The only collection of Yves Bonnefoy's criticism in English, this volume offers a coherent statement of poetic philosophy and intent—a clear expression of the values and convictions of the French poet whom many critics regard as the most important and influential of our time. The Introduction touches on many of the essays' concerns, including Bonnefoy's recourse to moral and religious categories, his particular use of Saussure's distinction between langue and parole, his early fascination with Surrealism, and his view of translation as "a metaphysical and moral experiment." The essays, published over a nearly thirty-year span, respond to one another, the more recent pieces taking up for renewed consideration ideas developed in earlier meditations, thereby providing the volume with integrity and completeness. Among the subjects addressed in these essays are the French poetic tradition, the art of translation, and the works of Shakespeare, of which Bonnefoy is the preeminent French translator.
Mythologies offers illuminating examples of the workings of myth in the structure of societies past and present—how we create, use, and are guided by systems of myth to answer fundamental questions about ourselves and our world.
Almost all of Mythologies, originally published as a two-volume cloth set, is now available in four paperback volumes. These volumes reproduce the articles, introductory essays, and illustrations as they appeared in the full Mythologies set, and each includes a new Preface by Wendy Doniger.
This volume gathers eighty articles on mythologies from around the world. A section on the Americas and the South Pacific covers myths of native Americans, from the Inuit to the Mesoamericans, about such topics as the cosmos, fire, and the creation of the world. Essays on African mythology range from the 266 basic signs of West Africa to themes such as twins, the placenta, and masks. The final section, covering Celtic, Norse, and Slavic traditions opens with an overview of the Indo-Europeans and concludes with an essay on the religion and myths of Armenia.
Edited by Yves Bonnefoy University of Chicago Press, 1993 Library of Congress BL1005.D5313 1993 | Dewey Decimal 291.13095
These 130 articles explore mythologies in societies from India to Japan. Among the many topics are Buddhist and Hindu symbolic systems, myth in pre-Islamic Iran, Indonesian rites of passage, Chinese cosmology and demons, and Japanese conceptions of the afterlife and the "vital spirit." The mythological traditions of Turkey, Korea, Tibet, and Mongolia are also included.
"The almost 100 contributors combine, with characteristic precision and élan, the arts of science and poetry, of analysis and translation. The result is a treasury of information, brilliant guesswork, witty asides, and revealing digressions. This is a work of genuine and enduring excitement."—Thomas D'Evelyn, Christian Science Monitor
The seventy-two entries in this volume explore, among other topics, the history, geography, and religion of Greece, Plato's mythology and philosophy, the powers of marriage in Greece, heroes and gods of war in the Greek epic, and origins of mankind in Greek myths. Ancient Egyptian cosmology, anthropology, rituals, and religion—closely linked to Greek mythology—are also discussed.
"In a world that remains governed by powerful myths, we must deepen our understanding of ourselves and others by considering more carefully the ways in which the mythological systems to which we cling and social institutions and movements to which we are committed nourish each other. Yves Bonnefoy's Mythologies not only summarizes the progress that has already been made toward this end, but also lays the foundation for the difficult work that lies ahead."—Mark C. Taylor, New York Times Book Review
"The almost 100 contributors combine, with characteristic precision and élan, the arts of science and poetry, of analysis and translation. The result is a treasury of information, brilliant guesswork, witty asides, and revealing digressions. This is a work of genuine and enduring excitement."—Thomas D'Evelyn, Christian cience Monitor
In the Shadow's Light
Yves Bonnefoy University of Chicago Press, 1991 Library of Congress PQ2603.O533C413 1991 | Dewey Decimal 841.914
This bilingual edition of the contemporary master's fifth work, Ce qui fut sans lumi, re, will delight, engage, and stir all lovers of poetry. Included here is an extensive new interview with the poet in English translation.
"Included here is a very helpful and touchingly personal interview with the poet. . . . For readers with no prior knowledge of Bonnefoy's work, this volume would be an excellent place to start."—Stephen Romer, Times Literary Supplement
Yves Bonnefoy, France's most important living poet, is also a literary and art critic of renown; in writing so extensively on the visual arts, he continues the critical tradition begun in the eighteenth century by Diderot and continued in succeeding centuries by Baudelaire, Apollinaire, and other leading French poets.
The sixteen essays collected here show the breadth and depth of Bonnefoy's writings on art, aesthetics, and poetics. His lyrical ruminations range across centuries and cultures, from Byzantium to postwar France, from the paintings of Piero della Francesca to the sculptures of Alberto Giacometti and the photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson, from the Italian Giorgio Morandi to the American Edward Hopper. Always fascinated in his poetry by the nature of color and light and the power of the image, Bonnefoy continues to pursue these themes in his discussion of the lure and truth of representation. He sees the painter as a poet whose language is a visual one, and seeks to find out what visual artists can teach those who work with words. More philosophical than historical and more poetic than critical, the essays express Bonnefoy's deep sympathy for the creative process and his great passion for individual works of art.
Bonnefoy's engagement with great art in The Lure and the Truth of Painting sheds light on the philosophy of presence and being that animates his poems. This book will be welcomed by lovers of Bonnefoy's poems and by everyone interested in the creation, history, and appreciation of art.
Yves Bonnefoy's numerous books include New and Selected Poems and In the Shadow's Light, both published by the University of Chicago Press. Richard Stamelman is director of the Center for Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and professor of romance languages at Williams College. He is the author of Lost beyond Telling: Representations of Death and Absence in Modern French Poetry.
"Few exponents of contemporary French letters deserve the attention of the reading public in America more than Yves Bonnefoy. . . . [His] writings . . . are an important lighthouse on the contemporary cultural coastline."—Emily Grosholz, The Hudson Review
Edited by Yves Bonnefoy University of Chicago Press, 1991 Library of Congress BL311.D513 1991 | Dewey Decimal 291.1303
With 395 original articles written by leading scholars, it is a remarkable encounter with the mythologies of cultures past and present—the web of stories, traditions, rituals, practices, beliefs, divine figures, sacred objects, and great themes that define civilization.
Drawing on a breathtaking array of sources, from the history of religions to anthropology, archaeology, literature, and linguistics, the contributors define a new approach to the understanding of myth in society.
For this first English-language edition, the articles have been rearranged by region or culture. Together they comprise an exceptionally broad, stimulating introduction to the religious and mythical traditions of the world—from the idea of death in Ancient Egypt to the ideology of nationalism in modern Europe. Greeks and Romans are here in force, naturally, but so too are the Bantu, Dinka, and Dogon of Africa and the Armenians, Mongols, and Turks of Asia.
Readers of Mythologies will discover a wealth of fresh primary sources on such little known traditions as those of the Vietnamese—and bold, provocative new interpretations of well-studied traditions, such as those of classical Greece.
New and Selected Poems
Yves Bonnefoy University of Chicago Press, 1995 Library of Congress PQ2603.O533A2 1995 | Dewey Decimal 841.914
Yves Bonnefoy, celebrated translator and critic, is widely considered the most important and influential French poet since World War II. Named to the College de France in 1981 to fill the chair left vacant by the death of Roland Barthes, Bonnefoy was the first poet honored in this way since Paul Valery. Winner of many awards, including the Prix Goncourt in 1987 and the Hudson Review's Bennett Award in 1988, he is the author of six critically acclaimed books of poetry.
Spanning four decades and drawing on all of Bonnefoy's major collections, this selection provides a comprehensive overview of and an ideal introduction to his work. The elegant translations, many of them new, are presented in this dual-language edition alongside the original French. Several significant works appear here in English for the first time, among them, in its entirety, Bonnefoy's 1991 book of verse, The Beginning and the End of the Snow, the 1988 prose poem Where the Arrow Falls, and an important long poem from 1993, "Wind and Smoke." Together with poems from such classic volumes as "In the Lure of the Threshold", these new works shed light on the growth as well as the continuity of Bonnefoy's work.
John Naughton's detailed introduction looks at the evolution of Bonnefoy's poetry from the 1953 publication of "On the Motion and Immobility of Douve", which immediately established his reputation as one of France's leading poets, through the 1993 publication of The Wandering Life and its centerpiece "Wind and Smoke."
"This is a comprehensive selection that contains examples of work spanning [Bonnefoy's] full career of forty years, from the ground-breaking "Du Mouvement et de l'Immobilité de Douve" through the celebratory "Pierre Ecrite" to the magical winter landscapes of America's East Coast and an unsettling reworking of myth in the recent "La Vie Errante" . . . The translations, which are the work of a variety of hands, including Galway Kinnell, Emily Grosholz and Anthony Rudolf, nevertheless fit well together and all are sensitive to the register and subtleties of both languages, while the introductory essay by John Naughton expertly explains Bonnefoy's importance as a poet and the influences which have shaped him. This is definitely a volume worth having, for layman and French specialist alike."—Hilary Davies, Times Literary Supplement
"Anyone not familiar with Bonnefoy's work will benefit from the background information and explanations given by John Naughton in his excellent introduction . . . . The book as a whole provides an excellent introduction to Bonnefoy's poetry and to his concerns of a lifetime."—Don Rodgers, Poetry Wales
Yves Bonnefoy is the most important and influential French poet to have emerged since the Second World War. Poet, art critic, historian, translator (particularly of Shakespeare), specialist in the problem of the relation of poetry to the visual arts and to the history of religions, Bonnefoy is now considered one of the most distinguished men of letters of his generation.
Though Bonnefoy's work is familiar to American scholars, the complexity of his thought and style has created a need for a critical introduction to his work. This first major study of Bonnefoy written in English provides an overview of his entire literary career. Naughton situates Bonnefoy in the context of the existential philosophical tradition that nurtured him and in the poetic and artistic tradition that includes Dante and Shakespeare, Piero and Poussin, Baudelaire and Rimbaud. Bonnefoy's poems appear in both French and English, and all quotations from his prose have been translated.
This book will appeal not only to the growing number of students and scholars of French literature interested in Bonnefoy's work, but also to those who study comparative poetry and the relation of poetry to art and to contemporary religious thought.
In December 2015, six months before his death at the age of 93, Yves Bonnefoy concluded what was to be his last major text in prose, L’écharpe rouge, translated here as The Red Scarf. In this unique book, described by the poet as "an anamnesis"—a formal act of commemoration—Bonnefoy undertakes, at the end of his life, a profoundly moving exegesis of some fragments written in 1964. These fragments lead him back to an unspoken, lifelong anxiety: “My most troubling memory, when I was between ten and twelve years old, concerns my father, and my anxiety about his silence.” Bonnefoy offers an anatomy of his father’s silence, and of the melancholy that seemed to take hold some years into his marriage to the poet’s mother.
At the heart of this book is the ballad of Elie and Hélène, the poet’s parents. It is the story of their lives together in the Auvergne, and later in Tours, seen through the eyes of their son—the solitary boy’s intense but inchoate experience, reviewed through memories of the now elderly man. What makes The Red Scarf indispensable is the intensely personal nature of the material, casting its slant light, a setting sun, on all that has gone before.
Roman and European Mythologies
Edited by Yves Bonnefoy University of Chicago Press, 1992 Library of Congress BL689.D5313 1992 | Dewey Decimal 291.13094
This volume begins with Roman myths and traces their influence in
early Christian and later European literature. Ninety-five entries
by leading scholars cover subjects such as sacrificial cults and rites
in pre-Roman Italy, Roman religion and its origins, the mythologies of
paganism, the survival of the ancient gods in the Middle Ages and the
Renaissance, gypsy myths and rituals, romanticism and myth in Blake,
Nerval, and Balzac, and myth in twentieth-century English literature.
Mythologies offers illuminating examples of the workings of
myth in the structure of societies past and present—how we create,
use, and are guided by systems of myth to answer fundamental questions
about ourselves and our world.
Many of the sections in Mythologies, originally published as a
two-volume cloth set, will soon be available in four paperback volumes
(two are announced here; two more are scheduled for 1993). These
volumes will reproduce the articles, introductory essays, and
illustrations as they appeared in the full Mythologies set.
A meditation on the major plays of Shakespeare and the thorny art of literary translation, Shakespeare and the French Poet contains twelve essays from France's most esteemed critic and preeminent living poet, Yves Bonnefoy. Offering observations on Shakespeare's response to the spiritual crisis of his era as well as compelling insights on the practical and theoretical challenges of verse in translation, Bonnefoy delivers thoughtful, evocative essays penned in his characteristically powerful prose.
Translated specifically for an American readership, Shakespeare and the French Poet also features a new interview with Bonnefoy. For Shakespeare scholars, Bonnefoy enthusiasts, and students of literary translation, Shakespeare and the French Poet is a celebration of the global language of poetry and the art of "making someone else's voice live again in one's own."
Yves Bonnefoy Seagull Books, 2017 Library of Congress PQ2603.O533A262 2017 | Dewey Decimal 841.914
The international community of letters mourned the recent death of Yves Bonnefoy, universally acclaimed as one of France’s greatest poets of the last half century. A prolific author, he was often considered a candidate for the Nobel Prize and published a dozen major collections of poetry in verse and prose, several books of dream-like tales, and numerous studies of literature and art. His oeuvre has been translated into scores of languages, and he himself was a celebrated translator of Shakespeare, Yeats, Keats, and Leopardi.
Together Still is his final poetic work, composed just months before his death. The book is nothing short of a literary testament, addressed to his wife, his daughter, his friends, and his readers throughout the world. In these pages, he ruminates on his legacy to future generations, his insistence on living in the present, his belief in the triumphant lessons of beauty, and, above all, his courageous identification of poetry with hope.