A Levant Journal

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Ibis Editions, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 173 pages
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Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Greek poet, essayist, diarist, and diplomat George Seferis stands as one of the giants of twentieth-century literature. His poetry has long been recognized for its lyric purity, its charged sense of history, and its economy. His prose extends his preoccupation with tradition into a more daily register, and his journals, in particular, graph the meeting of the poet's sensibility and the landscape where present confronts past.
A Levant Journal offers selections from the notebooks Seferis kept during his diplomatic postings in the region. Covering the years 1941-44 and 1953-56, they record his detailed impressions of Cairo, Jerusalem, Beirut, Damascus, Amman, Cyprus, the Dead Sea, and various other sites he visited while working there. With characteristic vividness and concision, Seferis reflects both on what he sees and what lies behind (and ahead of) the visible, as the journals include superb passages of travel writing and meditations on the Levant's Hellenistic legacy, the region's holy sites, the history of prominent British women travelers to the area, the future of British imperialism, and of course the turbulent politics of his day.

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User Review  - Katong - LibraryThing

A slight volume really, but it works best when able to set the poetry into the context provided by Seferis' journal entries. The travels in Cyprus before Engomi: Scents of lentiskbegan to stir upon ... Read full review

A Levant Journal

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Beaton (modern Greek & Byzantine history, language & literature, King's Coll., London; George Seferis, Waiting for the Angel: A Biography) translates, edits, and introduces Seferis's (1900-71) prose ... Read full review


Wartime 19411944
The Passing of Empire 19531956

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About the author (2007)

Seferis, who was Greece's ambassador to London in 1961, has done much to integrate the unique Greek heritage with avant-garde European poetry. He is regarded as one of the greatest poets of his time. Born in Smyrna, he moved to Athens at age 14. He studied in Paris at the end of World War I and afterward joined the Greek diplomatic service. "Eminent as he is as a European poet," wrote Rex Warner, "Seferis is preeminently a Greek poet, conscious of the Greek tradition which shaped, and indeed created the tradition of Europe. Throughout the poetry of Seferis one will notice his profound consciousness of the presence of the past and its weight." His themes show a constant awareness of both the dignity and the inevitable sorrow of humanity. His images---the voyage, the search, and the ruins that become alive and yet suggest death---are universal, his treatment of them contemporary. His language has a disciplined power and simplicity. In addition to the Poems, selections from his poetry appear in Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard's Six Poets of Modern Greece. The Royal Swedish Literary Academy awarded Seferis the Nobel Prize "for his eminent lyrical writing, inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture.

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