George Seferis

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Seferis, George


(pen name of Giorgos Seferiades). Born Feb. 19, 1900, in İzmir, Turkey; died Sept. 20, 1971, in Athens. Greek poet.

Seferis moved to Athens in 1914. From 1918 to 1925 he studied law in Paris, and between 1926 and 1962 he served in the diplomatic corps. In 1931 he published his first collection of verse, The Turning Point, which was followed by the collections The Cistern (1932), Mythistorema (1935), Exercise Book (1940), Log Book I (1940), Log Book II (1944), The Thrush (1947), and Log Book III (1955). The metaphor of the deck of a ship, often used in his verse, represents a continually moving stage where the poet acts and meditates. His works portray modern themes through the use of Greek mythology. The verses of the 1930’s are permeated with elegiac recollections of childhood and dramatic reflections on the defeat of Greece in the Turkish War of Independence of 1919–22. During World War II, Seferis extolled the resistance fighters in their struggle for freedom. He was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1963.


Poiemata. Athens, 1963.
Journal (1945–1951). Translated from Greek by L. Gaspar. Paris, 1973.
In Russian translation:
“Lik sud’by.” [Verses.] In Inostrannaia literatura, 1969, no. 9.


Mochos, Ia. V. Kostas Varnalis i literatura grecheskogo Soprotivleniia. Moscow, 1968.
Mirambel, A. Georges Seferis: Prix Nobel 1963. Paris, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Along the way, she crossed paths with other seminal modern artists such as Natalie Clifford Barney, Renee Vivien, Isadora Duncan, Susan Glaspell, George Cram Cook, Richard Strauss, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Nikos Kazantzakis, George Seferis, Henry Miller, Paul Robeson, and Ted Shawn, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.
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His friend, poet George Seferis, accused Leigh Fermor of "Penelopization." He composed during the day and picked the text apart at night, forestalling its completion, just as Penelope put off her suitors by picking apart each day's weaving while awaiting Ulysses.
(Wright blows the unities of time and place to high heaven.) Other figures include "Don Alfonso," "Don Lupe," "Stratis Thalassinos" (the Greek poet, George Seferis), "the Cusan" (Nicholas of Cusa?), "Baca" ("biblical Baca"), (Luis) "Cernuda," (Jose) "Gorostiza," "the Intrusive, Insubstantial, Hypertensive, and Insulting Ronald Firbank," "Thomas the Pythagorean Scot," "Langston" (Hughes), "Brumo," "the Carolingian," "Aden," "the Parisian," "the Egyptian," "my Ecuatoriano," and perhaps most curiously of all, "Daisy Fawcett." Wright's sobriquets, which leave the origins of many figures in obscurity, suggest a symposium of intimates, or a gallery of alter egos.
The Nobel League of diplomat-poets includes Gabriela Mistral, Saint-John Perse, George Seferis, Ivo Andric, Miguel Angel Asturias, Pablo Neruda and Octovio Paz.
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In his influential essay on Cavafy's poetics, the main proponent of this thesis, George Seferis writes: