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Education – Research

For the International Cavafy Summer School 2017, click here .

The inaugural International Cavafy Summer School 2017 has now wrapped up. 15 new researchers and 6 leading academics from all over the world came together in the premises of the Onassis Library, under the auspices of the Onassis Foundation, for an intensive programme consisting of 56 hours of Cavafy.

Students from Italy, Poland, Georgia, USA, Canada and of course Greece attended a series of lectures by academics, translators, writers and artists expounding on the overarching theme of the Summer School, “Cavafy in the World”.  The attending students presented their research, participated in the academic dialogue and extended the discussion onto new research fields. According to Maria Boletsi, Assistant Professor at the Film and Literary Studies Department of Leiden University and one of the instructors at the Cavafy Summer School, “there are different ways of reading Cavafy in the Greek and international academic communities.  Τhe International Cavafy Summer School allowed us to investigate the divergences as well as the tensions inherent between the different interpretations of Cavafy”.

With papers ranging from the multiple translations of Cavafy and the relationship of the poet with 20th century Catalan poetry and the metaphysical aspects of Cavafy’s poetry, participants had the opportunity to discuss their research, as well their personal relationship with the poet. “I translate Cavafy into Georgian. The first time I read the poem ‘The City’ in a Greek instruction book, I knew that I wanted this to be my job”, noted Tatia Mtvarelidze.

The aims of the Onassis Foundation, from the minute it acquired the Cavafy Archive, were clear. A potential fragmentation and dispersal of the Cavafy Archive was avoided and the Archive remains in Greece. Our mission is the protection of the physical archive, the creation of the necessary conditions to ensure its openness and accessibility to researchers and to the wider public; furthermore, our mission is to ensure the dissemination of the Cavafy oeuvre and the international appeal of Cavafy’s poetry. The first International Cavafy Summer School is one of the many initiatives of the Cavafy Archive confirming and expanding on the aims of the Onassis Foundation. The participants, professors and researchers from 10 countries, had the opportunity to come in contact with archival material relevant to the poems of the Alexandrian poet, to see from up close the poet’s manuscripts and notes and to enrich their research and knowledge. During seven productive days, the seed of future collaborations, works and translations was planted in 15 scholars now beginning their research career. New approaches, new viewpoints on Cavafy studies from people with different starting points but with common ground the global appeal of the personality of Cavafy were expressed in the Cavafy Summer School. In the words of world-renowned Cavafy scholar and Professor in the Ohio State University, Gregory Jusdanis “Cavafy enables us to assess the perspective of others”.

Τhe next International Cavafy Summer School whose theme is “Cavafy and Antiquity” has already been planned for July 2018.  The Summer School will be convened by Constanze Güthenke (University of Oxford) and Dimitris Papanikolaou (University of Oxford) and will take place in the premises of the Onassis Library.

Cavafy in the World

The International Cavafy Summer School is a major international annual scholarly event organised by the Cavafy Archive and the Onassis Foundation, the first such event to be devoted exclusively to Cavafy and the impact of his work.

The inaugural summer school will take place on 10-17 July 2017, based at the historical building of the Onassis Foundation in the centre of Athens. The theme for this year is Cavafy in the World. The aim will be to examine Cavafy’s work in wider, indeed global, literary and cultural contexts, to revisit Cavafy as a major figure of world literature and to reassess the impact of his life and work on Greek and international culture.

Among the topics that the first Summer School will aim to revisit are: Cavafy’s relationship to movements such as symbolism, aestheticism, decadence and modernism; Cavafy's dialogue with other literary figures; Cavafy as a cultural myth; the place of biography in Cavafy studies; paratextual uses of Cavafy's poems; the construction of a Cavafy “canon” through editing and translating; Cavafy’s importance for modern queer writing and culture. It will also pose questions such as: What kind of methodological and theoretical approaches can be productive in revisiting Cavafyʼs work as world literature? How does Cavafyʼs appeal as a world literary figure relate to (and challenges) national appropriations of the poet in Greece? How does Cavafyʼs poetry speak to present cultural, social, and political concerns and what kind of responses does it offer to contemporary local and global realities?

The International Cavafy Summer School 2017 will be convened by Dimitris Papanikolaou (Oxford) and Stathis Gourgouris (Columbia), and tutors will include Natalie Melas (Cornell), Maria Boletsi (Leiden), Karen Emmerich (Princeton), Michael Warner (Yale), Gregory Jusdanis (Ohio State) and Patrick McGuinness (Oxford).

Workshops will run mornings and afternoons for 6 days (pending finalised timetable). Built around morning seminars and afternoon research presentations, this year’s programme aims to enrich and enhance the participants’ knowledge of Cavafy and his work, opening up new directions and comparative perspectives within world literature, while simultaneously broadening the scope of Cavafy research. The tutors, all senior experts in the field, will offer comprehensive 3-hour seminars in the mornings. Τhe fifteen junior participants (doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers and early career academics) will be invited to present their work in the afternoon sessions, receive feedback from their peers, and engage in discussion. Additional lectures, performances and events will also be scheduled for the duration of the School.

One of the aims of the International Cavafy Summer School is to encourage future collaborations and research, especially among scholars who follow different methodologies and are at different stages of their career. For this reason, successful applicants will be notified by Monday 24th April 2017, and will be required to submit a version of their presentation in advance.

Thanks to a grant from the Onassis Foundation, the Summer School will be able to cover all expenses for tuition, accommodation and subsistence for all participants. There is, therefore, no fee requirement for tuition. Students and early career researchers can also apply for a grant to cover all or part of their travel expenses for coming to Athens.

Application process and deadlines

The International Cavafy Summer School is a unique opportunity to attend world-class talks and to showcase new research. Doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers and early-career academics whose work relates to the fields of Comparative Literature, World Literature, Gender Studies, Cavafy Studies, Greek Studies and related areas, and who would like to take part in the International Cavafy Summer School are encouraged to apply with: 

a) a letter containing a short overview of their current research and their motivation for participating in the school (no more than 500 words)
b) a description of the specific topic they would be able to tackle in the Summer School in a 30 minute presentation (no more than 300 words), as well as
c) a full CV and
d) the name of one referee who can be contacted to provide support for their application.

The working language of the Cavafy Summer School will be English. Proceedings will be recorded and parts of the talks published online on the Cavafy website. Knowledge of Modern Greek is not a prerequisite, but familiarity with Cavafy’s work is. 

Deadline for applications for the 2017 Cavafy Summer School: Monday 20 March 2017.
All applications should be submitted in English.

Please address all relevant material and any inquiries to: Theodoros Chiotis and Marianna Christofi at

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