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Cavafy on the Emperor Julian

A splendid piece in The New Republic by the always readable Peter Green on the Daniel Mendelsohn translation of the collected poems of Constantine Cavafy. Every autodidact, someone once claimed, can be guaranteed to have a bee in his bonnet somewhere, and this was certainly true of Cavafy, whose bee (pursued in no less than a dozen poems, five of them unfinished) was the improbable figure of Julian the Apostate. It might be thought that a poet who glimpsed the old gods winging it over Ionia would welcome an emperor who aimed to put them back officially on their pedestals; but in fact Cavafy reveals a visceral distaste and contempt for Julian. G.W. Bowersock, in two characteristically erudite and incisive essays....

Read more at Bread & Circuses

All good wishes,

Judith Weingarten
Visit Zenobia's blog at Empress of the East


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