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C.P. Cavafy (1863 - 1933)

Books by this author: The Barbarians Arrive Today
  • About
  • Reviews
  • C.P. Cavafy was born in Alexandria, Egypt, where his Greek parents had settled in the mid-1850s. Cavafy spent his adolescence in England, but returned to Alexandria where he worked as a newspaper correspondent and later as a clerk at the Ministry of Public Works, where he worked for thirty years. Cavafy was an obscure poet in his lifetime, but he found fame posthumously, receiving acclaim from many writers including Auden, Forster, and Seferis. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest Greek-language poets of the 20th century.
    Praise for C.P. Cavafy (1863 - 1933) 'Evan Jones merits the rewards of modesty; not improving what needs no improvement, nor trumping the ace with jokers of his own, lean and keen he ghosts cleverly along, oddly angular Poet of the City on his arm.'

    Frederic Raphael
    'Do we need another Cavafy, the most translated of modern Greek poets? Surprisingly, Evan Jones shows us that the answer is a resounding "yes." Cavafy famously left behind a body of 154 "canonical poems," a number corresponding conveniently with the number of Shakespeare's sonnets. But he also left us with 37 "repudiated" poems, some of which were composed in the synthetic literary "katherevousa" register of Greek, 75 "hidden" poems, and 30 "unfinished" or "imperfect" poems. Cavafy also wrote prose about some of the same subject matter, and that explored his ideas about poetry. Jones does not attempt to give us a complete overview of Cavafy's work, but by putting poems in thematic categories, and allowing "hidden" poems to brush up against "canonical" ones (one could note that the manuscript of "The Horses of Achilles" and of the much less well known "Priam's Night March" are written on two sides of the same piece of paper) we see them in a new, revealing light. Jones is sensitive not only to the sense, but the sound of the Greek, rhyming where the original does, and his afterword, while wearing its considerable scholarship lightly, reorients Cavafy's oeuvre for the reader. It is a great pleasure - one of the most important Cavafyian words - to have these poems and prose writings in one volume.'

    A.E. Stallings
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