Poetry

The definitive translation of the one of the brightest geniuses of French poetry. The prose poems of the great French Symbolist, Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), have acquired enormous prestige among readers everywhere and have been a revolutionary influence on poetry in the twentieth century. They are offered here both in their original texts and in superb English translations by Louise Varese. Mrs. Varese first published her versions of Rimbaud’s Illuminations in 1946. Since then she has revised her work and has included two poems which in the interim have been reclassified as part of Illuminations. This edition also contains two other series of prose poems, which include two poems only recently discovered in France, together with an introduction in which Miss Varese discusses the complicated ins and outs of Rimbaldien scholarship and the special qualities of Rimbaud’s writing. Rimbaud was indeed the most astonishing of French geniuses. Fired in childhood with an ambition to write, he gave up poetry before he was twenty-one. Yet he had already produced some of the finest examples of French verse. He is best known for A Season in Hell, but his other prose poems are no less remarkable. While he was working on them he spoke of his interest in hallucinations––"des vertiges, des silences, des nuits." These perceptions were caught by the poet in a beam of pellucid, and strangely active language which still lights up––now here, now there––unexplored aspects of experience and thought.
'The bitter tragedy of human life— horrors of death, attack, retreat, advance, and the great game of Destiny and Chance. ' In The Liberation of Jerusalem (Gerusalemme liberata, 1581), Torquato Tasso set out to write an epic to rival the Iliad and the Aeneid. Unlike his predecessors, he took his subject not from myth but from history: the Christian capture of Jerusalem during the First Crusade. The siege of the city is played out alongside a magical romance of love and sacrifice, in which the Christian knight Rinaldo succumbs to the charms of the pagan sorceress Armida, and the warrior maiden Clorinda inspires a fatal passion in the Christian Tancred. Tasso's masterpiece left its mark on writers from Spenser and Milton to Goethe and Byron, and inspired countless painters and composers. This is the first English translation in modern times that faithfully reflects both the sense and the verse form of the original. Max Wickert's fine rendering is introduced by Mark Davie, who places Tasso's poem in the context of his life and times and points to the qualities that have ensured its lasting impact on Western culture. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Paradise Lost is an epic poem in twelve books, in English heroic verse without rhyme, by John Milton (C. P. P.) and was published in 1667. The subject is the fall of man, and the expulsion from Paradise. Book I. Satan arouses his legions, still suffering from their expulsion from heaven, tells them of an ancient prophecy of a new world and a new race to be created, and summons a general council, to meet at Pandemonium, his capital, to confer on the subject. Book II. At the council it is resolved not to hazard another battle for the recovery of heaven but to search for the prophesied new world. Satan undertakes to find it alone. Book III. The Almighty sees Satan flying through space, confers with the Son, foretells the fall, and arranges the scheme of redemption. Meanwhile Satan alights on the world. Book IV. Satan enters Eden and overhears Adam and Eve talking about the tree of knowledge, of the fruit of which they are forbidden to eat under penalty of death, and determines to make them transgress. Book V. The Almighty sends Raphael to warn Adam against Satan. Book VI. Raphael tells of the war in heaven and of the defeat and expulsion of the rebel angels. Book VII. Raphael relates how and why the world was created. Book VIII. Adam tells Raphael what he knows of his own creation and of his nuptials with Eve. Book IX. After Raphael's departure Satan takes the form of a serpent, and finding Eve alone tells her that he has acquired both the power of speech and wisdom by eating the fruit of the forbidden tree. Eve, whose curiosity is aroused, tastes the fruit and at last takes some to Adam and persuades him also to eat. The eyes of both are opened, and they accuse each other. Book X. Satan returns to Pandemonium and relates the success of his mission. Book XI.
This is a poem of protest drawn from the life of the gaucho, who was forced to yield his freedom and individuality to the social and material changes that invaded his beloved pampas--a protest which arose from years of abuse and neglect suffered from landowners, militarists, and the Argentine political establishment.

This poem, composed and first published more than a century ago, could have been written today by spokesmen for other oppressed groups in other parts of the world. For this reason, perhaps, the poem has such universal appeal that it has been translated into nineteen languages, making it available to more than half of the world's people.

Hernandez's poem was an attempt to alert the government, and particularly the city dwellers, to the problems faced by the gaucho minority in adjusting to the new, unfamiliar culture imposed on them by the Central Government soon after the fall of the dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas in 1852, under the slogan "Politics of Progress." Moreover, the poem supplied a historical link to the gauchos' contribution to the national development of Argentina, for the gaucho had performed a major role in the country's independence from Spain. They had also fought in the civil wars of Argentina and had cleared the pampas of marauding Indian bands that plagued the pastoral development of the region. According to Hernandes they had been by turns abused, neglected, and finally dispersed, ultimately losing their identity as a social group.

Those interested in the Martin Fierro as literature, as social protest, as anthropology, or as an example of the annihilation of a minority group--and its very identity--have joined in making it the most widely read, analyzed, and discussed literary work produced in Argentina. Now, after several hundred editions in Spanish and other languages, Martin Fierro is recognized as a masterpiece of world literature.

The aim of this English version has been to achieve a line-by-line rendition faithful to the original in substance and tone, but without attempting to recreate Hernandez's meter or rhyme. The translators present it here as a catalyst for enjoyment, provocation, and insight.
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