C.P. Cavafy – “Things impolitic and dangerous”

Flowers For Socrates

C.P. Cavafy (April 29, 1863 – April 29, 1933) the most distinguished and highly influential modern Greek poet, who never lived in Greece, whose work had been ridiculed and rejected early in the last century by the Athenian literati, then almost forgotten by Greece until publication of an anthology of his poems in 1935, two years after his death. He was born in Alexandria, Egypt, which he first left at age nine after his father died, and his mother moved their large brood to Liverpool so his elder brothers could run the family import business, a time when Cavafy learned English and discovered Shakespeare, Robert Browning, and Oscar Wilde. These years influenced his choice of the Anglicized “Cavafy” as his pen name. When he was sixteen, the business failed, and the family returned, in debt-ridden gentility, to the Greek community in Alexandria. He was exiled again when he was nineteen…

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