Rising to Fame: C.P. Cavafy’s Journey to Worldwide Recognition

Foteini Dimirouli

MHRA Working Papers in the Humanities (2013), pp. 30-41, doi:10.59860/wph.a3860c8

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CC BY 4.0
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A contribution to: Fame and Glory

Edited by Jessica Goodman and Elizabeth Benjamin

MHRA Working Papers in the Humanities 8

Modern Humanities Research Association


Abstract.  In 2008, the Oxford World’s Classics series published a collected edition of C.P. Cavafy’s poems. This publishing event represents Cavafy’s privileged status within the contemporary canon but masks the long and contested history of his rise to worldwide recognition. Cavafy was first known as a literary curiosity of the Greek diaspora who aspired to national significance from the margins of Alexandria, but only secured a central place in mainstream Greek literary life after many years of fluctuating cultural reception. In parallel, Cavafy’s readership slowly expanded across Europe and the rest of the globe, culminating in his establishment at the end of the century as the most well-known and celebrated writer of Greek origin worldwide. This article explores some key moments in those two rising trajectories, by focusing on a number of examples from the Anglophone world, while also considering the poet’s place in the Greek context.

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