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The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry: From Nerval to Valery in English Translation

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Overview

A classic anthology of the essential works of late 19th- and early 20th-century French poetry--in both superb translations and the original French texts--reissued with an eloquent introduction by poet and musician Patti Smith.

First published in 1958, this collection introduced an indispensible corpus of western poetry to countless American college students, francophiles, and would-be poets-among them Patti Smith, whose vocation was formed she...
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Overview

A classic anthology of the essential works of late 19th- and early 20th-century French poetry--in both superb translations and the original French texts--reissued with an eloquent introduction by poet and musician Patti Smith.

First published in 1958, this collection introduced an indispensible corpus of western poetry to countless American college students, francophiles, and would-be poets-among them Patti Smith, whose vocation was formed she says, by reading this book. The poetic and cultural tradition forged by the Symbolist poets-Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Appollinaire, and others-reverberated throughout the avant garde and counter-cultures of the twentieth century. Modernism, surrealism, abstract impressionism, and the Beat movement are unthinkable without the example of these poets and their theories of art, making this reissue possibly the hippest "dead white European male" anthology ever published.

Including translations by Richmond Lattimore, W.S. Merwin, Dudly Fitts, and Richard Wilbur, this anthology has stood the test of time in terms of its selection and scholarly apparatus. Now back in print after twenty years in a fresh new edition, the book features an introduction by Patti Smith that testifies to its epochal impact on her own career, as well as those of other influential latter-day poets, including Lou Reed and Jim Carroll. This rediscovered gem is sure to inspire a new generation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385498883
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Edition description: ANCHOR BOO
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 689,531
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Angel Flores also edited the Anchor Anthology of German Poetry and Anthology of Spanish Poetry, Nineteenth Century French Tales and Nineteenth Century German Tales.  Patti Smith's discography includes such groundbreaking albums as Horses and Easter, and she is the author of three books of poetry.

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Read an Excerpt

"The Albatross"
L'Albatros

translated by Kate Flores

Ofttimes, for diversion, the men of the crew
Capture albatross, vast birds of the seas
That accompany, at languid, leisurely pace,
Boats on their way through bitter straits.

Having scarce been taken aboard
These kings of the blue, awkward and shy,
Piteously their great white wings
Let droop like oars at their sides.

This winged voyager, how clumsy he is and weak!
He just now so lovely, how comic and ugly!
One with a stubby pipe teases his beak,
Another mimics, limping, the cripple who could fly!

The Poet resembles this prince of the clouds,
Who laughs at hunters and haunts the storms;
Exiled to the ground amid the jeering pack,
His giant wings will not let him walk.

"L'Albatros"
by Charles Baudelaire

Souvent, pour l'amuser, les hommes d'équipage
Prennant des albatros, vastes oiseaux des mers,
Qui suivent, indolents compagnons de voyage,
Le navire glissant sur les gouffres amers.

A peine les ont-ils déposés sur les planches,
Que ces rois de l'azur, maladroits et honteux,
Laissent piteusement leurs grandes ailes blanches
Comme des avirons traîner à côté d'eux.

Ce voyageur ailé, comme il est gauche et veule!
Lui, naguère si beau, qu'il est comique et laid!
L'un agrace son bec avec un brûle-gueule,
L'autre mime, en boitant, l'infirme qui volait!

Le Poète est semblable au prince des nuées
Qui hante la tempête et se rit de l'archer;
Exilé sur le sol au milieu des huées,
Ses ailes de géant l'empêchent de marcher.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 3, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Pretty good variety

    Some of the translations are not the ones I would have chosen, but overall, I appreciated the variety of poets that are included in this volume. A solid start if you are just getting into French poety, especially the Symbolists!

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