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Translated by Stephen Monte
RRP: GBP 14.95
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Price: GBP 13.45
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ISBN: 978 1 857545 39 5
Categories: 19th Century, French, Translation
Published: September 2001
198 x 126 x 20 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Hardback
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This generous, varied selection of poems by one of France's best-loved and most reviled poets is presented with facing originals, detailed notes, and a lively introduction to the author's life and work. Victor Hugo's novels Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (thanks to musicals and films they have inspired) are his most familiar works, but he invested his most sustained creative energy in his poems. From the beginning they commanded a wide popular and critical audience in France.
Steven Monte presents more than eighty poems, taken from the earliest poetic publications of the 1820s, through collections published during exile, to works published in the years following Hugo's death in 1883. Monte sets out to represent Hugo at his best. Here are all the wonderful, inevitable anthology pieces such as 'Tomorrow, at dawn...' and 'Boaz Asleep' as well as lessknown work like 'Letter' and 'Open Windows'. The introduction provides helpful background information about Hugo's life and work, the selection, and what is involved in translating a poet whose effortless rhymes are central to the poetry's power. Detailed notes at the back of the volume offer information about the poems and their publishing and historical contexts. This is an ideal introduction to a poet whose work, for all its renown, remains for Anglophone readers an undiscovered country.
Steven Monte is Collegiate Assistant Professor, University of Chicago. He studied Comparative Literature at Princeton and Yale. His critical study Invisible Fences: Prose Poetry as a Genre in French and American Literature was published in 2000. He has published poems and translations in The Paris Review, The Boston Review, The New Republic and other journals.
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