Collected Poems, 1920-1954: Bilingual Edition

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9780374125547: Collected Poems, 1920-1954: Bilingual Edition

A strong, idiomatic new translation of Italy's greatest modern poet.

Eugenio Montale is universally recognized as having brought the great Italian lyric tradition that begins with Dante into the twentieth century with unrivaled power and brilliance. Montale is a love poet whose deeply beautiful, individual work confronts the dilemmas of modern history, philosophy, and faith with courage and subtlety; he has been widely translated into English and his work has influenced two generations of American and British poets. Jonathan Galassi's versions of Montale's major works--Ossi di seppia, Le occasioni, and La bufera e altro--are the clearest and most convincing yet, and his extensive notes discuss in depth the sources and difficulties of this dense, allusive poetry. This book offers English-language readers uniquely informed and readable access to the work of one of the greatest of all modern poets. Eugenio Montale (1896-1981) received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1975. Jonathan Galassi has also translated Montale's The Second Life of Art: Selected Essays and Otherwise: Last and First Poems.

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Review:

A white dove has landed me
among headstones, under spires where the sky nests.
Dawns and lights in air; I've loved the sun,
colors of honey, now I crave the dark,
I want the smoldering fire, this tomb
that doesn't soar, your stare that dares it to.
--Eugenio Montale

Opera's loss was poetry's gain. Eugenio Montale, the 1975 Nobel Prize winner in literature and one of Italy's greatest poets, originally aspired to be an opera singer. Born in Genoa in 1896, Montale was a delicate child, his health precluding him from getting a formal education; instead, he spent his youth reading philosophy, literature, and Italian classics, and training as a baritone. World War I found him serving as an infantry officer on the Austrian front. Upon his return to civilian life, Montale took up singing again, but after the death of his voice teacher in 1923, he abandoned his operatic hopes. Just two years later, he published his first collection of poetry, Cuttlefish Bones. Over the next 50 years, Montale would produce many poems in between his work as a journalist; Jonathan Galassi's Collected Poems 1920-1954, however, concentrates on three collections that are, arguably, his masterpieces: Cuttlefish Bones (1925); The Occasions (1948); and The Storm, Etc. (1956).

In addition to Galassi's excellent translations, two other things stand out about this book: one is that both Italian and English versions can be read side by side; the other is that Galassi has thoroughly annotated these poems, placing Montale's challenging work in its historical, cultural, and personal context. We are told, for example, that "Leaving a Dove" is, in part, about the poet's abandonment of an old lover for a new one. Such information adds piquancy to the imagery and depth to the reader's appreciation. --Alix Wilber

About the Author:

Eugenio Montale (1896-1981) received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1975.

Jonathan Galassi has also translated Montale's The Second Life of Art: Selected Essays and Otherwise: Last and First Poems.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Book Description Farrar Straus, NY, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. This is a New and Unread copy of the First Edition (2nd printing). A Bilingual Edition Translated and Annotated by Jonathan Galassi. In a mylar jacket cover. Bookseller Inventory # 048159

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