Customer Reviews


4 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Words of the artist..., July 16, 2004
This review is from: The Poetry of Michelangelo: An Annotated Translation (Paperback)
For many years, I belonged to a reading group who explored different angles of diversity in literature; Michelangelo's poetry was one of the books we used, as it gave us the opportunity to explore different aspects at the same time. How would someone whose creative genius in some media (painting, sculpture, architecture) made him an immortal in history translate onto the written page? Would Michelangelo's sexual orientation, always a topic of debate based upon various images in paint and stone, as well as personal stories and correspondence, be more observable, or more obscured by his poetry?
James Saslow presents a truly excellent volume of Michelangelo's poetry - 302 completed poems, and an appendix of 41 fragments (some as brief as one line), formatted in dual language, Italian and English. The translations are verse translations, rather than literal, word-for-word renderings, but the annotations are very detailed, so as to explore the nuances and meanings perhaps lost in the poetic translation.
Saslow begins with a brief introductory essay, exploring Michelangelo's relationship to his poetry - he was not widely published in his lifetime, but did have some poems circulated, and sought the critical analysis and advice of other respected literary figures of the day. Michelangelo's poetry was known well enough to become the subject of composition (Bartolommeo Tromboncino set one poem to music) and general reference (Benedetto Varchi, when lecturing on artistic theory, used Michelangelo's poetry as examples).
One thing Saslow has done is to restore the poems to their original form (insofar as is possible from the documentary evidence). Michelangelo's grand-nephew, in publishing the poems in 1623, changed phrases and pronouns to make the poems conform to standard conventions - men would not be writing love poems to men, etc., and this change continued into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries unquestioned.
With regard to the quality of the poems, Saslow states that Michelangelo's literary output was `admired less for his style than for his ideas'. Even here, Michelangelo's ideas were fairly conventional, common among the educated literati, and rarely giving profound insight. Even so, his poetry was artful, technically interesting if not brilliant, and full of emotion as Michelangelo was known to be.
The poetry here is full of passion; the early ones full of the kind of love and passion of a young lover; the later ones looking for a spiritual value and perfection unattainable in this world even with the chisel or brush or Michelangelo. He incorporates a kind of Neoplatonic admiration of the ideal over the physical, and has a sort of pessimism even in the height of passion. He often looks upon the body as frail, fragile, a `temporary wrapper for the soul' - this contrasts dramatically against his visual art, particularly sculpture, where the powerful bodies (most often male) were Michelangelo's `signature'.
Michelangelo did not study Latin, so classical references are less here than more common contemporary influences. Saslow talks about the literary influences and ideas present in the poetry, the various editions the poetry has gone through, as well as the trials in the task of translation.
There are many magnificent lines and phrases here; I found my highlighter coming out numerous times throughout the poetry, and certain images remaining for a long time. This is interesting reading, all the more so given the other creations of Michelangelo - this book gives new insight into the mind of the great artist.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another dimension of genius, November 2, 2003
This review is from: The Poetry of Michelangelo: An Annotated Translation (Paperback)
Michaelangelo Buonarotti was (and still is) best known for his more tangible artistry. Namely, his sculptures (such as the David statue) and his paintings (such as the Sistine Chapel's ceiling). But poetry? Not a lot of people know he did that too.
In "The Poetry of Michaelangelo: An Annotated Translation," James M. Saslow offers a bilingual presentation of Michaelangelo's poetry, one Italian and one English. Sonnets, madrigals, and other poetic forms are used. And Michaelangelo's poetry is not the best technically -- some are kind of strained, and there are some grammatical errors. But they brim over with the kind of barely-restrained feeling that makes them come alive.
The poetry is heavily annotated, letting us know is the poem was written for someone (sometimes as an epitaph), influences, and the significance of the language used (since a lot of nuances could slip right by). But he doesn't just offer translations and footnotes. Saslow offers insights into Michaelangelo's musings on death, love and temptation, religion, and his own personal and artistic struggles.
Saslow does a solid job with the poetic translations, and explaining them to a modern audience. While Michaelangelo was a genius with stone and paint, he was pretty overwhelming with poetry as well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... poems lend new insight into a side of the great Renaissance artist that is often overlooked, August 7, 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Poetry of Michelangelo: An Annotated Translation (Paperback)
Saslow's brief bio of Michelangelo and the commentary and annotations to the poems lend new insight into a side of the great Renaissance artist that is often overlooked. The book helps place Michelangelo's poetry within the context of his other works and his life, including his spiritual life. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific, March 10, 2013
By 
J. A. Berardelli (Napa, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Poetry of Michelangelo: An Annotated Translation (Paperback)
A marvelous book and there is always a surprise on each page turn. you will like if if you like poetry.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Poetry of Michelangelo: An Annotated Translation
The Poetry of Michelangelo: An Annotated Translation by Michelangelo Buonarroti (Paperback - January 27, 1993)
$52.00 $46.80
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.