On the Greek Style
on Poetry and Hellenism
Translated by Th. D. Frangopoulos & Rex Warner
This is the first and still the only collection of the essays of the Nobel Prize Laureate George Seferis (1900â€“1971) to be published in English; the essays were selected by Seferis himself, drawing upon his prose work written over a period of thirty years.
Seferis was a classicist and a humanist, a man of modern sensibility imbued with a deep respect for Mediterranean tradition. He is present in all these aspects in his essays. When he was awarded the Noble Prize for Literature in 1963, the citation spoke of 'his eminent lyrical writings inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture'. Hellenism for Seferis is an enduring style, as alive and as meaningful today as when Homer and Pericles walked the roads of Greece. 'If we were to understand the ancient Greeks,' Seferis writes, 'it is always into the soul of our own people that we should look.'
Thus the central group of essays in this collection is concerned with the spirit of Hellenism as it continues to manifest itself in Greek painting, poetry, history, landscape, and religion. But of equal interest are the essays that explore international themes: art and 'engagement'; the poetry of Eliot and Cavafy; the theatre of Pirandello; and the role of the artist in the modern world; and admirers of Seferis's poetry will take particular pleasure in his introduction to his long poem 'The Thrush', which is followed in this edition by the poem itself.
Various and occasional as these essays are, they are united by the extraordinary sensibility of their author. And they are to be savoured equally for their wisdom, subtlety, and impeccable style.
'As a critic, Seferis belongs to that rare class who are engaged in investigating the art of poetry at the same time as they are creating it. In On the Greek Style, a section of his critical prose which has been excellently translated, Seferis sets down unpretentiously but with intense conviction his reflections on the subjects which are of most concern to him as a poet and as a man.' - The Times Literary Supplement.
- 208 pages, 20.5 x 14.0 cm, sewn pages, 2000