Synopses & Reviews
One of the foremost poets of the French Resistance, René Char has been hailed by Donald Revell as “the conscience of modern French poetry.” Translated by Mark Hutchinson, The Inventors
is a companion volume to Char’s critically acclaimed Hypnos
. It gathers more than forty poems that represent a cross-section of Char’s mature work, spanning from 1936 to 1988. All three genres of Char’s work are represented here: verse poems, prose poems, and the abrupt, lapidary propositions for which he is best known. These maxima sententia
combine the terseness of La Rochefoucauld with the probing and sometimes riddling character of the fragments of Heraclitus.
The Inventors includes a brief introduction to Char’s life and work, as well as a series of notes on the backstories of the works, which explain allusions that may not be immediately familiar to the English-speaking reader. These new translations stay true to the originals, while at the same time conveying much of the music and beauty of the French poems.
Praise for René Char
“Char, I believe, is a poet who will tower over twentieth-century French poetry.”—George Steiner
Poetry. Bilingual Edition. Translated from the French by Nancy Naomi Carlson. "Early Surrealist, resistance fighter, anti-nuclear activist, and exquisite poet, Rene Char is at the heart of 20th century French poetry.... Carlson gives English-language readers a real sense of Char's depth and breadth. And her masterful translations catch the barely contained drama that gives Char's work such tension and presence"--Cole Swensen.
A new bilingual (French-English) edition of Selected Poems from one of the 20th Century's most majestic poets. Acclaim for Carlson's work has included accolades from Donald Revell, poet and translator of Rimbaud and Apollinaire: Ren Char is the conscience of modern French poetry and also its calm of mind. Nancy Naomi Carlson, in these splendid translations, casts new light upon the sublime consequence of Char's poetic character, and in Stone Lyre the case for sublimity is purely made. And Cole Swensen, poet, translator, and founding editor of La Presse, has said: Early Surrealist, resistance fighter, anti-nuclear activist, and exquisite poet, Ren Char is at the heart of 20th century French poetry. In this insightful selection from across his long career, Carlson gives English-language readers a real sense of Char's depth and breadth. And her masterful translations catch the barely contained drama that gives Char's work such tension and presence, while her excellent ear picks up not only the sound relationships that weave through the originals, but also their delicate, seductive rhythms.
About the Author
René Char was born in L'Isle-sur-Sorgue in the south of France in 1907 and died in Paris in 1988. A major influence on the generation of French poets who came of age after the Second?World War, he was a close friend and associate of Albert Camus. He is widely considered the foremost French poet of his generation.Mark Hutchinson was born in London and lives in Paris. Among his many translations from the French are several books by the poet Emmanuel Hocquard and a collection of essays by the sculptor Raymond Mason.