George Seferis

George Seferis
(1900 - 1971)

Greek poet, essayist, and diplomat who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1963.
After studying law in Paris, Seferis joined the Greek diplomatic service and served in London and Albania prior to World War II, during which time he was in exile with the free Greek government. Following the war he held posts in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq and served as Greek ambassador in London (1957-62).

Seferis was at once acclaimed as "the poet of the future" on the publication of I strofi (1931; "The Turning Point"), his first collection of poems. It was followed by I sterna (1932; "The Cistern"), Mithistorima (1935; "Myth-History"), Imeroloyion katastromatos I (1940; "Log Book I"), Tetradhio yimnasmaton (1940; "Exercise Book"), Poiimata (1940; "Poems"), Imeroloyion katastromatos II (1945), the long poem Kikhli (1947; "Thrush"), Poiimata 1924-46 (1950), and Imeroloyion katastromatos III (1955). Selections of his poetry have been widely translated, the fullest English version being that by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard (George Seferis: Collected Poems 1924-1955 [1969]). Seferis also translated poetry into Greek and wrote essays, of which the chief are Dhokimes (1944) and Erotokritos (1946). He was honoured by the Academy of Athens in 1947.

Seferis was the most distinguished Greek poet of "the generation of the '30s," which introduced symbolism to modern Greek literature. His refined lyricism and the freshness of his diction brought a new breath of life to Greek poetry. His work is permeated by a deep feeling for the tragic predicament of the Greeks, as indeed of modern man in general.


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