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Observations on Cavafy's Historical Method:  The Erotic Poems

Abstract: 

This paper examines the erotic poems of C. P. Cavafy, which, based on the historical period to which they refer, can be divided into two main categories. The first part of the paper focuses on the Antiquity-inspired erotic poems and their particular features, a close examination of which reveals interesting aspects—and more subtle distinctions—of the world model these poems portray. The second part of the paper examines Cavafy’s erotic poems that take place in the poet’s time, revealing Cavafy’s stance towards the paradigm of his era. The comparison between those contemporary poems and the erotic poems inspired by the Antiquity helps arrive at some conclusions regarding Cavafy’s historical method. The discussion focuses on the correlation between past and present, demonstrating the social orientation of Cavafy’s erotic poetry in both dimensions of historical time and, hence, the unity of his oeuvre.

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