Literary criticism,Philosophy,Politics

Why Seferis?  

by Akis Gavriilidis

Of all the 20th century poets in the Greek-speaking world, Yorgos/ George Seferis is one of the most commented upon. Probably the most commented upon, if one takes into account also things written about him in his non-poetic capacity (-ies). Almost all the important philologists in Greece, (and probably all in Greek-speaking Cyprus), have written about him, and his poems –and essays- are taught and broadly discussed in education and the public sphere at large. So when someone endeavours to write something, and, what is more, a whole book, about him, one must have found something really original Συνέχεια

Art,national identity,Politics,Postcolonialism

Emperor Ras Tafari in Piraeus: Seferis’s Colonial Anxieties

by Akis Gavriilidis


Seferis’s poem “Leoforos Syngrou II” has received little critical attention.

Works outside the canon often prove a useful lens for an author’s practice.

This is also the case with this poem, which directly refers to a colonial and racial problematic. Seferis, both as an object of mainstream scholarship and as an icon of Greek pop culture during the last half of the 20th century, has been mainly seen as a champion of “Greekness” –construed as the solitary course of a unique nation through various vicissitudes. The author himself encouraged such a reading. In his work, however, we find evidence that Seferis was attentive to elements undermining this uniqueness, shifting attention to links, cleavages and hierarchizations within both Hellenism and humanity at large. This makes Greekness appear as a product of, and as an instrument for the production of, knowledge about and classification of individuals and ethnic groups, including self-knowledge and self-classification, as well as a technology for profiling and variously claiming and/ or attributing rights to those groups. Our understanding of Seferis’s Hellenism would be incomplete without its colonial and racial dimension.