The Complete Poems of C.P. Cavafy

ISBN 13: 9780007523368

The Complete Poems of C.P. Cavafy

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9780007523368: The Complete Poems of C.P. Cavafy

The complete Cavafy poems – including the unfinished works – in a stunning new translation, published in the UK on the 150th anniversary of his birth and 80th anniversary of his death .

No modern poet brought so vividly to life the history and culture of Mediterranean antiquity; no writer dared break, with such taut energy, the early twentieth-century taboos surrounding homoerotic desire; no poet before or since has so gracefully melded elegy and irony as the Alexandrian Greek poet Constantine Cavafy (1863–1933). Whether advising Odysseus as he returns home to Ithaca or portraying a doomed Marc Antony on the eve of his death, Cavafy’s poetry makes the historical personal – and vice versa. He brings to his profound exploration of longing and loneliness, fate and loss, memory and identity the historian’s assessing eye as well as the poet’s compassionate heart.

After more than a decade of work, Daniel Mendelsohn – an acclaimed, award-winning author and classicist who alone among Cavafy’s translators shares the poet’s deep intimacy with the ancient world – is uniquely positioned to give readers full access to Cavafy’s genius. This volume includes the first-ever English translation of thirty unfinished poems that Cavafy left in drafts when he died – a remarkable, hitherto unknown discovery that remained in the Cavafy Archive in Athens for decades. With Mendelsohn’s in-depth introduction and commentary situating each work in a rich historical, literary, and biographical context, this revelatory new translation is a literary event – the definitive presentation of Cavafy in English.

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Review:

‘Magisterial … his translations are plain, but his scholarship is exemplary … A brilliant scholar, a discerning critic and a generous person, Mendelsohn brings Cavafy alive’ Times

‘This beautifully produced book is as complete an edition as one can expect. Mendelsohn’s scholarship is formidable. He produces mini-biographies of the emperors, mystics and martyrs who populate the ancient civilisation Cavafy captures with such beguiling immediacy. No previous editor or translator has been so thorough’ Guardian

‘No-one seeking the fullest possible picture of the poet need go further than Daniel Mendelsohn's exhaustive edition of his work … With this edition of Cavafy, you come for the poems, and stay for the notes. Mendelsohn’s scholarship and sensitivity manage to persuade us that the poet’s love of history can combine with this more immediate nostalgia, so that in the best poems it’s impossible to separate the cerebral from the sensual.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Daniel Mendelsohn has translated all of Cavafy’s poems, including the thirty ‘unfinished’ poems never before rendered in English. The results are extraordinary, and a whole galaxy orbits them’ New Yorker

‘Thrilling . . . The explanatory essays [Mendelsohn] has attached to almost every poem can contain every bit as much passion and humanity as the poet’s own work. Mendelsohn is such a felicitous interpreter of Cavafy because the poet himself was a kind of scholar’ Harper’s Magazine

‘A tremendous gift to the literary world’ Newsday

‘This not only brings us closer to one of the great poets of the 20th century; it also reinvigorates our relationship to the English language … It is an event on the page. Mendelsohn’s Cavafy is itself a work of art’ New York Times Book Review

About the Author:

Daniel Mendelsohn’s reviews and essays on literary and cultural subjects appear regularly in numerous publications, including The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. His previous books include the memoir The Elusive Embrace, a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, and the international best seller The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Prix Médicis, and many other honours. Mr. Mendelsohn is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Book Critics Circle Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, and the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. He teaches at Bard College.

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