Although the troubadours flourished at the height of the Middle Ages in southern France, their songs of romantic love, with pleasing melodies and intricate stanzaic patterns, have inspired poets and song writers ever since, from Dante to Chaucer, from Renaissance sonneteers to the Romantics, and from Verlaine and Rimbaud to modern rock lyricists. Yet despite the incontrovertible influence of the troubadours on the development of both poetry and music in the West, there existed no comprehensive anthology of troubadour lyrics that respected the verse form of the originals until now.
Lark in the Morning honors the meter, word play, punning, and sound effects in the troubadours' works while celebrating the often playful, bawdy, and biting nature of the material. Here, Robert Kehew augments his own verse translations with those of two seminal twentieth-century poets—Ezra Pound and W. D. Snodgrass—to provide a collection that captures both the poetic pyrotechnics of the original verse and the astonishing variety of troubadour voices. This bilingual edition contains an introduction to the three major periods of the troubadours—their beginning, rise, and decline—as well as headnotes that briefly put each poet in context. Lark in the Morning will become an essential collection for those interested in learning about and teaching the origins of Western vernacular poetry.
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Robert Kehew is an independent scholar, translator, and troubadour enthusiast.
"Kehew is quite correct in recognizing the need to convey what troubadour poetry was like as a lyric, as poetry. What's available in English and French by way of anthologies of the troubadours tends to be prose translations, whose pretension to linguistic accuracy can hardly compensate for their clunky renditions. In Lark in the Morning, we have an anthology of the troubadours translated into English verse that indeed does convey the poetic achievement of this crucial group of poets." - Stephen G. Nichols, The Johns Hopkins University"
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