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by Yves Bonnefoy

Prose Synopsis

Yves Bonnefoy (1923-2016), a major poet, was equally a seminal essayist and thinker. This companion volume to Yves Bonnefoy: Poems contains what he regarded as his foundational essays, as well as a generous selection from all periods. In his art criticism, as in his literary essays, Bonnefoy manages that rare thing: to impart metaphysical urgency to each discreet encounter with a painting or a poem, born of his constant quest for intensity, for 'presence'. Whether he is examining an early Byzantine fresco, a Shakespeare play, a Bernini angel, a drawing by Blake, a poem by Rimbaud, the exigency, the high seriousness and the challenge is the same: to affirm presence, and finitude, against all forms of life-sapping conceptual thought. If they cannot always deliver ecstasy or hope, the great poets, argues Bonnefoy, are pledged to 'intensity as such', sustained by 'une melancolie ardente'.

Prose Press Reviews

'His writings... are an important lighthouse on the contemporary cultural coastline.' - Emily Grosholz

Book Information

ISBN: 9781784108113
Publication date: 27th February 2020
Author: Yves Bonnefoy
Publisher: Carcanet Classics an imprint of Carcanet Press Ltd
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 456 pages
Categories: Literary essays,

About Yves Bonnefoy

Yves Bonnefoy (1923-2016), regarded as France's greatest poet of the last fifty years, was the author of many volumes of poetry and poetic prose, and numerous books of essays on literature and art, including studies of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Goya and Giacometti. Between 1981 and 2016 he was Professor (and then Emeritus Professor) of Comparative Poetics at the College de France, a position he inherited from Roland Barthes. His work has been translated into scores of languages and he himself was a master translator of Shakespeare, Yeats, Keats, Leopardi, Seferis and others. He received a wide variety of literary prizes.

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