13.03.1900 – 20.09.1971
G. Seferis is a Greek poet, essayist and diplomat, who won a Noble Prize of Literature in 1963. He is considered to be one of the most important Greek poets of the 20th century and the most distinguished Greek poet of the pre-war generation of the 1930s. Combination of the everyday speech and traditional poetic language is characteristic to G.Seferis creation.
G. Seferis, with the real name Georgios Seferiades was born in Asia Minor, in Smyrna in 1900. He attended school in Smyrna and finished his studies at Gymnasium in Athens, where he moved with his family in the age of 14. Later he continued his studies in law in University of Paris. During the time in Paris he became interested in literature and he familiarized himself with contemporary French literature.
In 1920s he decided to enter the diplomatic service. In 1925 Seferis returned to Athens and started his diplomatic career in Royal Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He held posts in England (1931-1934) and Albania (1936-1938). Later, during the second world war Seferis accompanied Greek government officials into exile. He lived in Crete, Egypt, South Africa, and Italy. After the war he held diplomatic posts in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and he was also a Greek ambassador in London (1957-1962).
He retired from governmental service in 1962 and settled in Athens.
The literary creation by G. Seferis consists mainly poetry. In addition of poetry he has also written a book of essays and several translations.
The first collection of Seferis poems is called STROFI (1931, The Turning Point), which also contains a poem “Denial”, written after he breaking up with his first great love Jacqueline Pouyollon. The poem was later set to music by Mikis Theodorakis.
The second collection I STERNA (1932) contained poems with simplistic influence.
In the collection MYTHISTORIMA (1935) he achieved a style that influenced the development of Greek verse and also created a link between traditional and modern expression.
His travels have affected strongly his writings, which are filled with the themes of alienation, wandering, and death. The theme of wandering was developed in in three collections, Logbooks, written in Albania, South Africa and in Italy (1940-65).
In his poems Seferis used the language spoken by literate Greeks combined with his own experiences with history.
In 1963 Seferis was awarded the Noble Prize for Literature because of the role he had played in Greek 20th century literature and culture.
Seferis also took a stand against right-wing Regime of the Colonels in 1967. In 1967 he made a statement in on the BBC World Service against widespread censorship, political detentions and torture, which was also distributed to all the newspapers in Athens. He became a popular hero against the regime. At his funeral people followed his coffin through the streets singing Seferis`poem “Denial”.
Information about G. Seferis in internet
- Poems by G.Seferis available in internet:
- poems and Nobel Prize speech: http://www.poemhunter.com/i/ebooks/pdf/giorgos_seferis_2006_3.pdf
- Material avaliable in the youtube: