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Proensa: An Anthology of Troubadour Poetry (New York Review Books Classics)

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It was out of medieval Provence—Proensa—that the ethos of courtly love emerged, and it was in the poetry of the Provençal troubadours that it found its perfect expression. Their poetry was also a central inspiration for Dante and his Italian contemporaries, propagators of the modern vernacular lyric, and seven centuries later it was no less important to the modernist Ezra It was out of medieval Provence—Proensa—that the ethos of courtly love emerged, and it was in the poetry of the Provençal troubadours that it found its perfect expression. Their poetry was also a central inspiration for Dante and his Italian contemporaries, propagators of the modern vernacular lyric, and seven centuries later it was no less important to the modernist Ezra Pound. These poems, a source to which poetry has returned again and again in search of renewal, are subtle, startling, earthy, erotic, and supremely musical. The poet Paul Blackburn studied and translated the troubadours for twenty years, and the result of that long commitment is Proensa, an anthology of thirty poets of the eleventh through thirteenth centuries, which has since established itself not only as a powerful and faithful work of translation but as a work of poetry in its own right. Blackburn’s Proensa, George Economou writes, “will take its place among Gavin Douglas’ Aeneid, Golding’s Metamorphoses, the Homer of Chapman, Pope, and Lattimore, Waley’s Japanese, and Pound’s Chinese, Italian, and Old English.”


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It was out of medieval Provence—Proensa—that the ethos of courtly love emerged, and it was in the poetry of the Provençal troubadours that it found its perfect expression. Their poetry was also a central inspiration for Dante and his Italian contemporaries, propagators of the modern vernacular lyric, and seven centuries later it was no less important to the modernist Ezra It was out of medieval Provence—Proensa—that the ethos of courtly love emerged, and it was in the poetry of the Provençal troubadours that it found its perfect expression. Their poetry was also a central inspiration for Dante and his Italian contemporaries, propagators of the modern vernacular lyric, and seven centuries later it was no less important to the modernist Ezra Pound. These poems, a source to which poetry has returned again and again in search of renewal, are subtle, startling, earthy, erotic, and supremely musical. The poet Paul Blackburn studied and translated the troubadours for twenty years, and the result of that long commitment is Proensa, an anthology of thirty poets of the eleventh through thirteenth centuries, which has since established itself not only as a powerful and faithful work of translation but as a work of poetry in its own right. Blackburn’s Proensa, George Economou writes, “will take its place among Gavin Douglas’ Aeneid, Golding’s Metamorphoses, the Homer of Chapman, Pope, and Lattimore, Waley’s Japanese, and Pound’s Chinese, Italian, and Old English.”

39 review for Proensa: An Anthology of Troubadour Poetry (New York Review Books Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    David McBride

    Translated rather freely in the style of Ezra Pound (which makes sense, I suppose), here’s a nice taster of medieval lyric from southern France and Catalonia. Many of the songs are quite bawdy and a few made me actually laugh out loud. The imagery is splendid in most of them and reading the vitae of the troubadours and occasional trobairitz is very entertaining. What a cast of characters could exist in the 13th century, lecherous abbots, would-be emperors of Constantinople, mad poets, I would ha Translated rather freely in the style of Ezra Pound (which makes sense, I suppose), here’s a nice taster of medieval lyric from southern France and Catalonia. Many of the songs are quite bawdy and a few made me actually laugh out loud. The imagery is splendid in most of them and reading the vitae of the troubadours and occasional trobairitz is very entertaining. What a cast of characters could exist in the 13th century, lecherous abbots, would-be emperors of Constantinople, mad poets, I would have never guessed!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Annette

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  4. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Erkenbrack

  5. 4 out of 5

    Scott Walker

  6. 5 out of 5

    CowboyKarimov

  7. 5 out of 5

    Adam Wagner

  8. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Shaw

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rusty

  11. 4 out of 5

    Altichiero

  12. 5 out of 5

    J.W.D. Nicolello

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  14. 5 out of 5

    Walker

  15. 4 out of 5

    Funkle

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael Lloyd-Billington

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  18. 5 out of 5

    Keeley

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ouiseu Brise

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Landis

  22. 5 out of 5

    Raven

  23. 4 out of 5

    Terry Kuny

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sean

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mathias

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jola

  27. 5 out of 5

    Uccello Nevrotica

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ross

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lou Last

  30. 5 out of 5

    Adley Gartenstein

  31. 5 out of 5

    Hamish Danks Brown

  32. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

  33. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

  34. 4 out of 5

    salad

  35. 5 out of 5

    Etienne M

  36. 5 out of 5

    Uxküll

  37. 5 out of 5

    Hadrianus

  38. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Howard

  39. 4 out of 5

    yi

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