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Donkeys Ears

Dunn, Douglas

Verlag: Faber, 2000
ISBN 10: 0571204260 / ISBN 13: 9780571204267
/ Gebraucht / Zustand: Very Good / Softcover
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Verkäufer Ken Spelman Books ABA, PBFA. (est 1948) (York, Vereinigtes Königreich)
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Titel: Donkeys Ears

Verlag: Faber

Erscheinungsdatum: 2000

Einband: Trade Paperback

Zustand: Very Good


very good pbk, p.o.'s ink signature to verso, 8vo. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 117667

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Inhaltsangabe: A wonderfully sustained narrative poem, full of the resonances and repercussions attendant on the end of an era, The Donkey's Ears depicts life aboard a Russian flagship just before the battle of Tsushima, 1905. It purports to be written by E.S. Politovsky, a ship's engineer addressing his wife in letters back home. Known as 'The Trafalgar of the East', Tsushima (which, translated from the Japanese, means 'The Donkey's Ears' - a description of the twin peaks of the islands) was the biggest naval gun-battle in history. The action of the poem takes place before the battle. A vividly realized claustrophobia prevails. Life below and on deck is brilliantly detailed as is the sense of incipient doom; one man's voice (domestic, particular, yearning for wife and home comforts) pitched against the inexorable onslaught of events.

Rezension: The Donkey's Ears is everything modern poetry should be: clever, lyrical, accessible, enlightening. It tells, in mildly formalised rhyme and metre, the fascinating story of the Russian Baltic fleet, that set sail from Saint Petersburg in 1905 and voyaged half way round the world, only to be crushed a year later by the Japanese Imperial navy at the battle of Tsushima.

The "narrator" is Flag Engineer Eugene Politovsky, a science-officer aboard the flagship Suvorov. He was to die on deck at the outset of the battle. Douglas Dunn has culled the facts and tenor of Eugene's letters home to his much-missed wife--which in poeticised form comprise this book--from a posthumous 1906 volume about Politovsky and the fleet, called Lubin to Tsushima (the latter name means "donkey's ears", in Japanese).

The brilliance of Dunn's achievement is the way he spins such a lushly coloured, authentically textured narrative tapestry from his basic material. Whether Dunn/Politovsky is describing the fleet's overlong anchorage in the torpor of Madagascar: " by day demoralising heat settles on languid card-games. Flaking Paint. Unpolished brass. Coal everywhere." The simple beauty of sailing under Iberian skies: "Nocturnal clearings and Hispanic stars, The asterisks of God." Or dealing with officer-toffs and their attitude problems: "I've had enough of Admiralty blah, Corruption, bribes, stupidity, mistakes," he conveys the fetid atmosphere of the fated navy with charm, verve and no little beauty.--Sean Thomas

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