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Monday January 8, 2018 in Books
Edward Byrneâ€™s Duets consists of interpretative translations of sonnets by Louise LabÃ©, who lived and wrote in sixteenth-century Lyon, and those by thirteenth-century Florentine Guido Cavalcanti.
In the case of LabÃ©, the twenty-four sonnets â€“ twenty-three in French, one in Italian â€“ constitute a narrative sequence chronicling the duration of an intense love affair. In the case of Cavalcanti, the sonnets are not sequential, but have been selected from the most explicitly philosophical of his sonnets â€“ those which demonstrate his â€œradical Aristotelianism.â€ In both cases, one of a pre-Petrarchan poet, the other post-Petrarchan, love is represented as both a wildness, madness, or malady and as something that gives rise to speculation regarding the relationship between body and intellect.
The reader will find herein ninety poems, equally â€œtranslationsâ€ of LabÃ© and Cavalcanti and â€œversionsâ€ authored by Byrne. Each sonnet is made up of nine lines, each line, in turn, made up of nine syllables. The workâ€™s main body is written in the manner of the serial poem, a practice whereby the composing mind passes from room to room â€“ and from stanza to stanza â€“ in a kind of trance, forgetting and remembering. A distant but undeniable antecedent to this practice, in the context of translation, can be found in Robin Blaserâ€™s masterful translation of GÃ©rard de Nervalâ€™s Les ChimÃ¨res. The second version of Louise LabÃ©â€™s sonnet sequence was translated from Rilkeâ€™s German version, using LabÃ©â€™s Middle French text as a â€˜pony.â€™ Interspersed within, or intervening in, the translations are â€œsonnetsâ€ by Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva, Marcel Proust, and Jacques Lacan. Between the main translations, readers will discover a sequence of wild sonnets, or nonets, taken from a separate collaboration of Byrneâ€™s with Kim Minkus, and a handful of sonnets by LabÃ©â€™s contemporaneous admirers â€“ members of her salon, such as Maurice ScÃ¨ve and ClÃ©ment Marot.
ISBN 13: 9781772011999 | ISBN 10:
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 112 pages
$16.95 CAN / $16.95 US
Frontlist | Poetry
About the ContributorsEdward Byrne
Edward Byrne is the author of Aporia (1989) and Beautiful Lies (1995) and the co-editor of The Recovery of the Public World: Essays on Poetics in Honour of Robin Blaser (1999).
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.