Apr 102013

To celebrate the anniversary of 150 years since the birth of Constantine Cavafy on April 28 and a report on the poet in Kalfayan gallery talk with leading kavafistes Dimitris Daskalopoulos and Mary Stasinopoulou the unprecedented spread his work around the world.

Dimitris Daskalopoulos began in 1978, with Andreas Haritatos, and with the help of file KP Cavafy, with the encouragement of GP Savvides, to complement the earlier literature of the Alexandrian Katsimbalis. After 25 consecutive years of occupation, the first book about the great poet was released in 2003 by the Centre for the Greek Language in Thessaloniki to follow several studies.

Since then traveled extensively with his wife, Maria Stasinopoulou scholar at conferences around the world, met others kavafistes, with whom he exchanged information and views, fueled by universities material from South America to Russia. In 2003, the last anniversary of the poet adopted, with the help of his wife, an excellent timeline of the life and work of CP Cavafy. Today both of them are considered among the most important knowledgeable of the unique case of this great universal poet.

What do you think Cavafy so popular internationally, despite inevitable losses from the transfer from one language to another? Especially in his case, which is that mixed folk idiom and Katharevousa ...

Dimitris Daskalopoulos: Can a foreign reader Cavafy not grasp all the nuances of the language gets a Greek, such as when using a word purist in that for us is very important, but in most languages ​​translated wins. Because most poems have a script. A story that enriches some things perceived from around the world. There is a hermetic poetry as Seferis or other poets. When Cavafy says "bid her farewell, the Alexandria," that you adapt them to your own situation. No wonder too early too many lyrics were matted in political, social and even sports themes. Of course, behind this there is an entire faiths, all that he says in his poems with putting masks, for power, for all those who want to look great, and there is no ... In the historic poems except those requiring specific historical knowledge, like what happened in Asia Minor by the Seleucids, in times that are not known-when referring to Antony and Cleopatra, in Pompey in Alexiad, Thermopylae and Ithaca as symbols, these are the substrate European culture. Every educated European knows.

Illuminate, but often unknown details. As in the case of Caesarion, son of Cleopatra.

DD: The Marguerite Gioursenar in amazing text-introduction of the translation of the K.Th. KPS, Cavafy writes that life does not get Antony or Cleopatra, but a turn of fate. Events secondary, perhaps, that the official story does not reduce at major events. This leads to the conclusions that he wants to pull out and have timeless. So all the stories narrated can be applied in any case.

Not all the passes through an autobiographical perspective, in which large traumatic event was the class of abasement?

DD: Yes, the economic collapse and social impairment in family, if we think of family scion rich employee came to work in a public service. Generally, prejudice or finds the weak sides of power, those who can laugh today with similar powers: who wear their gray and other similar loud. Cavafy slowly deconstructs all those older poets and the oldest society accepts as great.

Maria Stasinopoulou: Regarding social discount plagued him. When fleeing the bombardment of Alexandria to Constantinople, describes in his diary bitterly conditions of the ship.

Played a catalytic role in homosexuality so much spread worldwide?

M.S.: The D. Mendelson, who translated recently said the following amazing in Greek magazine: "I'm gay and I experience Cavafy a completely personal way. In no case is a great poet because he is gay. " I find it extraordinary.


However, the official Greek references attempting to "forgotten" this rather crucial to his side ...

DD: We're still a prudish society that fails to acknowledge that a great poet speaks Friendly terms. Now, for the love of the first when talking about modern Alexandria, never mentions names. It says "one young", "a boy." In contrast, states fictitious names when talking about lovers other seasons Evrionas, healing. But in most poems do not seem gender. When he says that at the next table "this body I have enjoyed it, and under their clothes bare Favorites shall see you again" might be thoughts of a man for a woman, or a woman for a man or a woman for a woman and not necessarily one man for one man alone. But because we accept the homosexual identity of Cavafy, any erotic allusion to believe by definition homosexual. We can say what Gioursenar says: "affirms a sensual freedom without limits."

So, you don't see in the spread of the agent of Gay Liberation at international level?

DD: On the outside there are these strange and somewhat silly distinctions that make the Americans with gay lesbian studies. The spread was huge long before these categorizations. But he was slow to publish purely homosexual poems. While some reports from 1903, when he realizes that reduced the resistance of the social environment and its acceptance by the younger, mainly in Greece, is wider begins to publish.


The essayist Peter Mpian says that the poem "the principle of ' no equating homosexuality with poetry and art.

DD: In general, there is a shrewdness in the construction of Cavafy. Anyone can collect poems from what interests him and what he wants.

When I "discovered" the first EM Forster is the phlegm and irony as Cavafy has anglotrafis winning the Anglo-Saxon intellect:

DD: Maybe. But it was thanks to fellow student at Oxford George Forster Valassopoulo who learns the writer, and his own translations include the lighthouse and Fariskos and later in the journal «Criterion» of TS Eliot. The first European kavafistis was a Dutchman Gerald Blanket, who had studied ancient Greek and came to Athens as still living Cavafy. He wrote, and he sent his poems. These translated into Dutch and published the first European version polygraph, one year after the death of the poet, in 1934.

M.S.: A few years ago I met a Dutch gay couple, the Hans Molegkraaf Warren and Mario, who did an excellent tribute to the magazine «Maatstaf».

DD: It was crucial that the first version of the Blanket. As in Italy's Filippo Maria Pontani.

2013-04-10_144759And in Russia there was ellinistria Sonia Ilinskagia-Alexandropoulou.

DD: In Russia, wrote essays and Bronski him. The translation made ​​real splash in Europe, however, was in 1947, immediately after the war. He was a diplomat Theodore Grivas French. A selection of poems accepted by 40-50 rave reviews. Was the situation after the debris left by the war. There are currently world country and language in which they have not been translated and Cavafy. Even if it's just individual poems in anthologies. A few years ago the Greeks Abroad Center issued a deluxe edition with translations in 36 languages ​​of the poem "The City." For three of them had to open the dictionary, were languages ​​of Africa.

The Greeks when they accepted him?

DD: The 30s generation struggled to accept it. The whole range. The well accept him, Seferis with reservations Theotokas rejects him at first. They could not accept the modernism. It was unprecedented, unique, which is why they can not have and successors. Cavafy either imitate the way and you're not, but neither he or the parody. Could not be annotated. And while others have great poets, are all old. Cavafy is always fashionable. It does not belong in the past. Always belongs here.



Waiting for the Barbarians: Report to Cavafy

Kalfayan gallery opens exhibition with works by modern and contemporary Greek and foreign artists who have produced their own personal style an impression of the poems of Constantine Cavafy. The participating artists are: Dwarf Valaoritis, Catherine Gegisian Emmanuel Bitsakis, Nina Papaconstantinou Tataris Dimitri, Anna Boghiguian, David Hockney. [Photos of this issue: David Hockney etchings from "Forteen Poems by CP Cavafy" (editions Alecto, 1966) Private Collection (Courtesy Kalfayan Galleries, Athens - Thessaloniki).]

Kalfayan Galleries Haritos 11, Kolonaki 210 7217969 9/4-11/5 Mon, Sat: 10:00-15:00, Tue-Fri: 10:00-20:00.

The world of Cavafy | Interviews | LiFO

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