Modernism as World Literature: The Case of C. P. Cavafy
Takis Kayalis (Hellenic Open University)
Translated into many languages and circulating in multiple editions, the poetry of C.P. Cavafy (1863-1933) has attracted broad international audiences for nearly a century and, more recently, has been engulfed in the much-debated category of “World Literature.” Some of Cavafy’s poems have assumed a universal and almost proverbial function in the global public sphere, whereas others have acquired new meanings and pertinence in diverse historical, cultural and gender-related contexts, alien to those of their original conception. As Aamir R. Mufti recently observed, “no other modern writer has gained a comparable reputation in world literature based, to this extent, on translations of his work.” Moreover, aside from its strong global readership, Cavafy’s work has been used by poets and artists all over the world as raw material for inspiration and re-translation into new cultural production; it has also been widely employed in the global political sphere and in the context of sexual politics.
The proposed panel will focus on Cavafy’s rich and unique example to investigate a number of topics that are central to current approaches to literary Modernism, including:
- National vs Global perceptions of Modernism
- Modernism and World Literature
- Translation and the Centre-Periphery dichotomy
- Modernism and Gender
- Political Uses of Modernism
 A. R. Mufti (2021), “Constantine Cavafy in the Colony: Hellenism at the Margins of Empire,” boundary 2, 48 (2), p. 177.
Interested scholars are invited to send their proposal, including a short bio and 300-word abstract, to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 February 2023. The proposal must include the title of both the individual paper and the panel session.