- Reviews (0)
This anthology is the companion volume to The Appreciation of Modern French Poetry, the aim of which was to give detailed preliminary help with the problems of poetic appreciation. The fourteen poets represented here provide a varied and exciting introduction to what is probably the richest century of French poetry, from 1850 to 1950. Hugo, the colossus of the nineteenth century, whose work gives new resonance and vitality to imaginative vision, opens the anthology, and Michaux, the most individual and ‘modern’ of twentieth-century poets in that he bridges the gap between poetry and contemporary science, closes it. Almost all the major poets of the period are included: Nerval, Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Verlaine, Rimbaud and Laforgue from the second half of the nineteenth century; Valéry, Apollinaire, Supervielle and Eluard in the twentieth. The lesser known Cros and Desnos, fresh and spontaneous poets with an immediate appeal, invite a new look at the lyric traditions of french verse and offer an attractive new avenue for study. The choice of poems, dictated above all by their individual poetic value, reflects also the trends of recent criticism and the tastes of present-day readers. The texts are all accompanied by full notes, which not only explain local difficulties of vocabulary, syntax and expression, but lead the reader directly into the heart of the richness of theme, style and interpretation. These will prove of value not only to the student who is grappling with the basics of french verse, or is anxious to give depth to his familiarity, but to the general reader seeking to rekindle his enjoyment of French poetry. In addition, there are introductions to each poet summarizing the essence of his art, useful suggestions for further reading, and groups of dicussion topics to stimulate comparative insights and a wider responsiveness.