C. P. Cavafy's position as a British-cultured Greek who lived and wrote in colonial Alexandria has perplexed critics, who often address the poet's commitments either as Anglophile or as anti-imperialist and pro-Arab. Seeking a subtler approach to Cavafy's complex colonial circumstances, this essay looks at the poet as a diaspora Greek who wrote of Eastern Hellenism through concepts, facilities, and resources made available by the British Empire. Among the issues explored in this venture are: the widespread use of the Hellenistic East as code for the British Empire in Cavafy's time and the keen interest of colonial intellectuals on some of the poet's favorite topics, such as Hellenistic racial and cultural hybridity; Cavafy's encounters with major colonial figures, including Evelyn Baring (1st Earl of Cromer), T. E. Lawrence, and Ronald Storrs; and the interpretative complexities and ambiguities that arise once we recognize the colonial substratum of Cavafy's historical poems.

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