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Aspasia Vasilaki

Alexandra Papadopoulou’s peregrinations as a means of disseminating ideas


In the 19th century, the teaching profession offers women in Greece and Ottoman Empire the opportunity to move away from their place of residence, leaving behind the father house of confinement as well as of security, thus generating independence, which is quite remarkable for the era (Ziogou-Karastergiou, 2006: 227-8). Alexandra Papadopoulou’s peregrinations constitute a characteristic example of this.

Alexandra Papadopoulou was born in 1867 in Constantinople. She was a student of the “Pallas” Girls Boarding School, from which she graduated with an honours degree as a teacher. As she loses her father at a young age she has to work as a teacher with a view to supporting herself and her family (Papakostas, 1980).

Due to her work, Papadopoulou moves in the urban environment of Constantinople. In the linguistic matter of the time which is in its dynamic phase as a movement then (Stavridi-Patrikiou, 1999: 26-31), she stands for colloquial language, Demoticism, and its use in literature and education. Because of her attitude she experiences a cruel personal war, which results in her being forbidden to practice her profession as a teacher in the “official and charitable Educational Institutions” of Constantinople (Fotiadis, 1902: 8-9). This is how a journey of ideas, independence and loneliness starts.

Papadopoulou’s peregrinations in Sylivria (Eastern Thrace), Bucharest, Constantinople and Thessaloniki, have been said to “link the Hellenism of Constantinople with that of Wallachia and Macedonia” (Ziogou-Karastergiou, 2006: 225). Yet, is this really so?

The aim of this research is to study Alexandra Papadopoulou’s moves, not as steps on a professional career route, but as a way of disseminating ideas which interweave the era with her personality and vice versa. The economic, national, political and liberating reasons behind these peregrinations create a kind of discourse which is often controversial and conflicting. This discourse is trying to balance between the modern ideas of the West and the strong traditions of the occupied Hellenism.

AsK, September 2012

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