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.
An Errant Eye studies how topography, the art of describing local space and place, developed literary and visual form in early modern France. Arguing for a "new poetics of space" ranging throughout French Renaissance poetry, prose, and cartography, Tom Conley performs dazzling readings of maps, woodcuts, and poems to plot a topographical shift in the late Renaissance in which space, subjectivity, and politics fall into crisis. He charts the paradox of a period whose demarcation of national space through cartography is rendered unstable by an ambient world of printed writing.
This tension, Conley demonstrates, cuts through literature and graphic matter of various shapes and forms-hybrid genres that include the comic novel, the emblem-book, the eclogue, sonnets, and the personal essay. An Errant Eye differs from historical treatments of spatial invention through Conley's argument that the topographic sensibility is one in which the ocular faculty, vital to the description of locale, is endowed with tact and touch.
Detailed close readings of Apian, Rabelais, Montaigne, and others empower the reader with a lively sense of the topographical impulse, deriving from Conley's own "errant eye," which is singularly discerning in attentiveness to the ambiguities of charted territory, the contours of woodcut images, and the complex combinations of word and figure in French Renaissance poetry, emblem, and politics.
Eschatological Subjects: Divine and Literary Judgment in Fourteenth-Century French Poetry takes an innovative approach to medieval eschatology by examining how poets cast themselves in the scene of judgment as defendants summoned to answer to the Almighty for the sins of their writing. Since medieval Europeans lived in perpetual anxiety of divine judgment, constantly surrounded by reminders in art and literature, author J. M. Moreau shows that this is a natural extension of medieval life.
But Eschatological Subjects goes even further to demonstrate the largely unrecognized duality of this judge figure: not just God, the judge is also the imperious and imperfect human reader. The simultaneous divine and human judgments in (and of) French poetry reveal much about the ethical stakes of writing vernacular poetry in the later Middle Ages and, most importantly, about the relationships between authors and audiences.
Focusing on Guillaume de Deguileville, Guillaume de Machaut, and Jean Froissart (each of whom composed scenes in which they appear on trial before God), Moreau contributes important new insights on the complex “trial process” of later medieval literature, in which poetic authority and fame depended on the poet’s ability to defend himself before a fearful court of reader opinion.
The French have long had a love affair with the cat, expressed through centuries of poetry portraying the animal's wit and wonder. Norman R. Shapiro lionizes the felines' limitless allure in this one-of-a-kind collection. Spanning centuries and styles, he draws on she-cats and toms, and an honor roll of French poets, well known and lesser known, who have served as their devoted champions. He reveals the remarkable range of French cat poems, with most works presented here for the first time in English translation. Scrupulously devoted to evoking the meaning and music of the originals, Shapiro also respects the works' formal structures. Pairing his translations with Olga Pastuchiv's elegant illustrations, Fe-Lines guides the reader through the marvels and inscrutabilities of the Mystique féline .
Renowned translator Norman R. Shapiro here presents fresh English versions of poems by three of Western literature’s most gifted and prolific poets—the French Renaissance writers Clément Marot, Joachim Du Bellay, and Pierre de Ronsard. Writing in the rhymed and metered verse typical of the original French poems (which appear on facing pages), Shapiro skillfully adheres to their messages but avoids slavishly literal translations, instead offering creative and spirited equivalents.
Hope Glidden’s accessible introduction, along with the notes she and Shapiro provide on specific poems, will increase readers’ enjoyment and illuminate the historical and linguistic issues relating to this wealth of more than 150 lyric poems.
“A marvelous micro-anthology of sixteenth-century French letters. Representing the pinnacle of French Renaissance verse, the poems singled out here are sensitively interpreted in rhymed English versions. . . . There is a pleasant and inspiring craftsmanship in these interpretations.”—Virginia Quarterly Review
Reveries of Community reconsiders the role of epic poetry during the French Wars of Religion, the series of wars between Catholics and Protestants that dominated France between 1562 and 1598. Critics have often viewed French epic poetry as a casualty of these wars, arguing that the few epics France produced during this conflict failed in power and influence compared to those of France’s neighbors, such as Italy’s Orlando Furioso, England’s Faerie Queene, and Portugal’s Os Lusíadas. Katherine S. Maynard argues instead that the wars did not hinder epic poetry, but rather French poets responded to the crisis by using epic poetry to reimagine France’s present and future.
Traditionally united by une foi, une loi, un roi (one faith, one law, one king), France under Henri IV was cleaved into warring factions of Catholics and Huguenots. The country suffered episodes of bloodshed such as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, even as attempts were made to attenuate the violence through frequent edicts, including those of St. Germain (1570) and Nantes (1598). Maynard examines the rich and often dismissed body work written during these bloody decades: Pierre de Ronsard’s Franciade, Guillaume Salluste Du Bartas’s La Judit and La Sepmaine, Sébastian Garnier’s La Henriade, Agrippa d’Aubigné’s Les Tragiques, and others. She traces how French poets, taking classics such as Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Iliad as their models, reimagined possibilities for French reconciliation and unity.
The Scandal of the Fabliaux
R. Howard Bloch University of Chicago Press, 1986 Library of Congress PQ207.B56 1986 | Dewey Decimal 841.109
R. Howard Bloch argues that medieval French comic tales are shocking not so much for their dirty words, scatology, and celebration of the body in all its concavities and protrusions, but moreso for their insistent exposure of the scandal of their own production. Looking first at fabliaux about poets, Bloch demonstrates that the medieval comic poet was highly conscious of the inadequacy of language and pushed this perception to its logical, scandalous limit. The comic function of the fabliaux was intentionally disruptive: anticlerical, antifeminist, and antiestablishment, these tales were part of a sophisticated culture's critical perspective on itself.
By showing how the medieval poet's obsession with the outrageous, the low, and the lewd was intimately bound to poetry, Bloch forces a revision of traditional approaches to Old French literature. His final chapter, on castration anxiety, fetishism, and the comic, links the fabliaux with the development of modern notions of the self and makes a case for the medieval roots of our own sense of humor.
Surprised in Translation
Mary Ann Caws University of Chicago Press, 2006 Library of Congress PQ143.E5C39 2006 | Dewey Decimal 428.0241
For Mary Ann Caws—noted translator of surrealist poetry—the most appealing translations are also the oddest; the unexpected, unpredictable, and unmimetic turns that translations take are an endless source of fascination and instruction. Surprised in Translation is a celebration of the occasional and fruitful peculiarity that results from some of the most flavorful translations of well-known authors. These translations, Caws avers, can energize and enliven the voice of the original.
In eight elegant chapters Caws reflects on translations that took her by surprise. Caws shows that the elimination of certain passages from the original—in the case of Stéphane Mallarmé translating Tennyson, Ezra Pound interpreting the troubadours, or Virginia Woolf rendered into French by Clara Malraux, Charles Mauron, and Marguerite Yourcenar—often produces a greater and more coherent art. Alternatively, some translations—such as Yves Bonnefoy’s translations of Shakespeare, Keats, and Yeats into French—require more lines in order to fully capture the many facets of the original. On other occasions, Caws argues, a swerve in meaning—as in Beckett translating himself into French or English—can produce a new text, just as true as the original.
Imbued with Caws’s personal observations on the relationship between translators and the authors they translate, Surprised in Translation will interest a wide range of readers, including students of translation, professional literary translators, and scholars of modern and comparative literature.
First published in 1959, Surrealism remains the most readable introduction to the French surrealist poets Apollinaire, Breton, Aragon, Eluard, and Reverdy. Providing a much-needed overview of the movement, Balakian places the surrealists in the context of early twentieth-century Paris and describes their reactions to symbolist poetry, World War I, and developments in science and industry, psychology, philosophy, and painting. Her coherent history of the movement is enhanced by her firsthand knowledge of the intellectual climate in which some of these poets worked and her interviews with Reverdy and Breton. In a new introduction, Balakian discusses the influence of surrealism on contemporary poetry.
This volume includes photographs of the poets and reproductions of paintings by Ernst, Dali, Tanguy, and others.
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.