Original Research

‘In the manner of Cavafy’: The example of the poet from Alexandria

Phil van Schalkwyk
Literator | Vol 35, No 2 | a1147 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v35i2.1147 | © 2014 Phil van Schalkwyk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 August 2014 | Published: 15 December 2014


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Abstract

The Greek poet C.P. Cavafy (1863–1933) is held in high esteem around the world by readers and authors alike. He had influenced not only some of the greatest authors of the twentieth century, but due to the fact that his work lends itself particularly well to translation, he is also a relatively strong presence in literatures other than Greek and English. For many – most notably gay readers, authors and artists – Cavafy holds an exemplary status both in terms of literature and life. W.H. Auden has argued that, what ultimately distinguishes Cavafy, is his tone of voice which reveals a person with a unique perspective on the world. Within the context of a research project on idiolectic author identity, this contribution attempts to review the distinguishing features of Cavafy’s work in terms of both form and content. This is done within the framework of the broad critical discourse on Cavafy, and with reference to some manifestations or examples of a Dutch and Afrikaans critical and creative perspective on his poetry, with the aim to shed specific light on the special kind of wisdom communicated in Cavafy’s work.

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