Kostas Karyotakis (1896-1927)

When I read about a man’s Angst, I cannot but feel instantly sympathetic. So reading about a man, whose name I had never heard before, whose life I had never imagined, who in short had not lived until now, my heart is his. Kostas Karyotakis writes about alienation, he had no sense of permanence. The night before the morning on which he bought a revolver and shot himself through the heart, he had spend the night trying to kill himself by drowning for ten hours.

His suicide note:
“It is time for me to reveal my tragedy. My greatest faults were unbridled curiosity, a diseased imagination, and my attempts to become acquainted with every emotion without being able to feel most of them. However, I despise the base act that is attributed to me. I experienced but the ideation of its atmosphere, the ultimate bitterness. Nor am I the suitable person for that profession. My entire past will show that much. Every reality to me was repulsive.

I felt the rush brought on by danger. And with glad heart I shall accept the coming danger.

P.S. And, to change the tone: I advise those who can swim never to try to commit suicide in the sea. All night and for ten hours I was battered by the waves. I drank much water but, by and again and without me knowing how, my mouth would surface. Perhaps some time, given the opportunity, I shall write down the impressions of a drowning man.”

To forget the fact that a suicide note is a Post Scriptum to life, he added a PS to it.

Nepenthe (1921), literally meaning ‘no grief’ is a reference to ‘nepenthe pharmakon’ in the fourth book (vv. 220-221) of the Odyssey of Homer, the one who chases away sorrow.

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