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NOTES The following notes are intended to be factual rather than interpretive. Some derive from Seferis's own notes to the sixth edition of his Ποιήματα (Athens, 1965). A few are based upon George Savidis's detailed notes to Seferis's Logbook III, in­ cluded in Για τον Σεφέρη, ed. G. P. Savidis (Athens, 1961), pp. 304-409, and published separately as Μια Περιδιάβαση (Athens, 1962). T h e additional notes are included to assist the Englishspeaking reader generally, as well as the specialist in modern Greek literature. Page 1 The colloquial meaning of the title is "novel," but it has other connotations also, as the poet indicates in the following note: MYTHiSTOREMA—it is its two components that made me choose the title of this work: MYTHOS, because I have used, clearly enough, a certain mythology; ISTORIA [both "history" and "story"], because I have tried to express, with some co­ herence, circumstances that are as independent from myself as the characters in a novel. 1 Poesies, "Fetes de la Faim," 11. 3-4. 4 The "poet" referred to is Dionysios Solomos, and the phrase cited is from his prose work, The Woman of Zakynthos, Chap. I. 5 Aeschylus, The Libation Bearers, 491. Orestes is speaking at Agamemnon's tomb, reminding his father of the bath where he was slain by Clytemnestra. 6 The quotation is from Plato, Alcibiades, 133 B. In a note on the poem, Seferis says that these words, spoken by Socrates to Alcibiades, once gave him a sensation akin to that evoked by the following lines from Baudelaire's "La mort des amants": Nos deux coeurs seront deux vastes flambeaux, Qui r£fl£chiront leurs doubles lumieres Dans nos deux esprits, ces miroirs jumeaux. 7 See Homer, Od. xi. 75ft., where the shade of Elpenor, young­ est of Odysseus' companions, asks that his oar be planted on his seashore grave to perpetuate his memory. See also the note to page 281 on Elpenor. 9 The initials are those of Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), the French composer. 261 NOTES TO PAGES 1 4 - 4 4 14 In Homeric mythology the meadow of asphodels is the dwell­ ing-place of the dead. See Od. xi and xxiv. i2ff. 15 During the wedding ceremony in the Orthodox Church, the bridal pair exchange both crowns and rings. 15 The Symplegades, through which Jason and the Argonauts had to pass, were dangerous clashing rocks at the juncture of the Bosphorus and the Black Sea (Pontus Euxinus). 17 See note to page 7. 18 Hydra, a rock island off the northeastern coast of the Peloponnese , contributed substantially to the naval forces that helped to win independence for Greece in the early nineteenth cen­ tury. This contribution is celebrated annually with colorful festivities. 20 Pliny, Letters, 1, 3. 22 Sophocles, Electra, 694. From the passage which describes Orestes' participation in the chariot-races at Delphi. 24 Younger son of Hector and Andromache. At the fall of Troy he was either flung from the walls by Neoptolemus or killed by Odysseus. See also the Iliad, vi. 402-403. 27 Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 1. 958. The line is from the speech by Clytemnestra justifying Agamemnon's treading on the purple carpet leading into the palace. 31 See Od. x. 526ft. where Odysseus is instructed by Circe to sacrifice, on visiting the dead, a young lamb and a black ewe, turning their heads towards Erebus. 39 In a note to the first edition of Book of Exercises, the poet writes: "This book is made up either of various poems which have no place in any of the other selections that I've already published or might publish later, or of occasional pieces dedi­ cated to friends, or of exercises, some more complete in form than others. Under the circumstances, the book has, I imagine, no other coherence than that provided by ten years of continu­ ous effort towards poetic expression, and perhaps it is nothing more than a contribution to criticism." 42 Kifisia is a cool, well-watered residential district lying some eight miles north of central Athens. 42 Aedipsos, on the northwest coast of Euboea, has been a famous spa since Roman times. 44 George Theotokas (1905-1966) wrote a number of novels and plays, including ^4rgo, a novel translated into English and pub­ lished in London by Methuen and Co. Ltd. in 1951. Theotokas "discovered" Syngrou Avenue in his early work, Ελεύθερο τίνενμα (Free Spirit), published in 1929. The avenue, running from the Temple of Olympian Zeus to Faleron and the sea, was...


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