My essay on the Constantine P. Cavafy’s Julian the Apostate poems has been published on the University of Michigan’s Cavafy Forum online journal.
Cavafy is a Greek Alexandrian modernist who worked around the turn of the 20th century. The Julian poems are a series of historical poems about the last pagan emperor of Rome.
My contention is, basically, that in denying Julian, Cavafy is embracing himself, the real Cavafy, with all his trials and shortcomings, rather than electing to live in an imaginary past, however attractive.
Considering the fact that I once wrote a poem, “Reading Cavafy,” about how I’d never revisit the historical poems, writing the essay was as much of a surprise as actually placing it.