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This review is taken from PN Review 3, Volume 4 Number 3, April - June 1978.

A POET'S JOURNAL George Seferis, Days of 1945-1951: A Poet's Journal, Harvard University Press, $4.00.

Anyone who has benefited from a reading of Seferis' poems will want to read this extract from his extensive journals, translated into excellent English by Athan Anagnostopoulos, and with an informative and helpful introduction by Walter Kaiser. There is much to be learnt about modern Greek culture and recent history in the period these journals cover, since Seferis' day to day life can claim to have been close to the centre of both, and the book becomes, in this respect, an acute barometer of feeling in those postwar years. Although these are not what Seferis calls in his introductory note 'the private notebooks of my public life', not a record of his work in government service, they show how deeply the sentiments of a man recording impressions, making notes for poems, analysing his own feelings, prove to be just as telling. Literary issues and historical ones, personal experience and public experience, are very much the same kind of experience here, rather than shuffled into their separate notebooks. In conjunction with this book, it is illuminating to read the volume of Seferis' essays available in English, On the Greek Style (Bodley Head, 1966), many of which were written during the period in question, and which also point to ways in which 'Hellenism' or 'Greek style' or 'Greek history' involve a Greek writer almost as one entity. In more than one sense illuminating too, since much of the journal involves a dialogue with the Greek light itself, with the ways things ...


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