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Selected Poems

Selected Poems

Translated from the French by BURTON RAFFEL
Introduction by Julia Prest
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 82
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  • Book Info
    Selected Poems
    Book Description:

    French poet and critic Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636-1711) was by turns venerated (in the eighteenth century) and reviled (in the nineteenth century) as the lawgiver of French classicism. Today critics see his achievement as more varied and complex than the label of classicism generally allows. This selection of Boileau's poems, translated with spirit and carefully annotated by Burton Raffel, brings the work of Boileau to English-speaking readers for the first time in a generation.

    Much admired for his wit and ingenuity, Boileau perceived the role of the satirist as the scourge of bad writing and delighted in the notion of "l'ami du vrai," the brash truth-teller and enemy of humbug, inflation, and equivocation. Raffel's translations, vigorous and engaging, preserve the meaning of Boileau's poems and invite today's reader to enjoy the poet's astute perceptions. Julia Prest's insightful introduction to the volume provides an overview of Boileau's life and achievement.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13484-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Introduction: A Classicist in Modern Times
    (pp. ix-2)
    Julia Prest

    There are many good reasons to read and enjoy Boileau’s poetry. Let us begin with three: first, his work offers an excellent means to understanding the precepts of French Classicism, a movement of which he is often thought to be France’s most important representative; second, hisArt poétique(the focus of the present collection) is the most important example of literary theory from the golden age of French literature; and third, his poetry is charming and accomplished in its own right. Unfortunately, however, there are also reasons why Boileau does not appeal immediately to modern audiences as much as his...

  4. Satire II: To Monsieur de Molière
    (pp. 3-6)
  5. To Climène
    (pp. 7-7)
  6. Quatrain on a Portrait of Rocinante, Don Quijote’s Horse
    (pp. 8-8)
  7. On My Older Brother, Member of the Académie Française, with Whom I’d Quarreled
    (pp. 9-9)
  8. Epitaph for the Author’s Mother
    (pp. 10-10)
  9. Epigram: The Grateful Debtor
    (pp. 11-11)
  10. A Perpetual Student of Time
    (pp. 12-12)
  11. Satire I
    (pp. 13-19)
  12. The Art of Poetry
    (pp. 20-61)