Anglo-Hellenic Review on Cyprus, Seferis

Like its 27 previous issues, the Anglo-Hellenic Review’s Autumn 2003 edition is full of interest for serious philhellenes everywhere while still very much a British concern. As a link between the Anglo-Saxon and Hellenic worlds it remains peerless, with its thorough but concise review of literature, history and current issues all in a packed and carefully edited 30 or so pages. And after a summer of noxious British behavior on Greek shores, it is also a highbrow tonic for those of deflated faith in cultural exchange. For those who mistake «Greece» for «the Greek world,» this issue is a timely reminder that Cyprus also plays a pivotal role the eastern Mediterranean. The opening editorial offers cautious hope for a lasting political solution, describing the «unhappy but necessary catharsis» offered by the opening of intra-Cyprus borders earlier this year. Next comes a summary of the wide-ranging – and all but unknown – charitable activities of the A.G. Leventis Foundation, now celebrating its 25th year but lamenting the untimely death of its chairman, Constantine Leventis. Here Prof. Vassos Karageorgos describes its cultural promotion works ranging from preserving monuments and folklore architecture to the repatriation of stolen treasures and, in Greece, other restorations at e.g. Olympia and Philippi. The review’s editor, Paul Watkins, then takes over with his «Cyprus Diary 2003,» documenting travels north and south, and a brief but broad-ranging review essay on the British in Cyprus. It’s not always charitable – describing British civil servants on Aphrodite’s island as «oblivious of any qualities that might justify a closer acquaintance» – but notes achievements like excavations and even reforestation, and continuing ties even in tourism (half of Cyprus’s 2 million annual visitors are British). Two little-known projects, in politics (the British-Greek All-Party Parliamentary Group) and in literature (updating the ancient Greek lexicon) indicate still-strong undercurrents of cooperative energy. A Roderick Beaton essay on the life of George Seferis is the volume’s centerpiece, documenting his political and literary lives that paralleled but also sometimes clashed with each other. His death in 1971 was mourned widely and proved a focus of anti-junta sentiment. More recent deaths are also mourned here, including Joan Leigh Fermor, Patrick Leigh Fermor’s wife, and Betty Ryan, who inspired the trip that led to Henry Miller’s «Colossus of Maroussi.» A review of the Runciman Award for 2003 (won by Sir John Boardman for «The Archaeology of Nostalgia») kicks off the review section that includes finalists for the award and over a dozen other, mostly academic volumes. Those who think Greek scholarship is a manly concern will note female authors like Sian Lewis, Ioli Kalavrezou and Susan Alcock, authorities on Athenian and Byzantine women and Greek archaeology, respectively. Two Richard Clogg volumes, two others on political prisoners (by Polymeris Voglis) and the 1923 population exchange (ed. by Renee Hirschon), and one on protecting the Caretta-caretta turtle are also reviewed. Even the lighter books, the diary of a traveling American missionary and an Edward Enfield travelogue, have plenty of cultural content too. All interesting, just not for those seeking comic books.

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