A Reader's Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets

By John Pilling | Go to book overview

George Seferis (1900-71 )

Born in Smyrna (modern Izmir). Educated in Athens and Paris where he studied Law. Entered the Greek diplomatic service in 1926, and became Acting Consul-General in London from 1931 to 1934. Thereafter served as Greek Consul in Albania, Crete, South Africa, Egypt, England, Italy and in Turkey with the Greek government in exile. Counsellor of the Greek embassy in London from 1951 to 1953; occupied a similar post in Ankara and became Ambassador to the Lebanon between 1953 and 1957. Ambassador in London from 1957 until his retirement in 1962. In 1963 became the first Greek poet to win the Nobel Prize and lived in Athens until his death. Very well acquainted with modern French and English literature, and with the creators of it; influenced by T. S. Eliot, whom he knew, and by Cavafy. Kept an important journal, of which only sections have as yet been published, which suggests that he found certain aspects of diplomatic life irksome.

Seferis first became famous in Greece on the publication in 1935 of a collection (Mythistorema) which epitomizes his commitment to a poetry that, without being 'narrative' in the accepted sense, occupies the middle ground between the plots of myth -- in this case the Homeric story of Odysseus -- and the circumstances of a history described by Seferis as being 'as independent from myself as the characters in a novel'. Surprisingly perhaps, given his career and his early aims, Seferis cannot really be meaningfully described as a public poet. Indeed his public career does not seem to have been a source

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A Reader's Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface 9
  • Charles Baudelaire (1821-67) 13
  • Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-98) 23
  • Paul Verlaine (1844-96) 32
  • Tristan Corbière (1845-75) 40
  • Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91) 47
  • Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933) 56
  • Stefan George (1868-1933) 64
  • Christian Morgenstern (1871-1914) 73
  • Paul Valéry (1871-1945) 80
  • Hugo Von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929) 88
  • Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) 97
  • Antonio Machado (1875-1939) 108
  • Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) 118
  • Aleksandr Blok (1880-1921) 127
  • Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958) 136
  • Umberto Saba (1883-1957) 143
  • Dino Campana (1885-1932) 150
  • Gottfried Benn (1886-1956) 158
  • Georg Trakl (1887-1914) 166
  • Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) 173
  • Giuseppe Ungaretti (1888-1970) 181
  • Pierre Reverdy (1889-1960) 190
  • Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) 197
  • Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) 206
  • Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938 215
  • César Vallejo (1892-1938) 225
  • Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) 234
  • Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) 243
  • Paul Éluard (1895-1952) 259
  • Eugenio Montale (1896-1981) 266
  • Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936) 276
  • Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) 284
  • Jorge Luis Borges (born 1899) 292
  • George Seferis (1900-71 ) 301
  • Salvatore Quasimodo (1901-68) 308
  • Lucio Piccolo (1901-69) 316
  • Attila József (1902-37) 324
  • Pablo Neruda (1904-73) 333
  • René Char (born 1907) 344
  • Cesare Pavese (1908-50) 351
  • Yannis Ritsos (born 1909) 360
  • Octavio Paz (born 1914) 368
  • Johannes Bobrowski (1917-65) 376
  • Paul Celan (1920-70) 383
  • Vasko Popa (born 1922) 392
  • Yves Bonnefoy (born 1923) 400
  • Yehuda Amichai (born 1924) 408
  • Zbigniew Herbert (born 1924) 416
  • Joseph Brodsky (born 1940) 424
  • Bibliographies 432
  • Index 461
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