Foteini Dimirouli, “C.P. Cavafy in the World: Origins, Trajectories and the Diasporic Poet”
How does an author writing in a minor language enter world literature? C.P. Cavafy’s journey from relative invisibility to global visibility was long and tumultuous, determined by his debts to both the Greek and Alexandrian cultural settings. Theories of world literature highlight the ways in which nations formulate their internal canons on the basis of crucial validation imparted externally, through dominant centres of literary production (for example, through the Anglophone cultural scene). But this national paradigm fails to encompass the case of diasporic writers and their dual cultural origins. This seminar employs the case of Cavafy to rethink the ways in which global reputation is constituted and spread, especially when an author is claimed by different cultural agents and for divergent purposes.
This British School at Athens Virtual Upper House Seminar was recorded on 1 February 2021.