Takis Kayalis (Ph.D. NYU, 1991) is Professor of Modern Greek Literature at the Hellenic Open University. He has published extensively on nineteenth-century prose, modernist poetry and poetics, digital humanities, and literary pedagogy. His books in English include Teaching Literature at a Distance: Open, Online and Blended Learning, co-edited with Anastasia Natsina (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2010) and Cavafy’s Hellenistic Antiquities: History, Archaeology, Empire (forthcoming from Palgrave in early 2023). He co-edited the Cavafy Archive’s Digital Collection (Onassis Foundation, 2019) and serves at the Cavafy Archive’s International Academic Committee since 2017.
C.P. Cavafy’s Modernist Connections
This paper explores C. P. Cavafy’s connection to European modernism at two levels: first, at the level of the poet’s personal affiliations, exchanges and networking with important modernist figures, from Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Paul Vanderborght to E. M. Forster, Leonard Woolf and T. S. Eliot. And second, at the level of his critical reception as a modernist poet, whose conceptualizations have ranged from Eliot’s “mythical method” to comparisons with writers as diverse as Fernando Pessoa, Aimé Césaire and Derek Walcott. Tracing this two-fold perspective and unearthing documents from the poet’s archive and personal library, the paper will seek to outline the breadth and, at the same time, to question the limits of Cavafy’s modernism.