With what gratitude, what joy!
June 9, 2009 4:53 PM   Subscribe

TranslationFilter: Can you help me track down a particular translation of Cavafy's poem 'Ithaka'?

This post on the front page got me thinking about a Cavafy translation I've been trying to track down for about ten years now. A high school English teacher--who has since retired, and for whom I have no contact information--passed out a copy of Cavafy's Ithaka. The poem was in translation, and the version I saw began, "When you set out for Ithaka / ask that the way be long." In the intervening years, I've tried to track down the poem again, but I've only been able to find translations I'm quite sure are different. Valassopoulo comes closest to my recollection, but his version isn't it. It's not Keeley/Sherrard, John Cavafy, Mendelsohn, or Haviaras, either. A defunct 1998 travel website quotes the version I remember at the bottom of the page, but only briefly, and with no translator attribution. So, MeFites--any Cavafy experts out there who can help--with a translator's name and/or the full version I'm looking for? I may otherwise be doomed to look forever fruitlessly and forlornly through the poetry shelves of used bookstores, which is probably some kind of existential rite of passage for the wannabe intellectual, but all the same I'd really like to find an answer to this particular question.

Many many thanks!
posted by collectallfour to Writing & Language (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Is it this one? It looks like it's Keeley and Sherrard, but from an earlier translation, going back at least to 1961's Six Poets of Modern Greece. (See this search at Google Books for other books with the same version.)
posted by gubo at 5:17 PM on June 9, 2009

Response by poster: Holy cow, I think that's it. This place is amazing. Thanks, gubo!
posted by collectallfour at 5:25 PM on June 9, 2009

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