Placing C. P. Cavafy among the modernists raises interesting questions. Which century can claim Cavafy? What does it mean to claim Cavafy for modernism? What space do we need to make for Cavafy in an approach to modernism that shapes and is shaped by his work? What re- and disorientations might that positioning require? Which nineteenth-century filiations does Cavafy carry over into his modernism? Is courage rather than contemporaneity a better guide in these orienteering exercises? This essay fleshes out these questions, asks a few more in the process, and attempts a set of triangulations and mediations between Cavafian and early twentieth-century words and worlds. This is not to trace influences or deep affinities but to deploy Cavafy as the “century's interlocutor,” in Paul's immodest but resonant phrase. Among the mediating or triangulated figures are F. T. Marinetti, E. M. Forster, T. S. Eliot, George Seferis, Ezra Pound, W. B. Yeats, Vernon Lee, and Pierre Louÿs, with cameo appearances by Bertolt Brecht, Arthur Rimbaud, and Eugène Marsan.

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