Aggeliki Mousiou holds a BA in Modern Greek from the University of Thessaloniki and an MSt (distinction) in Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies from the University of Oxford. Since 2017 she has been part of the Onassis Foundation Cavafy Archive team and currently coordinates the Archive’s research projects. Amongst other projects, she has worked for the digitization and dissemination of the collection and has coordinated the documentation of the Cavafy archive which led to the publication of its Digital Collection, in March 2019.
World Literature in the Cavafy Archive: Tracing a Modernist Canon
This paper will delve into Cavafy’s papers, exploring the poet’s relationship to European and World Literature as showcased in his archive. Attempting to highlight archival items that convey Cavafy’s thoughts both on the literary production of his time and the European canon, we will discuss examples from the poet’s notes, his personal correspondence and his autobiographical writings. From Cavafy’s thoughts on Baudelaire, to the listing of the poet’s readings in his travel journals and the frequent mentions of major authors and works in his correspondence, we will pursue to expand our understanding of Cavafy as a reader of World Literature and to outline his critical and dynamic relationship to various literary figures and movements. At the same time, the Cavafy archive’s rich contents will allow us to revisit some of the literary networks in which the poet participated and trace some of his international connections and affiliations. This exploration will offer insights into some crucial aspects of the modernist canon that implicitly informs Cavafy’s own poetics.