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The Arriere-Pays: With a New Preface by Yves Bonnefoy, Introduction and Notes by Stephen Romer (French List)by Yves Bonnefoy
Synopses & Reviews
Since the publication of his first book in 1953, Yves Bonnefoy has become one of the most important French poets of the postwar years. At last, we have the long-awaited English translation of Yves Bonnefoyandrsquo;s celebrated work, Landrsquo;Arriandegrave;re-pays, which takes us to the heart of his creative process and to the very core of his poetic spirit.
In his poem, andldquo;The Convex Mirror,andrdquo; Bonnefoy writes: andldquo;Look at them down there, at that crossroads, / They seem to hesitate, then go on.andrdquo; The idea of the crossroads haunts Bonnefoyandrsquo;s work, as he is troubled by the idea that the path not taken may lead to the arriandegrave;re-pays, a place of greater plenitude, and of more authentic beingandmdash;an andldquo;elsewhere in the absolute.andrdquo; Seized by this fear that what he terms andldquo;presenceandrdquo; exists always somewhere else, a little further on, Bonnefoy here sets out on a labyrinthine quest to find traces of this andldquo;original place,andrdquo; which he locates not only in objects of knowledge and experience as diverse as the deserts of Asia, a hill fort in India, a church in Armenia, the painting of Piero della Francesca but also, crucially, in the undivided intensity of his experiences as a child. Written with a visionary grace, The Arriandegrave;re-pays is a spiritual testament to art, philosophy, and poetry.
Enriched by a new preface by the poet, this volume also includes three recent essays in which he returns to his original account of an ethical and aesthetic haunting, one that recounts the struggle between our instinct to idealizeandmdash;what he deems our eternal Platonismandmdash;and the equally strong need to combat this and to be reconciled with our nature as finite beings, made of flesh and blood, in the world of the here and now.
From the publication of his first book in 1953, Yves Bonnefoy has been considered the most important and influential French poet since World War II. A prolific writer, critic, and translator, Bonnefoy continues to compose groundbreaking new work sixty years later, constantly offering his readers what Paul Auster has called “the highest level of artistic excellence.”
In The Present Hour, Bonnefoy’s latest collection, a personal narrative surfaces in splinters and shards. Every word from Bonnefoy is multifaceted, like the fragmented figures seen from different angles in cubist painting—as befits a poet who has written extensively about artists such as Goya, Picasso, Braque, and Gris. Throughout this moving collection, Bonnefoy’s poems echo each other, returning to and elaborating upon key images, thoughts, feelings, and people. Intriguing and enigmatic, this mixture of sonnet sequences and prose poems—or, as Bonnefoy sees them, “dream texts”—move from his meditations on friendship and friends like Jorge Luis Borges to a long, discursive work in free verse that is a self-reflection on his thought and process. These poems are the ultimate condensation of Bonnefoy’s ninety years of life and writing and they will be a valuable addition to the canon of his writings available in English.
“Beverley Bie Brahic does a splendid job of translating the latest work of Yves Bonnefoy. She catches his unique combination of human detail and a groping for the beyond. . . . Brahic does full justice to the profoundly moving text—with its frequent shifts between the personal and the searchingly philosophical.”—Joseph Frank, author of Responses to Modernity: Essays in the Politics of Culture
About the Author
Yves Bonnefoy is a poet, critic, and professor emeritus of comparative poetics at the Collège de France. In addition to poetry and literary criticism, he has published numerous works of art history and translated into French several of Shakespeare's plays.
Stephen Romer is maandicirc;tre de confandeacute;rences at the University of Tours. A poet and critic, he has published four original collections and two anthologies of modern French poetry in translation.
Table of Contents
Introduction by Stephen Romer
Returns to the Arriandegrave;re-pays: Three Recent Texts
and#160;and#160;and#160; Afterword: September 2004
and#160;and#160;and#160; The Place of Grasses
and#160;and#160;and#160; My Memories of Armenia
List of Illustrations
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