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Translated by John Gallas and Kurt Gänzl
Categories: 19th Century, 21st Century, French, New Zealand, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Classics
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Feb 2022)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Feb 2022)
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'Borel was the sun,' said Théophile Gautier, 'who could resist him?' Indeed, who? A lycanthrope, necrophile, absurd revolutionary, Paris dandy with a scented beard, flamboyant sufferer: a man with no grave and no memorial. His once celebrated red mouth opened briefly 'like an exotic flower' to complain of injustice and bourgeois vulgarity; of his frustration in love and reputation; of poverty and blighted fate. Then he withered in the minor officialdom of Algeria, where he died because he would not wear a hat, leaving a haunted house and a doubtful name. 'And now,' says his only biographer Dame Enid Starkie, 'he is quite forgotten.'
Rhapsodies 1831 includes all the poems Borel wrote when he was twenty and twenty-one. The poems, he said, are 'the slag from my crucible': 'the poetry that boils in my heart has slung its dross'. It is a fabulous, fiery, black-clouded dross: captains and cutlasses, castles, maidens, daggers, danger; calls to arms, imagined loves, plaints and howls of injustice. 'Never did a publication create a greater scandal,' Borel said, 'because it was a book written heart and soul, with no thought of anything else, and stuffed with gall and suffering'. It was not reviewed. Now it is back.
Praise for John Gallas 'John Gallas is not merely a lyric master, but a master of meaning... The Extasie is a collection that I feel I will be coming back to frequently, not just to recapture the enjoyment I had when first reading it, but also to fully bathe in the complex understanding of love in all its forms, rendered so skilfully in poems that reward a second reading with subtle epiphanies.'
Ed Bedford, Coffee Time Reviews
'This is a book for contemplative reading to enjoy all its richness and subtleties. Quietly thought provoking and intelligent, these are poems that celebrate the messiness of life.'
- Mary Mulholland, The Alchemy Spoon
'An enticing and timely collection of translations.'
- The Guardian
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