Series of Open Classes at the Cavafy Archive 2018-19 / ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTRE

Series of Open Classes at the Cavafy Archive 2018-19

Cavafy and poets of his age: “Exquisite instruments from that mystic company”

10, 17, 24 & 31 MAY 2019
Onassis Library (Amalias Avenue 56)
For adults
The notion of “the beautiful,” the codification of homosexuality, existential pain, foreboding, and other themes on which poets including Cavafy, Karyotakis, Palamas, Stefan George, Paul Valéry and Hugo von Hofmannsthal touch in their poetry.
Cost: Free admission
In the fifth series of popular talks at the Cavafy Archive, Cavafy enters into dialogue with contemporaneous poets, both Greek and foreign, including Palamas, Karyotakis, Stefan George, Paul Valéry and Hugo von Hofmannsthal.

Scholars discuss similarities and differences in themes, ideas, and technique—and in piecing together the mosaic of these figures and works, help clarify Cavafy’s multidimensional relationship with the poetry of his day.
Friday 10 May 2019 | 19:00-21:00
Palamas – Cavafy: Each with his weapons 
Comparisons between Palamas and Cavafy usually underscore the differences between the two poets, though in reality their oeuvres display significant similarities and convergences.
Speaker: Eleni Politou-Marmarinou, Emerita Professor of Modern Greek Philology, Department of Philology, University of Athens

Friday 17 May 2019 |  19:00-21:00
C. P. Cavafy and K. G. Karyotakis: The existential wound and poetry as balm
Cavafy’s Jason Kleander, experiencing the “aging of [his] body and [his] beauty” as a “wound from a merciless knife”, seeks in the “Art of Poetry” its “medicine”, which will relieve his pain, at least temporarily. That same year (1921) Karyotakis, also writing of a “wound”, sees his poetic art as giving relief: “I give you lustful myrrh / as balsam – and opium, too. Setting out from that point of contact between the two poets, we will explore how each treats the relationship of poetry to existential pain. With Cavafy as a reference point, the conversation will focus primarily on the poems of Karyotakis.
Speaker: Elli Filokyprou, Professor, Department of Communications and Mass Media, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Friday 24 May 2019 | 19:00-21:00
Late antiquity in the work of C. P. Cavafy and Stefan George
The late Roman and Alexandrian period, ages of decline headed toward fall, comprise references points for fin de siècle European literature. In this class we will focus on this phenomenon, examining the poetry of C. P. Cavafy in conjunction with that of Stefan George, who introduced aestheticism to German letters. We will begin with thematic similarities in the two poets’ work, then move on to a close examination of selected poems, in order to discuss the role of late antiquity in the formation of the two writers’ poetics and aesthetics.
Speaker: Anastasia Antonopoulou, Professor of Comparative Literature and German Literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, Department of German Language and Literature, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Friday 31 May 2019 | 19:00-21:00
Fortune-telling, prophecy, and presentiment: C. P. Cavafy, Paul Valéry and Hugo von Hofmannsthal at the dawn of the modern condition
Transforming the spell of the symbolist image and musicality into an extremely contradictory and nuanced experience of discord, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Paul Valéry, and C. P. Cavafy frequently elaborate on the subject of presentiment and/or prophecy. The transformations of this theme lead the poetic self into the creation of an ontological discord as regards temporality and the perception of the world; as regards the painful and surprising ambiguity of language, and the recognition of its limits; and as regards the faults and fissures in the image of the self, its hollow fragmentation and what becomes their unavoidable poetic thematization.
Speaker: Lito Ioakeimidou, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, Department of Philology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens


Series curation:
Erasmia Stavropoulou: Emerita Professor of Modern Greek Philology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

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Entrance is free to the public.
Reservations must be made at

Friday 10, 17, 24 & 31 May


Onassis Library (Amalias 56)

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