George Seferis is the great Greek poet of the twentieth century, a classic among classics. The formal and thematic versatility of his work, its decisively modern inflections, call Eliot’s poems to mind: fastidious and expansive in equal measure. Like Eliot’s deep-rooted Modernism, Seferis’s never loses touch with the stones and inscriptions of the past. He writes for his and our time, poetically and politically alert: culture can free us or, misapplied, can trammel us. Aptly described as ‘the unlocker of ancient stones and sea voyages’, Seferis was for Peter Levi ‘one of the greatest writers in this century in any language. . . From Seferis it was possible to learn. . . what seriousness about poetry is.’ And Archibald MacLeish wrote, ‘if any contemporary poet can be said to be essential, Seferis is that poet, and this’ – referring to an earlier edition of this book – ‘is the true body of his work’.