By Consantine P. Cavafy
Constantine Cavafy is taken into account the best of contemporary Greek poets. His poems deal with old, philosophical, and erotic subject matters, occasionally altogether, and proportion a special “voice.” This quantity features a clean translation via famous classical pupil Alan Boegehold, a translation that captures the fashion in addition to the that means of the Greek, and a foreword discussing Cavafy’s precise values.
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Additional resources for Cavafy: 166 Poems: Translated with an Introduction by Alan L. Boegehold
Certainly, Larkin had read the novel by January 1956, when he commented to Charles Monteith that ‘It is quite extraordinary, I agree…. I don’t find it convincing. ’16 The letter is another instance of Larkin’s sensitivity to a realism which is largely faking it, and Golding’s novel is evoked here, perhaps, to suggest that most people’s generalised visions of the social life are acquired second hand, from fiction. This may be the point of the other literary allusion in ‘Nothing To Be Said’, to Katherine Mansfield’s short story ‘The Garden Party’ (1922), though about its author Larkin was, in his fashion, more positive in several letters, beginning with one to Jim Sutton in June 1941: Katherine Mansfield is a cunt, but I share a hell of a lot of common characteristics with her….
69–70). Most of these instances, in different ways, suggest an element of play-acting and pretence, of making it up, in even the simplest modalities of being. ‘The Old Fools’ (pp. 196–97) links ‘being old’ to living in some sup posedly remembered but probably imaginary elsewhere: ‘That is where they live: / Not here and now, but where all happened once’. Selfhood here is displaced, in the present, from the present, to an imagined past present, when everything (it seems now) was all right. But we know that, in that past, the present would have been equally unsatisfactory, and the self would be forever aspiring after a future where fulfilment would certainly be found.
Larkin here sounds like that founding father of postmodernism John Barth, who argued, in ‘The Literature of Exhaustion’ (1967),7 that now that all the stories had been told, all that remained was to repeat them in ironic quotation marks, self-consciously rerunning them as joke, pastiche, sophisticated parody. Except that Larkin is deeper into exhaustion: ‘Don’t read much now’, says the jaundiced poetic persona of that professional reader and custodian of books who, the same year, could reflect on Auden’s particular failure to thrill his readers as he used to.
Cavafy: 166 Poems: Translated with an Introduction by Alan L. Boegehold by Consantine P. Cavafy