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Other titles in the Margellos World Republic of Letters series:
Second Simplicity: New Poetry and Prose, 1991-2011 (Margellos World Republic of Letters)by Yves Bonnefoy
Synopses & Reviews
In his ABC of Reading, Ezra Pound begins his short list of nineteenth-century French poets to be studied with Théophile Gautier. Widely esteemed by figures as diverse as Charles Baudelaire, the Goncourt brothers, Gustave Flaubert, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, and T. S. Eliot, Gautier was one of the nineteenth centurys most prominent French writers, famous for his virtuosity, his inventive textures, and his motto “Art for arts sake.” His work is often considered a crucial hinge between High Romanticismidealistic, sentimental, grandiloquentand the beginnings of “Parnasse,” with its emotional detachment, plasticity, and irresistible surfaces.
His large body of verse, however, is little known outside France. This generous sampling, anchored by the complete Émaux et Camées, perhaps Gautiers supreme poetic achievement, and including poems from the vigorously exotic España and several early collections, not only succeeds in bringing these poems into English but also rediscovers them, renewing them in the process of translation. Norman Shapiros translations have been widely praised for their formal integrity, sonic acuity, tonal sensitivities, and overall poetic qualities, and he employs all these gifts in this collection. Mining one of the crucial treasures of the French tradition, Shapiro makes a major contribution to world letters.
An eagerly awaited anthology of recent poetry and prose by the celebrated French poet Yves Bonnefoy
Yves Bonnefoy, who will soon attain the age of ninety, has gratified his readers during the past two decades with the most prolific and innovative period of his splendid lifework. This volume presents in English and French an inviting array of his recent writings, carefully selected for their literary quality as well as their broad appeal. It features several works never published before and many that have never been translated into English. The first anthology of Bonnefoy's work to appear since 1995, this collection reflects the poet's powerful engagement with the New England landscape; its quiet woods and fields have helped to shape to the pared-down aesthetic of his recent years. The book is the first to showcase not only the poetry for which Bonnefoy is justly renowned but also his inventive compositions in prose. Appropriately, the book alternates more traditional verse with freer forms, just as the author has done in several major works of the past twenty years; that symbiotic approach is one of the hallmarks of this latter phase of his art. Superbly translated by Hoyt Rogers, the collection is organized chronologically, revealing clearly how the poet continues to extend and refine his scope and style. Rogers provides a masterly introduction in which he analyzes aspects of Bonnefoy's recent writings and the "second simplicity" that characterizes his late work.
By the early 1970s, Romain Gary had established himself as one of Frances most popular and prolific novelists, journalists, and memoirists. Feeling that he had been typecast as “Romain Gary,” however, he wrote his next novel under the pseudonym Émile Ajar. His second novel written as Ajar, Life Before Us, was an instant runaway success, winning the Prix Goncourt and becoming the best-selling French novel of the twentieth century.
The Prix Goncourt made people all the keener to identify the real “Émile Ajar,” and stressed by the furor he had created, Gary fled to Geneva. There, Pseudo, a hoax confession and one of the most alarmingly effective mystifications in all literature, was written at high speed. Writing under double cover, Gary simulated schizophrenia and paranoid delusions while pretending to be Paul Pawlovitch confessing to being Émile Ajarthe author of books Gary himself had written.
In Pseudo, brilliantly translated by David Bellos as Hocus Bogus, the struggle to assert and deny authorship is part of a wider protest against suffering and universal hypocrisy. Playing with novelistic categories and authorial voice, this work is a powerful testimony to the power of languageto express, to amuse, to deceive, and ultimately to speak difficult personal truths.
About the Author
Romain Gary (19141980), a French novelist, film director, World War II aviator, and diplomat, was the author of more than thirty novels, essays, and recollections. David Bellos is professor of French and comparative literature and director of the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication at Princeton University.
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