Cavafy’s World was made possible by a transatlantic collaboration between the Kelsey Museum and two archives in Athens, Greece: The Center for Neo-Hellenic Studies (S.N.H.) and the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archives (E.L.I.A.). S.N.H. is located on Mourouzi Street across from the National Garden. A keystone of its collection is the Cavafy Library and Archive, purchased by the late Professor George Savidis in 1969 from Kyvele Sengopoulou, who inherited it from Aleko Sengopoulos, Cavafy’s heir. E.L.I.A., the largest private archive in Greece, with more than 700,000 photographs and postcards, thousands of maps, newspapers, and objects, and 120,000 books, has its archives, research library, and offices at the heart of the Plaka. E.L.I.A. obtained Cavafy manuscripts through a fortuitous discovery at the city dump. Cavafy’s pipe and glasses entered its collections through other connections. The Cavafy manuscripts, photos, and objects as well as the photos of Alexandria in the exhibition have never before traveled across the Atlantic Ocean. The Kelsey Museum is grateful to Manolis Savidis of S.N.H. and to Manos Charitatos and Alexandra Charitatou of E.L.I.A. for their assistance, cooperation, and support.

Most English translations of Cavafy’s poems are from C. P. Cavafy Collected Poems © 1975, 1992 by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard, revised edition. Other translations are by Ray Dalven, Theoharis C. Theoharis, and John Chioles.

Cavafy’s World received generous support from the following institutions:

  • Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation
  • Foundation for Modern Greek Culture
  • Greek Ministry of Culture
  • University of Michigan:
    • Office of the Vice President for Research
    • Constantine A. Tsangadas Trust of the Rackham School
    • College of Literature, Science and the Arts
    • Institute for Research on Women and Gender
    • Contexts for Classics
    • Department of Classical Studies
    • Former President Lee Bollinger
    • The Associates of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

Cavafy’s World was co-organized by the Kelsey Museum and the C. P. Cavafy Professorship in Modern Greek, an academic position endowed by the Foundation for Modern Greek Studies. The curators are grateful to the Foundation for its gift to the University and continued support.


The book accompanying the exhibition, ". . . what these Ithakas mean." Readings in Cavafy, in Greek and English, presents Cavafy’s life and poetry as well as responses by current readers to 45 of his poems. Edited by Artemis Leontis, Lauren Talalay, and Keith Taylor, the volume is lavishly illustrated with documentary photographs relating to Cavafy’s life and images of objects from the Kelsey Museum collection that resonate with his poems. 148 pages.


For more information on Cavafy, see the web sites of the Cavafy Archive and the Cavafy Museum in Alexandria.