Hotel Pen-pals: An E. M. Forster Letter to C. P. Cavafy

Updated: Aug 22, 2020

By Athanasios Dimakis



LUNA PARK HOTEL TELEPHONE NO. 15-92 MEDINA

KAMEL STREET TELEGRAMS: “LUNA HOTEL”

OPPOSITE COOK’S OFFICES

CAIRO, EGYPT

Cairo, 14-9-1929


My dear Cavafy,

All goes well, and if it continues to go so, please expect me on your

door step Tuesday at 9.0. I got your letter at Mombasa. Thank you so

much for it.

Yours ever

E. M. Forster.

qtd. in The Forster-Cavafy Letters: Friends at a Slight Angle (ed. Peter Jeffreys, 99).

On September 14, 1929 E. M. Forster writes the above letter to C. P. Cavafy from the hospitable Luna Park Hotel in Cairo notifying the Greek poet of his fast-approaching visit to Cavafy’s “notorious” Alexandrian residence. In spite of its taciturn nature, the letter seems to constitute an extension of Forster’s “more general exploratory and heuristic relationship with Alexandria itself” (Jeffreys Forster-Cavafy Letters; 4). Through Cavafy, Forster gains access to the cultural capital of Egypt and subsequently historicizes the decadent hedonism of Alexandria and its abundant historical lore in Pharos and Pharillon. His decade-old penfriend, the Alexandrian poet himself, is indispensable to this historicizing project as the chapter “The Poetry of C. P. Cavafy” clearly suggests (91-97).

Works Cited:

Forster, Edward Morgan. (1908) Alexandria: A History and Guide, London and New

York: Tauris Parke Paperbacks. 2014.

---. (1923) Pharos and Pharillon: A Book of Essays on Alexandria, Ancient and Modern.

Richmond, Surrey: The Hogarth Press. 1923.

Jeffreys, Peter (ed.,) E. M. Forster – Κ. Π. ΚΑΒΑΦΗΣ: Φίλοι σε ελαφρήν απόκλιση.

Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Ίκαρος. 2013.

---. The Forster-Cavafy Letters: Friends at a Slight Angle. Cairo and New York: The

American University in Cairo Press. 2009.

The Cavafy Archive, Onassis Foundation. © 2016-2018,

https://cavafy.onassis.org/object/forster-42/. Accessed 1 Aug. 2020.



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