What are the major characteristics of the poetry of Constantine P. Cavafy?

A major characteristic of Cavafy which does *not* come across in the most popular translation (Sherrard & Keeley’s) is the linguistic eclectisism, which adds to the overall feeling of restraint and detachment. Especially when everyone else writing in Greek at the time was idolising the Volkisch ideal of Demotic, his playful alternation of contemporary slang and classicising rhetoric placed him very far from the mainstream; and with the era dominated by the Greek Language Question, language matters a lot in Greek poetry.

Sherrard & Keeley sacrificed that element to make his poetry approachable in English; I think they had to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *