Andreas Embirikos - the 8-volume erotic novel of Andreas Embirikos. It is the longest text of the modern Greek Literature. 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 they discover a new form of happiness and innocence.


Andreas Embirikos, Megas Anatolikos (The Great Eastern).

This is to inaugurate a new category of this blog. It will be an idiosyncratic overview of works not translated into any language that I can read or not translated at all, but which, judging by the secondary sources,  seem to me not only tantalisingly interesting reading matter but an important contribution to world literature.
I would like to begin with Andreas Embirikos, the famous Greek surrealist poet, and his epic novel Megas Anatolikos (The Great Eastern). Embirikos worked on this meganovel for more than two decades, and it was published only after his death in 8 volumes. The novel has 100 chapters and clocks in at more than 2000 pages. The main characters of the work are the passengers of the ocean liner the Great Eastern travelling from Liverpool to New York in May, 1867. The action takes place within 10 days, but despite this, it is not so much Boccaccio’s Decameron this notorious book has been compared with, but rather Donatien Alphonse François’s The 120 Days of Sodom. The novel is said to contain lots of extremely explicit scenes, and this  translation of the more innocuous passages might give you the idea. Follow this link with caution: definitely not-safe-for-work type of content! One can imagine something like a voyage of the ship Anubis from Gravity’s Rainbow described in minute detail over a couple thousand pages. In the open ocean, far from the shore and unaffected by any social constraints and taboos, the passengers of the ship indulge in all possible hedonistic pursuits many of which might be mildly called perversions. Besides the Marquis de Sade, the volume is also an obvious homage to Jules Verne’s nowadays obscure A Floating City. It is  a sea adventure novel  set on board of the Great Eastern in which a woman  travelling with her husband realizes that the man she is in love with is among the passengers. Jules Verne got his inspiration by actually taking a transatlantic trip to the United States on this ship with his brother in 1867.
Great Eastern at Heart's Content, 1866
Great Eastern at Heart’s Content, 1866
The publication of the novel made quite a splash in Greece, dividing the reading public into belligerent opponents and ardent supporters of Embirikos’ magnum opus. It is worth noting that among the champions of the novel  was the Nobel Prize laureate Odysseas Elytis who admired its visionary quality. According to him, in contrast to the Marquis de Sade who used sexual subject matter to depict hell on earth, Embirikos employed the same material to create paradise. Thus the liner comes to represent some kind of sexual utopia and universal celebration of eros flying in the face of the strait-laced Victorian society.
You can find some additional information on Embirikos’ works on the website of the poet’s Greek publisher Agra. As far as I know, there isn’t a separate volume of Embirikos’ poems available in English translation yet, and in order to at least have some idea of what it is about you might have to check this anthology of Greek surrealist poetry or the mammoth A Century of Greek Poetry 1900-2000. There is no any information even about some plans to translate The Great Eastern into any language. All we have to content ourselves with for the time being is his poetry.
Whale Light
The initial form woman took was the braided throats of two dinosaurs.
Later, time changed and woman changed too.
She became smaller, more lithe, more in keeping with the two-masted (in some countries three-masted)
ships that float on the misfortune of making a living.
She herself floats on the scales of a cylinder-bearing dove of immense weight.
Epochs change and the woman of our epoch resembles the gap in a filament.
© Translation: 2004, Karen van Dyck

The Great Eastern, (Megas Anatolikos) is the 8-volume erotic novel of Andreas Embirikos. It is the longest text of the modern Greek Literature. The poet dedicated many years of work to this particularly novel. In this work, Embirikos narrates the first trip of the ocean liner Great Eastern (Μέγας Ανατολικός) 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 they discover a new form of happiness and innocence. You can be sure that parts of the erotic descriptions are in many western countries inconceivable, unacceptable and cause of the pederasty scenes, criminal and accusable. Only some little parts of the novel are written from Andreas Empirikos in English and in France. The part below is harmless.
You can find some more information from the publisher Agra and in wikipedia

Here is a probe from volume 6, part I, chapter 6
Muriel S . . . is about 23 or 24 years old. She has not only a lovely face, but a beautiful body also, with lovely large breasts and a beautiful curly red-haired cunt. As I said, she masturbated many times daily. She would often do it immediately after the departure of her husband. On the occasions she would come to her bedroom, expressly to onanize, and would leave the room again after a short rest, or she would rub herself in the morning before dressing as others have their breakfast, an orangeade or a cup of tea, while shopping, between two visits to the stores . .

 Here are some of the pretty scenes I witnessed:
[…] She would let alone her big breasts and would rub her cunt, first between the tender inner lips (when in a hurry she didn’t do this but rubbed her clitoris straight away) and only after this pistillike part of her cunt throbbed away desperately for a time, would she transfer her major finger to it from her now gaping cunt-lips, and would not stop the delicately violent frigging, the pretty little blind cock-like cylinder pulsating wildly and the wide-open cunt twitching in sweet agony, till she would bring about the emission of her love-juice, in all its creamy abundance, with the spunk gushing forth from the crimson cunt-hole in large pearly drops, while she frantically jerked all through the discharge, gasping with heavenly bliss, and trying to smother the cries of delight that came to her mouth till she poured out the whole dose of her sweet female sperm, and, after that, became very gradually, ecstatically motionless.
That is, dear readers, a good example of a female masturbation, practised by a married young woman, not withstanding the fact she was regularly and very well fucked by a very good husband. I must add that this sweet act, which is considered a vice when practiced by ladies or girls who have lovers or husbands, according to me, is no vice at all, but a normal act not only when practiced by children and teenagers, but also when indulged-in by adults, and must be considered as one of the many means of getting sexual satisfaction, a means inferior to fucking and cock or cunt sucking, yet a very pleasurable and honourable way on relieving one’s self, when a partner cannot be found at once. -

In March 1935, eleven years after the publication of the first manifesto of surrealism by Andre Breton, two hundred copies of a collection of sixty-three prose poems entitled Blast-Furnace were circulated in Athens. The collection was signed by one Andreas Embiricos (1901-1975), the offspring of a well-known shipping family, with no work published before then. Born in Braila, Romania, to a Greek father and a Russian mother, Embiricos studied economics in Switzerland, literature and philosophy in London and psychoanalysis in Paris. In 1929 he entered the circle of French surrealists, was initiated into the technique of automatic writing and made the acquaintance of Breton in person. Two months before Blast-Furnace appeared, he gave a lecture on the subject of surrealism to "a grim middle-class audience who listened in obvious annoyance", as an on-the-spot witness named Odysseus Elytis (Nobel Prize 1979) noted.
Blast-Furnace holds a unique place in modern Greek poetry. No poet prior to Blast-Furnace - in spite of indications that surrealism was known in Greece before 1935 - and no poet since, has put together a book so heretical, so cryptic and so 'difficult' - one which nevertheless sold out in no time, 'not because it was of interest, but because it was considered so scandalous, written by someone deranged', as the poet himself reminisces. Without punctuation, in a language mainly scholarly and precocious - something which the proponents of demotic Greek found particularly
annoying - with interminable phrases, perfectly constructed but without any apparent logical coherence, yet with the typically Greek fifteen-syllable meter clearly
discernible, Blast-Furnace seems to have met the requirements of free association and the resultant automatic writing. It would be difficult however plausibly to maintain that these poems had an 'automatic' or 'chance' origin or that no work was done on them, in spite of the fact that Embiricos himself stated that his poems do not always develop 'within the limits of consciousness'. Every poem, he says, is a 'poem-event', dynamic and self-contained, and its elements remain 'free of any compromised or standardised aesthetic, moral or logical construction'. The recipe was never to be repeated, in spite of the fact that the experiment succeeded in bringing to the forefront the most authentic Greek surrealist writing.
Embiricos' next collection, Inner Land (1945), as well as a short volume of prose, Writings or Personal Mythology (1960), contain texts bathed in surrealist light, but with coherence and logical consistency. It is now quite clear that what was mainly of interest to Embiricos was to keep alive the subversive and emancipating strain of the European surrealist movement and to promulgate the vision of a world free of every type of oppression, a world 'without borders and without limits'. Political, social and particularly sexual liberation were Embiricos' main concern, so much so that he emerged as the Greek poet and visionary par excellence of a world system of politics and co-existence. His city, Oktana, described in the collection bearing the same name, "will be the capital of the New World, in the heart of mankind's future", a universal city, filled with poetry, love, pleasure, justice and freedom. The eight-volume novel The Great Eastern (1990-1), is the most extensive and the most daring modern Greek text, where all of Embiricos' fantasies, doctrines and visions are
developed in an epic tone.
(Y. Yatromanolakis, from the volume Greece-Books and Writers, National Book Centre of Greece, 2001). -