C.P. Cavafy: Complete Plus — The Poems of C.P. Cavafy in English
Published 15 February 2013
Translated from Greek by George Economou with Stavros Deligiorgis
Paperback, 228pp. 9x6ins, £12.95 / $20
Download a PDF of the introduction to this volume here.
In the eighth of his Twelve Poems for Cavafy (Dodeka Poiemata yia Kavafy, 1974 ) entitled 'Misunderstandings,' the Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos assures his readers that the older, deceased Alexandrian poet is clearly out to entangle us in his singular complexity. By now, almost four decades later, this complexity, often conveyed through a poetic medium that seems on its surface relatively simple, defines and sustains his preeminent status among poets of the last one hundred and fifty years. Ritsos spoke of the man in order to speak of the poet, as if they are indissolubly bonded, just as we habitually do despite the hard fact of knowing the poet alone survives and succeeds the man. The complexity we share with Cavafy endures in the complexity of his poetry and our engagement with it.
This book contains 162 poems: the 154 canonical Collected Poems, presented by year and within each year's order of composition and/or first printing, plus seven of the Uncollected Poems interspersed chronologically among them. Only one of his rejected, early poems has been included, 'Ode and Elegy of the Street,' used here as a kind of overture to the collection.
"George Economou has offered the 21st century a refreshingly lyrical translation of Cavafy whose renditions into English have veered in many dubious directions. With the acute sensibility of a scholar immersed in the classics yet carefully avoiding any trace of the pedantic, Economou presents translations that are actual poems and not simply the linear re-workings of previous Cavafy translations to which we've become accustomed. He retains the elegant complexity of the original text which he renders into an idiom at once authentic and direct, recapturing the innovative effect Cavafy had on his readership when his poems first appeared. Readers will find Complete Plus a rewarding new window opening into Cavafy's world of eros, memory and art."
—Peter Jeffreys, Suffolk University, author of Eastern Questions: Hellenism and Orientalism in the Writings of E.M. Forster and C.P. Cavafy, editor of The Forster-Cavafy Letters: Friends at a Slight Angle, translator of C.P. Cavafy: Selected Prose Works.
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