He was disappointed however by the prevailing national disputes and by the indifference of the people towards him and his work. Then in August of the same year, he went to Corfu, where he taught in the Ionian Academy (Ionios Akademia); as a private tutor until he was appointed to the Academy in 1836 . He was director of the Corfiot Gymnasium (Kerkyraiko Gymnasio), during 1841, but resigned by the end of the year; he also contributed to the local newspapers.
For many years, both Kalvos and Dionysios Solomos both lived on Corfu, but the two do not appear to have known each other. This is probably due to his wayward character. The fact he wasn't recognized in his homeland is perhaps also owed to that.
In the end of 1852 Kalvos left Corfu and relocated himself in Louth, Lincolnshire, England, where he married Charlotte Wadans a year after his arrival. Kalvos died on November 3, 1869.
Lyre -- Odes of Andreas Kalvos (Λύρα -- ᾨδαὶ Ἀνδρέα Κάλβου) 1824 (text at Greek Wikisource)
Lyrics (Λυρικά), 1826
The Seasons (Le Stagioni -- Giovanni Meli)
Italian Lessons in Four Parts, 1820
Ode to the Ionians (ᾨδὴ είς Ἰονίους), 1814
Plan of the New Principles of Letters (Σχέδιο Νέων Ἀρχῶν τῶν Γραμμάτων)
Apology for Suicide (Ἀπολογία τῆς Αὐτοκτονίας)
Introduction to the Differential Calculus (Έρευνα περὶ τῆς Φύσεως τοῦ Διαφορικοῦ Ὑπολογισμοῦ), 1827
Graces, parts, Foscolo (Χάριτες, ἀποσπάσματα, Φώσκολος), 1846
Hymn to Napoleon (Ὕμνος πρὸς τὸν Ναπολέοντα), 1813-1815
Book of Public Prayers (Βιβλίον τῶν Δημοσίων Προσευχῶν), 1820
Grammar of the Modern Greek Language (Γραμματικὴ τῆς Νέας Ἑλληνικῆς Γλώσσης), 1822
Liturgia Anglicana Polyglotta (translations), 1821-1826
Theological Criticism (Ἐπίκρισις Θεολογική), 1849
Website for Andreas Kalvos (in Greek with English division)
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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