Papers of C A Trypanis

Scope and Content

The collection consists of letters from C A Trypanis to Ian Fletcher with poems and two versions of a play The sphinx

Administrative / Biographical History

Constantine Athanasius Trypanis was born in Greece in 1909 and studied law and literature at the University of Athens, gaining a doctorate in 1937 and becoming a reader in 1939. In 1947 he and his wife Aliki came to Oxford where, as Bywater and Sotheby professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek, he was based in Exeter College.

Trypanis was a prolific translator of Greek poetry and plays but was also a poet in his own right. When he settled in England he began to attend the poetry readings held at the London home of George Sutherland Fraser and it was here that he met another poet, Ian Fletcher. Trypanis referred to Fletcher as the master and to himself as the pupil and the two men continued a literary friendship for some years. As time went on Trypanis's work was published and he began a poetry circle of his own in Oxford while Fletcher came to Reading University as a lecturer in English Literature.

In the 1960s Trypanis was invited to various American universities as a visiting professor and in 1968 he left Oxford permanently for Chicago university where he was professor of Classical Literature for the next six years. He had always retained links with his homeland and after the fall of the colonels he returned to Greece, was elected to parliament and served as Minister for Culture and Sciences from 1974-1977 under Constantine Karamanlis. He was also active in the Academy of Athens and worked hard to preserve and promote Graeco-Roman culture and literature. He died in Greece in 1993 at the age of 84.

Access Information

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Acquisition Information

Gift of Ian Fletcher


This description was compiled by Gil Skidmore

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