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Perverse fragments: Citing Cavafy in crisis-stricken Athens

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A publicity campaign run in Athens by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation in October 2013 in order to advertise its acquisition of the Cavafy Archive, until then lying in relevant obscurity, turned into a media disaster when critics and members of the public protested against what they argued was a misquoting of the highly revered Alexandrian. In this article, I am looking at this rather entertaining story of misunderstood intentions in order to suggest that even though Cavafy himself may be shown to have enjoyed history as fragmented experience, and despite the fact that the modern archive is one of often-conflicting partialities rather than one of completeness, we, as consumers of Cavafy’s oeuvre, tend to sustain his long-established position as a paragon of Greek culture, canonized through his own nonconformity. As a typical case of ‘archive fever’, the events described here confirm the political specificity of any literary discourse, even when conducted out of context (or especially so).
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Keywords: Cavafy; Greek crisis; Internet trolling; political parody

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Athens

Publication date: October 1, 2015

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  • The Journal of Greek Media & Culture is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal that aims to provide a platform for debate and exploration of a wide range of manifestations of media and culture in and about Greece. The journal adopts a broad and inclusive approach to media and culture with reference to film, photography, literature, the visual arts, music, theatre, performance, as well as all forms of electronic media and expressions of popular culture. While providing a forum for the close analysis of cultural formations specific to Greece, JGMC aims to engage with broader methodological and theoretical debates, and situate the Greek case in global, diasporic and transnational contexts.
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