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Selected Lyrics

Selected Lyrics

Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 448
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  • Book Info
    Selected Lyrics
    Book Description:

    In hisABC of Reading, Ezra Pound begins his short list of nineteenth-century French poets to be studied with Théophile Gautier. Widely esteemed by figures as diverse as Charles Baudelaire, the Goncourt brothers, Gustave Flaubert, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, and T. S. Eliot, Gautier was one of the nineteenth century's most prominent French writers, famous for his virtuosity, his inventive textures, and his motto "Art for art's sake." His work is often considered a crucial hinge between High Romanticism-idealistic, sentimental, grandiloquent-and the beginnings of "Parnasse," with its emotional detachment, plasticity, and irresistible surfaces.

    His large body of verse, however, is little known outside France. This generous sampling, anchored by the completeÉmaux et Camées, perhaps Gautier's supreme poetic achievement, and including poems from the vigorously exoticEspañaand several early collections, not only succeeds in bringing these poems into English but also rediscovers them, renewing them in the process of translation. Norman Shapiro's translations have been widely praised for their formal integrity, sonic acuity, tonal sensitivities, and overall poetic qualities, and he employs all these gifts in this collection. Mining one of the crucial treasures of the French tradition, Shapiro makes a major contribution to world letters.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16547-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xxii)
    Jeffrey Mehlman

    The significance of Théophile Gautier’s verse is perhaps best grasped in terms of a division splitting French poetry of the nineteenth century virtually down the middle: on the one hand, Victor Hugo, a poetry of Progress, moralistically mindful of the imperative to promote the Good; on the other, Charles Baudelaire, an aesthetic already decadent in its refusal to think beyond the compulsion to relieve tedium. The two, as Paul Valéry (and later Walter Benjamin) suggested, were in a situation of perfect “complementarity”—or incompatibility. Yet it was Gautier’s odd fate to serve as a kind of hinge between them. For...

  5. Emaux et Camées, 1852–1872

  6. From España, 1845

  7. From “Pièces diverses” in Poésies nouvelles, 1845

  8. From “Poésies diverses,” published with La Comédie de la mort, 1833–1838

  9. From Premières Poésies, 1830–1845

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 463-526)