Cavafy sch19 text1In summer 2019, the International Cavafy Summer School will once more bring together prominent academics, scholars, and young researchers of the work of C. P. Cavafy, one of Modern Greece’s most distinguished and internationally recognised poets. The summer school is organised by the Cavafy Archive and the Onassis Foundation, and will take place at the Onassis Library on 8-14 July. Under the theme “Cavafy’s Orient/ations”, topics will focus on the multiple topographies and cultural dynamics of Cavafy’s poems.

Cavafy’s Orient/ations

The International Cavafy Summer School is an annual scholarly initiative of the Cavafy Archive and the Onassis Foundation, the first of its kind, devoted entirely to Cavafy and the impact of his work. It is addressed to Ph.D. candidates, postdoctoral researchers, and early-career scholars. The first summer school took place in 2017, focusing on the concept of “Cavafy in the World”, while the second one, in 2018, explored the theme “Cavafy and Antiquity.”

The 2019 edition, titled “Cavafy’s Orient/ations” will focus on the multiple (geographical, aesthetic, historical, etc.) topographies and cultural dynamics of Cavafy’s work and will approach the Cavafy phenomenon within its broader geographical and historical range. Its purpose is to explore the varied and sometimes contradictory or unexpected interconnections and interpretations of Cavafy’s work as well as to re-examine some of the more traditional definitions of his work.

Some of the questions to be examined include: the poet’s place in-between East and West; the significance of his native Alexandria as part of both ancient and modern empires; Cavafy measured in relation to discourses of Orientalism; colonial and post-colonial ways of reading Cavafy; the shift between regional geography and globality in Cavafy’s reception; and Cavafy’s own orientations in their multiple range (poetic, historical, erotic).

Cavafy sch19 text2©Nikos Papaggelis

The summer school’s aim is to enrich participants’ knowledge about Cavafy and his work, opening new directions and comparative approaches in the context of Cavafy studies. Invited scholars, all experts in their fields, will lead comprehensive morning seminars and will also take part in the presentations of participants’ work, in one or more of the afternoon workshops.

The twelve participants (Ph.D. candidates, postdoctoral researchers, and early-career scholars) will be invited to present their work in the afternoon workshops, to engage in creative dialogue with the invited scholars, and to take part in conversations that will develop over the six days of the school. Participants will be recorded and portions of their talks will be made public on the Cavafy Archive official YouTube channel. Additional events will also be scheduled.

The working language of the International Cavafy Summer School will be English. There are no tuition charges or other fees for participants, while all room and board expenses will be covered by the scool, thanks to the support of the Onassis Foundation and the Cavafy Archive. Students and early-career researchers can also apply for grants to cover their travel expenses in whole or in part. The summer school will take place on 8-14 July, and participation application must be submitted by 31 January 2019.

The International Cavafy Summer School 2019 will be led by Stathis Gourgouris (Columbia University) and Takis Kayalis (University of Ioannina). In addition, the seminars will host a number of invited speakers: Hala Halim (New York University), Peter Jeffreys (Suffolk University), Alexander Kazamias (Coventry University), Vassiliki Kolocotroni (University of Glasgow), Aamir R. Mufti (UCLA), and Yiannis Papatheodorou (University of Ioannina).

Cavafy Archive4The Cavafy archive

Onassis Foundation acquired the Cavafy Archive in the end of 2012. The Archive consists of approximately 4.000 manuscripts, photographs and personal items of the poet, while its collections comprise original poems, translations, commentary on poems, the poet’s correspondence, and his notes. Its aim is to safegueard these items and to promote C.P. Cavafy’s work. Working towards this end, numerous projects and events take place in Greece and abroad, for the wider public and particularly the younger generations, creatively utilising the potential of new technologies.

Created by the Center for Neo-Hellenic Studies and owned by the Onassis Foundation, the Cavafy Archive website contains all of Cavafy’s major works in the translation of Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard (edited by G.P. Savidis), plus select alternative translations. It also contains a wealth of unpublished material from the poet’s Archive, plus a Cavafy Companion section and up-to-date information on Cavafy’s seminal presence in today’s world, as seen through the web.

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N.M.