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The Yale Anthology of Twentieth-Century French Poetry

The Yale Anthology of Twentieth-Century French Poetry

Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 704
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  • Book Info
    The Yale Anthology of Twentieth-Century French Poetry
    Book Description:

    Not since the publication of Paul Auster'sThe Random House Book of 20th Century French Poetry(1984) has there been a significant and widely read anthology of modern French poetry in the English-speaking world. Here for the first time is a comprehensive bilingual representation of French poetic achievement in the twentieth century, from the turn-of-the-century poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire to the high modernist art of Samuel Beckett to the contemporary verse of scourge Michel Houellebecq. Many of the English translations (on facing pages) are justly celebrated, composed by eminent figures such as T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, and John Ashbery; many others are new and have been commissioned for this book.Distinguished scholar and editor Mary Ann Caws has chosen work by more than 100 poets. Her deliberately extensive, international selection includes work by Francophone poets, by writers better known for accomplishments in other genres (novelists, songwriters, performance artists), and by many more female poets than have typically been represented in past anthologies of modern French poetry. The editor has opted for a chronological organization that highlights six crucial "pressure points" in modern French poetry. Accompanying the selections are a general introduction, informative essays on each period, and short biographical notes-all prepared by the editor.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13315-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xxii)
  3. Editor’s Note
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xxv-xliv)

    This anthology responds to the often expressed need for a large-scale bilingual representation of twentieth-century French-language poetry as a whole. In the tumult of our time, poetry offers itself as a borderless country in which we can all reside, at least temporarily. It is in this belief that I have undertaken this massive volume. For the first time, as inhabitants of a brand-new century, we can look back at the twentieth century. Our evaluation, of course, will change with our reading as the years go on. Nothing is presumed about the lasting nature of any attempt to gather what seems...

  5. 1 1897–1915: Symbolism, Post-Symbolism, Cubism, Simultanism
    (pp. 1-110)
    Guillaume Apollinaire, Blaise Cendrars, Paul Claudel, Jean Cocteau, Léon-Paul Fargue, Max Jacob, Pierre-Jean Jouve, Valéry Larbaud, Saint-John Perse, Pablo Picasso, Catherine Pozzi, Pierre Reverdy, Saint-Pol Roux, Victor Segalen, Jules Supervielle, Paul Valéry and Renée Vivien

    Martyred at the hands of the Nazis, Saint-Pol Roux is the great transitional figure in early twentieth-century French poetry. He and Paul Claudel, seven years his senior, represent the ongoing heritage from the great ur-Symbolist Stéphane Mallarmé—a heritage that continues with Paul Valéry. The latter is best known for his epic poem “Le Cimetière marin,” published here in its entirety in a recent translation by the Irish poet Derek Mahon. Just as Valéry’s figure of therameur, or rower, strains against the current, so the translator struggles with and against the French rhyme; Mahon places equivalent, if nonrhyming, stresses...

  6. 2 1916–1930: Dada and the Heroic Period of Surrealism
    (pp. 111-258)
    Louis Aragon, Antonin Artaud, Georges Bataille, Samuel Beckett, André Breton, Claude Cahun, Malcolm de Chazal, Robert Desnos, Paul Éluard, Jean Follain, Greta Knutson, Michel Leiris, Henri Michaux, Benjamin Péret, Francis Ponge, Jacques Prévert, Raymond Queneau, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Philippe Soupault, Jean Tardieu, Tristan Tzara and Marguerite Yourcenar

    Dada had a striking and lasting impact on American poetry, from the Beats through the New York School—witness John Cage’s mesostics, Frank O’Hara’s “Second Avenue,” Kenneth Koch’s “When the Sun Tries to Go On,” and much of John Ashbery’s work. Now the current generation of young American poets seems to have discovered Dada for itself, finding its “chatty abstractions” as usefully subversive and ironically charming as Dada once did. The excitement of Dada—its performative violence coincident with World War I—was born anew after World War II, when the Abstract Expressionist Robert Motherwell published his celebratedThe Dada...

  7. 3 1931–1945: Prewar and War Poetry
    (pp. 259-364)
    Claude de Burine, Aimé Césaire, René Char, Andrée Chédid, Léon-Gontran Damas, René Daumal, Michel Deguy, René Depestre, Mohammed Dib, Louis-René des Forêts, André Frénaud, Jean Grosjean, Eugène Guillevic, Anne Hébert, Radovan Ivsic, Edmond Jabès, Pierre-Albert Jourdan, Gherasim Luca, Dora Maar, Joyce Mansour, Meret Oppenheim, Valentine Penrose, Gisèle Prassinos and Boris Vian

    Even as the dark years of World War II approached, Surrealism continued, in a more established, less revolutionary mode. It was during this time, that is, after its initial phase, that women were increasingly included in its ranks. The young poet Gisèle Prassinos, well known for her “automatic writing,” was a favorite of the Surrealists when she was only fourteen. Her stories have a particular twist, as do her poems, one of which is included here. Another poet, Dora Maar, was known only as a photographer and painter, particularly for some of her photographs, such as the very SurrealistFather...

  8. 4 1946–1966: The Death of André Breton, the Beginning of L’Éphémère
    (pp. 365-442)
    Yves Bonnefoy, André du Bouchet, Bernard Collin, Jacques Dupin, Jacques Garelli, Lorand Gaspar, Édouard Glissant, Philippe Jaccottet, Claire Lejeune, Claire Malroux, Robert Marteau, Abdelwahab Meddeb, Gaston Miron, Bernard Noël, Anne Perrier, Anne Portugal, Jacques Réda, Jude Stéfan and Salah Stétié

    The postwar years of French poetry were marked by a new openness. Raymond Queneau’s experimental works of this period: hisExercices de style(1947),Bâtons, chiffres et lettres(1950), andUn conte à votre façon(1967) follow the tradition of Mallarmé’s unique bookLe Livre, whose individual sheets could be rearranged at will. In this open work, the reader becomes an active participant—playing an authorial role in the rearrangement of description and narrative. Americans such as Charles Olson, Louis Zukofsky, Robert Duncan, and George Oppen stress the major theme of openness—a longing for a dogma-free order—and emphasize...

  9. 5 1967–1980: The Explosion of the Next Generation
    (pp. 443-540)
    Anne-Marie Albiach, Marie-Claire Bancquart, Silvia Baron Supervielle, Martine Broda, Nicole Brossard, Danielle Collobert, Claude Esteban, Marie Étienne, Dominique Fourcade, Michelle Grangaud, Emmanuel Hocquard, Hédi Kaddour, Vénus Khoury-Ghata, Abdellatif Laâbi, Annie Le Brun, Marcelin Pleynet, Jacqueline Risset, Jacques Roubaud, Paul de Roux, Claude Royet-Journoud, Habib Tengour and Franck Venaille

    Younger poets have always gathered around established poets they respect and emulate: René Char, as we have seen, influenced an earlier generation of poets in these years, and Yves Bonnefoy, Philippe Jaccottet, Bernard Noël, and Michel Deguy formed, as they do now, the center of French poetic activity, serving as inspirations for future generations. For the most part, the poetry in France during this period reflected neither nostalgia nor prophecy but a celebration of everydayness.

    The deliberate minimalism of language in much poetry of this time stands in contrast to the lush verbiage of Saint-John Perse in books likeÉloges,...

  10. 6 1981–2002: Young Poetry at the End of the Millennium
    (pp. 541-612)
    Pierre Alféri, Tahar Bekri, Olivier Cadiot, Jean Frémon, Liliane Giraudon, Guy Goffette, Michel Houellebecq, Franck André Jamme, Jean-Michel Maulpoix, Robert Melançon, Pascalle Monnier, Nathalie Quintane, Valérie-Catherine Richez, Amina Saïd, Christophe Tarkos and André Velter

    In the last two decades of the twentieth century, the explosion of new poetries was nothing short of remarkable. The pre-1966 heritage was far from forgotten; rather, it was capitalized upon in ever more ingenious ways. From Emmanuel Hocquard to the youngest writer included here, Pierre Alféri, the entire range of poetic possibilities has a distinctly optimistic tinge—perhaps for the reason that the darkest chapters of the century now lay fully two generations behind—though the era of rapid globalization has brought its own set of problems and challenges.

    Poetic exchange remains the transatlantic currency for French, British, and...

  11. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 613-616)
  12. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 617-638)
  13. Index of Poets
    (pp. 639-640)
  14. Index of Titles
    (pp. 641-644)
  15. Index of Translators
    (pp. 645-646)