Imagination And Logos Essays On C.P Cavafy Ithaka

Eastern Questions

Hellenism and Orientalism in the Writings of E. M. Forster and C. P. Cavafy

Peter Jeffreys

Publication Year: 2005

What is the relationship between E. M. Forster’s quintessentially British novels, stories and essays and the abstrusely historical and erotic musings of the Greek poet C. P. Cavafy? The answer is both complex and illuminating.The apparent differences are bridged by Forster’s penchant for antiquities and interest in matters Oriental, by Cavafy’s Anglophilia and British education. While these facts have generated comparative criticism that places novelist and poet in a Hellenistic continuum, the scholarly discussion to date has overlooked the ideological tensions that separate these two important modernists along a cultural divide. Hellenism is a way into their shared interests in the classical past, yet it also marks a point of dissension regarding the essence of Greek civilization. Similarly, their Orientalist visions led them to radically diverse configurations of the East. Dr. Jeffreys’s parallel reading of Forster and Cavafy explains not only how Forster and Cavafy were both rooted in Western Hellenism, but also how their suppositions about it diverged significantly and how the two confronted the Orient in quite different ways. New light is also cast on their friendship; their different political views may have impeded its development. Eastern Questions: Hellenism and Orientalism in the Writings of E. M. Forster and C. P. Cavafy makes use of unpublished documents, newly edited unfinished poetry (here made available for the first time to an English readership), and lesser-known texts, both fictional and nonfictional. The exchange between literary and non-literary texts, prose and poetry, focuses the ideological center of Forster’s lifelong engagement with Greece and India and identifies the essence of Cavafy’s prolonged fixation on matters Hellenic. In the process Jeffreys’s New Historicist study applies contemporary critical trends in modern Greek studies to Forster criticism, producing an incisive, fresh reading of the relationship and the Cavafy and Forster canons.

Published by: ELT Press

5. Forster and the Eclipse of Hellenism

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pp. 115-139

Index [Includes About the Author and Back Cover]

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pp. 200-212

E-ISBN-13: 9780944318348
Print-ISBN-13: 9780944318195
Print-ISBN-10: 0944318193

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: None
Publication Year: 2005

OCLC Number: 794702358
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Eastern Questions


“Cavafian Catoptromancy: A Response to Mr. Savidis.” Windows on Greece: University of Michigan Department of Modern Greek On-Line Cavafy Forum—February 2006.

“Following the Recipe: Cavafy and Magical Texts” in “…what these Ithacas mean.”: Readings in Cavafy. Athens: Hellenic Literary and Historic Archive, 2002: 134-135.

“Dünya Güzeli: Cavafy’s Folkloric Odalisque.”Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 26 (2002): 219-247.

“Cavafy, Forster, and the Eastern Question.” Journal of Modern Greek Studies 19.1 (2001): 61-87.


Lectures and Speaking Engagements

“C.P. Cavafy’s Imaginary Portraits: Reframing Aestheticism.” University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada. Co-sponsored by UNESCO and the Greek Ministry of Culture, November 26, 2013.

“Cavafy’s Byzantium: The Poetics of Exquisite Decline.” Lecture.
- Institute of Sacred Music Colloquium, Yale University, November 2, 2011.
- Hellenic Studies Program, Department of Comparative Literature,Yale University, November 3, 2011

“The Other Cavafy: Selected Prose Works.” Lecture and Book Presentation. University of Michigan Department of Greek Studies, Kelsey Archeological Museum, March 22, 2011.

“Traces of Paterian Thought in Cavafy’s Shakespeare.” International Cavafy Conference on Editing and Translation in Honor of G.P. Savidis, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus, October 15-17, 2010.

“The Slight Angle: The Forster-Cavafy Letters.” Lecture and Book Presentation.
-Boston Greek Consulate, November 11, 2009.  
-King’s College, Cambridge University, November 24, 2009.
-Brown University, Department of Classics, April 24, 2010.

Professional Activities

Member of the Editorial Board (2013-2016)
Journal of Modern Greek Studies
www.press.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_modern_greek_studies

Member of the Executive Board, 2011-2014
Modern Greek Studies Association

Associate Editor (Arts & Humanities), 2010-2012
Journal of Modern Greek Studies

Courses Taught

WRI-101 First-Year Writing I
WRI-102 First-Year Writing II
WRI-H103 Advanced Freshman English
ENG-135 World Literature
ENG-213  English Literature Survey I
ENG-214 English Literature Survey II
ENG-392 Readings in Postcolonial Literature
ENG-408 Modern Greek Literature
ENG-366 Modern British Fiction
ENG-409 Literary Bloomsbury: Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster
ENG-422 Readings in Decadent Literature
SF-189  American Gothic: Edgar Allan Poe, Flannery O'Connor and Annie Proulx

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