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Essential Poems and Writings of Robert Desnos

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  92 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Robert Desnos (1900-1945) was one of the primary poets and writers of the Surrealist movement of 1924-1930. He wrote, and collaboratively wrote, many influential and celebrated books. Besides poetry, Desnos wrote on a wide range of subjects from film texts and criticism to novels. During WWII he became a poet of the resistance, but was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to s ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Black Widow Press (first published January 15th 2007)
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4.54  · 
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 ·  92 ratings  ·  7 reviews


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Eddie Watkins
Feb 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those with pregnant eyes
Recommended to Eddie by: a gentle mammal with fangs
Before buying this book I had been hoping for years for a well translated and substantial collection of his work. This is a substantial collection - loaded with poems (in facing French) from all phases of his short life, along with excerpts from his novels, complete essays (including two on film) and articles, AND a lengthy postface that's a leisurely analysis of his works. But I'm still not sure about all of the translations, mainly because I don't know some of the translators, and as much as I ...more
Chetley
Jan 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Desnos is a surrealist in the classic French sense. His themes are love, reality, life, death, uncertainty, and change.
His form is free with little punctuation. Line lengths contrast one another to emphasize and vary pace. Here are two lines of varying length from "Obsession:"
I bring a bit of seaweed, which was tangled with the sea foam and this comb.
But your hair is more neatly fixed than the clouds with the wind with celestial crimson glowing in them and are such that with quiverings of life
...more
Matt
Feb 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I believe this is the only bilingual selection of Desnos currently in print. For that reason alone this book is invaluable; Desnos, more than any other of the surrealists, loses much in translation (see Martin Sorrell's extremely questionable "Hour Father" in this selection). I have some issues with Caws's translations of Eluard and Breton but she seems much more inspired with Desnos's work.
Alec
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
great writing... but the translations are iffy and in some cases completely up to interpretation. Still stunning pieces of work.
Walter
Feb 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Like the title says: these are essential.
George
Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A real tour de force. Finally, there is a great big gathering of one of the most significant of the French Surrealists. Desnos--always mysterious--always delights.
Gnome Books
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