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Kyoritsu Women’s University & Greek-Japanese Association: Invited Talk on Cavafy

IMG_0089Martha Vassiliadi, “LADIES PORTRAITS FROM A NON-LADIES MAN: WOMEN IN CAVAFY’S POETRY”, Invited Talk, Kyoritsu Women’s University & Greek-Japanese Association, 6th November 2015, Tokyo, Japan.

Abstract: It is always perplexing, almost vain to present the main aspects of Cavafy’s poetry in a large audience and in this always difficult process, there is this liberating phrase that E.M. Forster, one of the poets first British admirers pronounced, after meeting him during World War I. Recognizing immediately Cavafy’s « uniqueness », Forster simply and accurately said that « the poet stood at a slight angle at the universe ». In these words which became since a descriptive cliché, the story of Cavafy’s life, a rather common, unadventurous life meets the myth. The myth of a Greek poet of Alexandria at the end of the tumultuous 19th century, a poet who dared to invent a new historical consciousness and who dared to express in a postromantic and conservative era a (homosexual) strategy of erotic liberation. The title of tonight’s lecture seems as a fake dilemma or almost sacrilege, since it is well known how Cavafy did not love the “weak” sex, how he rejected the post romantic voluptuousness of his time and how he wasn’t inspired by passions and mythical separations. But how and from what poetic passage Cavafy slips, even “imperceptibly” in the ontological cosmology of Women ? How and by what virtue women gain a place in Cavafy’s ritual of historical construction, how do they fit in this highly erotic gay scenery?

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EVA/MINERVA 2014: Decadent myths in a digital Era


Martha Vassiliadi, “Decadent myths in a digital Era”, EVA / Minerva 2014, Electronic Information, the Visual Arts and Beyond, XIth Annual International Conference for Professionals in Cultural Heritage, 11th November, 2014, Van Leer Jerusalem, Institute, Jerusalem, Israel.

Abstract: It is well known that the Decadent movement in European literature (fin de siècle) depends on the narrative of the antiquity, as it is revealed from the discoveries of archaeology in the second half of the 19th century. Amid the ruins of the past authors, painters and poets reconceptualize time and history through a modernist vision based on a imaginary reconfiguration of the antiquity. In this context, the myth of a city (Pompei) or of a woman (Salomé) offer examples which would illustrate in a great variety the synergy of a multi temporal and multi cultural memory of the myth. We describe a methodology on how mixed reality simulations should capitalize on these literary mythical notions in order to provide an enhanced feeling of presence for the heritage site visitor. These are on-going results of a research project from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki that seeks to study and present to the research community a comparative interpretation of female myths of biblical heroines using modern theoretical readings on gender and retrospectively historical and literary texts combined with mixed reality simulation technologies.

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