John Mavrogordato

John Nicholas Mavrogordato (1882-1970) was the son of Greek parents, but himself thoroughly anglicised. The DNB summarises his early life thus: “From 1908 to 1912 he worked as a reader and literary adviser for various publishers, and from 1910 to 1912 as sub-editor of the English Review. From November 1912 to April 1913 he was the correspondent of the Westminster Gazette in Greece, covering the Balkan wars. During the same period he served on the International Committee for the Relief of Turkish Refugees, set up in Salonika. He was unfit for active service in the First World War. In 1914 he published Cassandra in Troy, a tragedy illustrating the evil consequences of war. On 14 November that year he married Christine Maud Humphreys (1886–1971), daughter of George Humphreys, cabinet maker. They had two sons.”

Mavrogordato ultimately became an academic at the age of 57, but is best known as the pacifist supporter of a Hellenic republic (an eccentric plan) and for being the first to translate Cavafy (again, the quality of his translation is disputed). His DNB entry is here. At the time of his victory, he had just finished writing a book on modern Greece – the July 1932 review in The Spectator is here. He was painted by Mark Gertler in 1926, and the image can be seen here.


Wins 108A: 10s 6d

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