Author(s): Paul Genoni; Tanya Dalziell
Half the Perfect World is a social and literary account of the expatriate artist community on the Greek island of Hydra from 1955 to 1964, and is richly illustrated by LIFE Magazine eye-witness photographer James Burke. Fostered by celebrated Australian literary couple Charmian Clift and George Johnston, this fabled 'colony' came to include renowned singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and numerous other writers and artists, including many whose youthful ambitions were never realised. What brought this group to Hydra? What life did they live there? And what does their story reveal about the post-war world? Looking at the Hydra expatriates through their writing, letters, diaries and photographs, Genoni and Dalziell identify a deep restlessness within a rapidly changing time of emerging social movements and counter-cultures, travel, tourism and leisure, shifting geo-political realities, incipient pop-cultures, new technologies of communication and entertainment, and altered understandings of what it meant to live as an expatriate artist.