Echoes and Reflections in Cavafy and Callimachus

Tim Buckley


Cavafy (1863–1933) and Callimachus (c.305–240 BC) can be usefully compared ongeographical, stylistic and intellectual grounds. Both poets in spite of connexions withEngland and Cyrene in North Africa respectively are quintessentially Alexandrian, andthis Alexandrian inheritance is something more than a shared milieu. A certain lapidary,backward-looking and controlled style binds the two poets, and the debt that Cavafyowed his much earlier Alexandrian colleague has been noted by Peridis and others (e.g.Liddell 1974: 12 and 121, Chatephotes 1973: 27–34; Keeley 1976: 81–84 analysesCavafy’s use of the epitaph-form without specific reference to Callimachus).

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