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Charting the Here of There: French and American Poetry in Translation in Literary Magazines, 1850-2002
Guy Bennett and Béatrice Mousli
"A splendid job of mapping the interaction between French and American poetry ever since Baudelaire fell in love with Poe. Succinct, informative and particularly fascinating in showing how the two World Wars both hindered and helped the exchange."
For the past 150 years, literary magazines have served as the telegraph/telephone/e-mail connection for a literary dialogue between French and American writers, permitting, with relative speed and facility, the transmission of poetry from one people to the other. The ephemeral, periodic quality of the "little review" has provided a unique forum for the sustained exchange of ideas that continue to inform the writing of French and American poets. With the advent of web-based publishing, the products of this exchange have been projected into another dimension, and endowed with a presence and immediacy that seem to erase the real time and space separating the two countries.
There is an undeniable, yet indefinable bond joining the poetry of France and of the United States. It can be seen in the ever-increasing numbers of translations published in the two countries, which seem to outnumber works translated from other languages, and in the overlapping shapes and directions taken by the poetry of both nations. While the reasons for this mutual fascination may be difficult to identify, examples of it are not hard to come by in the pages of literary magazines, where excerpts forming an ongoing Franco-American dialogue in poetry are readily apparent.
This book documents the high points of this exchange, following it as it writes itself in the pages of French and American literary magazines from 1850 through the present. By documenting the practice of publishing translations in journals, authors Guy Bennett and Béatrice Mousli seek to show how French and American poetry have been perceived historically by writers and readers in both countries, and reveal the many ways in which the two parallel traditions have informed and influenced one another.
165 pages, Illustrated. Published by Granary Books, 2002.
Hardcover. $24.95. ISBN 1-887123-63-6.