Cavafy’s Homer

Daniel Mendelsohn at The Hudson Review:

How did Constantine Cavafy get to “Ithaca”? Not the island, of course, but the 1911 poem that is Cavafy’s most famous and best-loved work, which begins by admonishing its nameless second-person addressee—who may be Homer’s Odysseus, but could also be us, the reader—to “hope that the road is a long one, / filled with adventures, filled with discoveries” as he “sets out on the way to Ithaca”: the hero’s island home, the all-important destination in the myths that Homer’s poems adapted, perhaps the most famous destination in world literature. Certainly “Ithaca” is the poet’s most famous and beloved work, at least in the anglophone world and particularly in America, where a reading of it at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ funeral in 1994 briefly made Cavafy a bestseller.

more here.