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Abstract

In his article "The Rhetoric of Dilemma and Cavafean Ambiguity" Anthony Dracopoulos examines the techniques of expression developed in Cavafy's poem "Young men of Sidon." By the beginning of the twentieth century, Cavafy, like other modernist poets, had become acutely aware of the human inability to grasp essence in its entirety and developed various techniques of expression to accommodate the polyphony of perspectives and the ambiguity inherent in modern society. The article argues that Cavafy structures a number of his poems in the form of binary oppositions or dilemmas. However, contrary to expectation, this form of expression does not aim to privilege one side over the other but rather, to engage the reader in a journey for the search of meaning. His poems inhabit an in-between zone and the resultant ambiguity constructs a topography that remains suspended to attempts at resolution and reduction.

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