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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Anthology of French Poetry in English: A Must, June 11, 2000
This review is from: The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry: From Nerval to Valery in English Translation (Paperback)
Frankly speaking, I was not very familiar with French poetry till I bought a copy of this book recently in Paris. This book, which was last published in 1958, has been out of print till now. In fact, book was in the wish list from my brother who is a professor onf English in India and who read a copy of this anthology long time ago. According to him, it was the best anthology of French poetry he had ever read. After reading some of the poems, I not only discovered the beauty of French poetry, but also could understand why my brother has been after this book for a long time. Patty Smith, who wrote the introduction to the new publication of the anthology, like my brother, read this book long time ago when she got a copy of the book on her table by stroke of luck in 1964. She now writes, "I must admit that I pocketed the book as my own, and it bacame the bible of my life. Edited by the aptly name Angel Flores, this anthology introduced me to some of the greatest poets in French literature .... It is my pleasure now to reintroduce this humble yet significant volume, so long out of print, to you now. And may I use this as an opportunity to salute and thank that unidentified soul who left this book upon my table in 1964."
French poetry has influenced not only people like Patty Smith or by brother in India and many throughout the world, but it has also influenced famous poets like T. S. eliot and many others. I am very happy to see that this valuable anthology of French poetry has now been published again. Besides my brother, I am also happy for me who is not deep into literature for living, because it has introduced to me the beauty of French poetry for the first time. When you read poets like Baudellaire in lines as follows, you can immediately see that attraction of French poetry.
"Be drunk, always. Nothing else matters; this is our sole concern. To ease the pain as Time's dread burden weighs down upon your shoulders and crushes you to eart, you must be drunk without respite.
Drunk with what? With wine, with poetry or with virtue, as yopu please. But be drunk." (Baudellaire "Be Drunk")
Or in," Life is hospital where every patient longs desperately to change his bed. ..." (Baudellaire "Anyehere Out of this World") etc
The anthology contain not only famous poets like Baudellaire, but all the important modern French poets from Nerval to Valery. Now I know that like French wine the book has addicted me with French poetry. I think everyone who like poetry should have a copy of this valuable anthology of French poetry in his or her personal collection. Rajen Barua, Houston
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars letting always...White bouquets of perfumed stars snow down, June 23, 2002
This review is from: The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry: From Nerval to Valery in English Translation (Paperback)
This is an excellent anthology of French poetry starting
with the work of Gerard de Nerval (1808-1855)and going
through Paul Valery (1871-1945). The book is in two major
sections: pp. 3-185 contain the English translations
of the French poems (each poet has a section of poems--
and the poets are presented in chronological order of
their birth years); and pp. 289-443 present the same
poems in the same order, but in French).
There is a very good Table of Contents which tells
the titles of the poems and the name and date of
the published edition from which the poem comes, or
the date of the individual poem itself. In the back
of the volume there is an exceptionally good Bibliography
with both General citations, as well as specific essays
on the particular poets. Each poet also has listed
the best edition of his works in that Bibliography.
The poets presented in this anthology along with
very good selections from their poems (and short
biographies) are: Gerard de Nerval; Charles Baudelaire;
Tristan Corbiere; Paul Verlaine; Arthur Rimbaud;
Stephane Mallarme; Jules Laforgue; Guillaume Apollinaire;
and Paul Valery.
The English translations are by various people, some
famous by name, others not so well known to the general
reader. Apparently...not surprisingly...the more
provocative and interesting the poet and his poems,
the more variety of translators and the more engaged
le traducteur et la traductrice travaillent.
My own personal favorites from this anthology are
the poems of De Nerval, Mallarme, and Valery. Here
is a bit of Mallarme's "Weary of Bitter Ease..."
["Las de l'amer repos..."]:
* * * * * * * * *
And by my lamp which knows my agony at last,
Would imitate the Chinese of limpid, delicate bent,
Whose purest ecstasy is but to paint the end
Upon his cups of snow new ravished from the moon
Of some exotic flower that constantly perfumed
His life, transparent flower he smelled in infancy,
Grafting itself upon the soul's blue filigree.
-- Stephane Mallarme. [Trans. Hubert Creekmore]
________________________________________
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful anthology, November 25, 2005
By 
A. Lowry (Madison, MS United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry: From Nerval to Valery in English Translation (Paperback)
I like most of the Mallarme translations in the Anchor volume better than those in the Collected Poems by Weinfield, a volume to be shunned. ("The flesh is sad, alas, and there's nothing but words" (Weinfield) utterly misses the irony, indeed the entire point, of "La chair est triste, helas! et j'ai lu tous les livres"---"The flesh is sad, alas! and I've read all the books.")

As with any grab bag of translations, some are better than others, but (1) you can always check the French and (2) there's a great advantage to choosing amongst the work of different translators, picking the luckiest version for each poem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for learning French, January 26, 2014
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This review is from: The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry: From Nerval to Valery in English Translation (Paperback)
As someone with an elementary knowledge of French, this book is great for brushing up on vocabulary and pronunciation bit before heading to sleep. I first find the French and English versions, and I hold a finger on each page. Next, I read the French version, and then refer to the English version for translation.

My only complaint is that each version of the poem does not refer to the page of the version of the poem in the other language. For example, if I'm reading "L'Anguisse" in French, I will need to manually search, or refer back to the index in the very beginning of the book, in order to find the corresponding English version of the poem. I really wish they would have a page number next to "L'Anguisse" which directly refers the reader to the page on which the English version, "Anguish," is located. This would expedite translation between the two.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a solid introduction to the world of French poetry, August 14, 2006
This review is from: The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry: From Nerval to Valery in English Translation (Paperback)
I love poetry of all kinds, and French poetry is certainly no exception. I picked up this book my freshman year of high school and it is now significantly dog-eared, written on and generally abused!

My only qualm with this book (and the reason why I give it four out of five stars) is that, with the exception of "La Chanson du Mal-Aime," the Apollinaire translations are lacking. I can't pinpoint any exact errors at the moment because I don't have my book, but Donald Revell's translation of Alcools is, in my opinion, a much better introduction to Apollinaire.

I'm not a fluent French speaker, but I can read it competently with a dictionary at hand, and I noticed that the translations in the Anchor Anthology lacked the spirit I found in Revell's work...however, this could simply be a matter of personal preference. To me, this spirit was refreshing, but to others, it may seem that Revell took too much poetic license in his translations. I enjoy his version of "Zone" much better but I was more impressed with the version of "La Chanson du Mal-Aime" in the Anchor Anthology.

Either way, this book is definitely worth buying if you are looking for a good introduction to French poetry, but if you find yourself interested in any particular poet, I would suggest doing a more thorough search and finding a translator whose work impresses you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent translations of some very beautiful French poems, November 22, 2012
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This review is from: The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry: From Nerval to Valery in English Translation (Paperback)
The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry is an excellent collection of essential French poems from
Gerard de Nerval to Paul Valery. Nerval was a post-Romantic poet whose lines are excellently translated into English which gives a sense of his melancholic and lyrical nature dealing with themes esoteric and exotic.The poets that follow him in time are also dealt with well in very good translations into English. In the second part of the book the original French is given and thus you have to switch back and forth abit to see the original in compatrison to the English version of the poems by
the various translators and the French poets' verses. The translations are very good indeed and
of course the originals are most beautiful and the selections are well made.
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The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry: From Nerval to Valery in English Translation
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