Constantine P. Cavafy was born in Alexandria in 1863 and died there on the morning of his 70th birthday in 1933. He worked as an employee in the Irrigation Service at the Ministry of Public Works in Alexandria and was a leading figure in the literary life of the city. Surprisingly, he chose not to publish any collected edition of his poems during his lifetime, but preferred to circulate small privately printed collections among his friends, seemingly confident of the afterlife of his work and of his subsequent recognition. The first collection of his poems was published in 1935, and the international acclaim for his work has grown ever since.
Cavafy is for me not only the great poet of the Levant,
but of all culture in decline – which makes him universal in this century.
— John Fowles